Night photography has fascinated me for some time, as it has fascinated other photographers, and nightscapes have been part of the history of photography almost from its beginning.
Darkness changes and simplifies the urban landscape. Visual clutter is now stripped away. This profound and mysterious transformation allows me, as a photographer, to see to the heart of the story that wants to be told.
Looking through some of my past photography I discovered night images that I had almost forgotten. They have inspired me to explore this subject matter again, this time with more depth and awareness.
Some photographs are intended to document what is before the camera’s eye, while others are interpretations by the photographer. Documents are more literal and thus self-explanatory, while photographic interpretations introduce the experiences and feelings of the photographer into the finished image, and this interpretive mode is what I am exploring here.
Working With the Dark
Finding scenes to photograph is an intuitive process for me. I will scout an area looking for a subject, sometimes using my cell phone camera to take photos as notes and sketches. When I find a subject that feels right, I select the point of view and photograph it using a technique called High Dynamic Range Imaging, which combines multiple exposures into one image, an image that represents the visual dynamic range of the scene. The result extends beyond what a single exposure typically produces, and allows me greater scope of interpretation.
My post-production process is heuristic, and I love this discovery process. I make technical adjustments both globally and locally within the image, using optical distortion, color, contrast, and exposure. The final composition is arrived at in a way similar to the way a sculptor sometimes works – reducing and eliminating all unnecessary elements, revealing the scene that suggested itself to me in the beginning.
This is how I photograph any subject, whether it’s a nightscape, editorial or architectural image. My intuition and curiosity guide me to the heart of the story.
My mother used to tell me that everyone has a story to tell, and all you have to do is listen. As a photographer, when I tell a story, mine or yours, I listen and I look.
Click here to visit Nightscapes.