I love digital night photography, but it requires experimentation. Experimentation is the same as license to fail and means you can try things you are not sure will work. Our Langtry creative retreat is a time we set aside for just such experimentation. I love making astrophotography images but I usually don’t have human subjects to include. When the oppritunity presented itself during one of Josh’s planned shoots last year, I took it. And it only cost me one light dunked in the Rio Grande.
How it Was Made
This image was made using a simple technique that works well at night or any time or place dark enough to use a very slow shutter speed (10s +). The model poses and the shutter is opened. The flash fires. Then the model quickly changes pose and the flash is fired again. It takes a little practice and some coordination. I generally explain what I’m going to do to the model. “I am going to take a 30 second exposure. You will hold a pose until you see the flash pop then move to a new pose quickly and stay there until you see the flash pop again. I’ll tell you when the exposure is done and you can relax.”
Sometimes I have specific poses in mind, but almost without fail I revise them after seeing each image on the back of the camera. This is where digital night photography is really beneficial. Because the model is human, they will never move exactly same twice. Depending on your lighting, some positions may work better than others and you also have to consider the interaction of each flash pop and which parts of the model are overlaid (in this shot for example, her arm is over her head, which I happen to like).
I use a radio trigger to pop the flash so I can stay at the camera. With a 30 second exposure, you can move a little way, although in the near pitch black, that can be dangerous. Alternatively, you can use voice triggering with an assistant, or have the assistant release the shutter while you work the light.
Camera: Nikon D3s with 14-24 f2.8 @14mm, f/4.0, 30s, ISO1600
Model/Costume: Kari Burke
He is a self taught experiential learner who is addicted to the possibilities that new (to him) gear open up. He loves to share the things he has worked out. Andrew started with a passion for landscape and night photography and quickly branched out to work in just about every form of photography. He is an ex-software developer with extensive experience in the IT realm.