Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of the Dark: Night Photography Edition

Let me clear something up right away. If you are aware there’s a burgeoning ghost population, live in a high nighttime murder density population, have coyotes known to seek out human flesh specifically when it’s dark out, really feel that Sean Hannity rubs you the wrong way, don’t have a penchant for fruitcake, can’t get over the fact that white chocolate isn’t actually chocolate, or positively can’t shake the feeling that monsters are indeed in your closet—though statistically that’s only true 19% of the time—then you absolutely should feel afraid of the dark. But for those of us who realize that the darkness holds more mystery than fear, well, nighttime photography can be the most awesome thing since sliced bread.

If you’ve done night photography before, you know of the new worlds that can be discovered. If you haven’t, you should take a chance and try it sometime, for it’s so much more than photographing stars or the moon. When you turn your flashlight off and let your eyes adjust while taking short or long exposures, you realize that it’s a way to see everything with a new perspective. Everyday objects become shadow shapes. Your ears almost become supersonic, and your mind tries to trick you. The sky is incredible, and if you’ve never stood outside and stared up for at least 10 minutes, you’re missing out on realizing how small we really are—and how much of the solar system we know absolutely nothing about.

There are different techniques that can be used in night photography—long exposures, light painting, star trailing, stacking, reflecting, etc.—but instead of explaining it, I’ll post a few photos from my recent trip out west. California and Utah’s rocky landscapes in particular made for fascinating nighttime shoots, and no rattlesnakes attacked me while I was out in the desert, alone, at 2 a.m.

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Summer’s End, the Start of Fall, and Lots o’ Apples

When your friend schleps out from California to visit you, you best show that friend a good time. Luckily I had a string of five (5!) days in a row during which I felt great, so I was able to bring Vic (a full-time photographer) around some of my favorite little places in New York and Connecticut. While it was odd to feel so great (I’m currently dealing with a terrible and possibly chronic illness), it was odder yet to see professional-quality photos of myself. I’m not posting several of them here for your enjoyment. You can thank me anytime.
Among the spots visited: an abandoned apple orchard, Walkway over the Hudson, my favorite cave/stream/hiking path, a local airport, various grocery markets (I have a fascination with them), various creepy abandoned buildings, local farms, etc.

Here’s a fun shot – my friend Vic taking a photo of me photographing apples, me taking a photo of him photographing the apples, and the final photo.


Things cooked: Apple chutney, apple cake, breakfast burritos, Indian potato cakes, kale-bleu-shallot flatbread, Indian toast, furikake tofu, bananas foster, and much more. Needless to say, we were a bit heavier by the time my friend left upstate and NYC.

Then there were the photo experiments with off-camera flashes, light-jumping rope. Gosh do we sound geeky.

But my favorite shot of the week was probably this simple cornfield with a lone tree and the sky just right (below):

Except for the rampant Lyme-infested ticks, I love the outdoors here. Well, that’s a big exception, but let’s talk about that another time, shall we?

Enjoy a few of the photos from our mini adventures.