A few weeks ago my photography class had it’s third location shoot (I was in Boston for the second) at Seattle’s Chinese Gardens. I’ll admit, until my class, I had never heard of this place. It’s located on the South Seattle Community College campus in West Seattle, and while small, it’s still quite pretty. Admission is free, but they encourage donations as the gardens have plans for expansion over the next few years.

The focus of this class was to do a night shoot, an area of photography where I’d really like to improve my skills. I don’t generally travel with a tripod which limits what I can do at night, so this was a great chance to experiment with what my camera can do.

Camera sensors today are getting better and better, which greatly improves the quality of photos taken in low light conditions. This in turn, leads to potential growth of what you can do at night, and expands the market on photos you could possibly sell.

The photos below are my experimentation’s with night photography. I don’t have much commentary to add to them, so I’ll let you enjoy the photos on their own. For the more unique photos, I’ll describe what technique I used to get the shot. All photos were taken using a tripod and my Canon 5d mark iii (referral link).

For the photo below, I used 200 ISO, 25 second shutter speed and an 8.0 aperture. My lens was 24-105mm and I started all the way zoomed in. Then every few seconds, I zoomed out, paused, then zoomed out again until the exposure was done. Overall I’m really pleased with how it turned out! It has a cool, graphic design sort of quality that you don’t usually associate with photography.

On this photo, I used the same technique as above but instead of stoping every few seconds, I slowly and continuously zoomed out for the entire exposure. I actually like this effect even better than the one above. I used a 20 second shutter speed and a 6.3 aperture.

I used a technique called painting with light for these next couple photos. I set the camera to a 30 second exposure on a 10 second delay. Then I grabbed my phone, ran in front of the camera and used the flashlight to write out the letters. This is a little tricky because you need to write the letters backwards in order for them to show up correctly in the photo. I got the ‘n’ wrong in the picture below, but figured it out for the next. I used my 15mm fisheye lens for these and a 3.2 aperture. It’s worth noting that in real life, it was nearly pitch black. The long exposure combined with the low f-stop (aperture) and a lot of light pollution from the city allowed a lot of light in, making it look almost daytime.

Our next location shoot is the Volunteer Park Conservatory, a place I’ve long wanted to explore. We’ll be there end of January, and you can bet I’ll share photos when the time comes!

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