Posts Tagged ‘Night’

Night Photography

March 12th, 2013 7 comments

Here are some of my favourite night photographs that I have taken over the last few years. Click on the thumbnails to expand to large size and enjoy!



Light Painting Workshop with Trevor Williams

August 10th, 2011 No comments

Trevor Williams of Fiz-iks, a light painting group from Japan, was in Vancouver for a 2-night workshop on August 5-6, 2011. Light painting involves using a long exposure in a dark studio or outdoors at night and creating images and lighting with a variety of handheld lights. Check out the Flickr Light Junkies group to see some photos that were done using light painting. The creative possibilites are practically unlimited and each image is a unique work of art. The workshop was packed with ideas and techniques for photographers to get started with light painting photography.

The first night was all about looking at different effects and learning how to create them using a variety of light painting tools. Trevor brought a huge collection of light painting tools such as the ones shown in this video. Most of the tools are DIY and the materials do not cost very much. We also had the opportunity to try out them out in the studio and learn how to work as a team to produce some very cool shots.

The second night was on location. We arrived a couple of hours before sunset to scout the area for interesting places for light painting. We chose four spots in Queen Elizabeth Park and got ready for the sun to set. We actually started before the sky was totally dark and took some shots just after sunset, and continued into the night.

Check out the gallery to see some of the photos (click to zoom) that I took during the workshop. I’m inspired to keep learning more and develop my own style of light painting!

Celebration of Light – Fireworks Competition – China

July 31st, 2011 No comments

The Vancouver 2011 Celebration of Light fireworks competition kicked off last night with a fantastic show by China. This is the first time that I have shot fireworks with my Olympus E-30 camera and it worked great. I was able to try out some focus blur techniques with this camera. Focus blur involves gradually changing the focus during the long exposure so some of the image is in focus and some is blurred. It can give some every cool and unusual fireworks photos. My previous camera, the E-510 was not able to change focus during the exposure, so I couldn’t try out this technique before. For this shoot, I started with the camera in focus and gradually moved out of focus during the exposure. Next time I will do the reverse – start out of focus and gradully focus during the shot.

Here are some more tips on fireworks photography.

On a related note, check out this tour of the fireworks barge before the event from Miss 604.

Some of my favourites from last night are posted in the gallery below. I didn’t use focus blur for them all – I wanted some straight fireworks shots too!

The next fireworks competition will be on August 3 with Spain putting on the show for the night.

Feel free to share links to your fireworks shots!

The Supermoon

March 20th, 2011 No comments

Super Perigee Moon - Vancouver, BC - March 19, 2011

The full moon last night was a supermoon, and was the closest to the earth that it’s been since 1993. Because the orbit of the moon is an ellipse instead of a perfect circle, its distance to the earth varies from about 357,000 km (perigee) and 406,000 km (apogee)  each month. When the full moon occurs at the perigee, it’s a supermoon or super perigee moon. The supermoon is about 12% larger than the average full moon because it’s closer to the earth. Then next time the full moon will be this close will be November 14, 2016.

I took the opportunity to photograph the supermoon because it was a clear night (rare for Vancouver in March!) and an excellent opportunity to get as detailed an image of the moon as possible with my camera.

I used a 50-200 mm zoom lens at 200mm with a 1.4x teleconverter (to give an effective 283 mm) at f/5.6 and 1/100s s and ISO 100. I used a tripod with a remote and a 2 second timer to prevent camera shake. The image was cropped and sharpened using Adobe Lightroom 3.3.

Did you take photos of the supermoon? Share your links in the comment section below!

Here’s a slideshow from Flickr with supermoon images from around the world:

7 Tips for Great Fireworks Photos

July 22nd, 2010 2 comments
Celebration of Light - USA

Celebration of Light - USA

The 2010 Celebration of Light fireworks competition got underway last night with the entry from the USA team. This year USA, Mexico, Spain and China will be competing.

Fireworks, with lots of light, colours and motion, are a great subject for photographers. I’m amazed at the incredible details of the plumes of light that show up in the photos, even though the fireworks last only a few seconds.

Here are a few tips for taking some great photography photos:

  1. Use a tripod. You need long exposures (several seconds) and holding the camera by hand will cause the images to look shaky. If you don’t have a tripod handy, look for a spot that you can place the camera.
  2. Use a cable release – this also prevents camera shake.
  3. Exposure: 4 seconds at f/8.0 works well (ISO 100). You can play around with the exposure – usually you’ll want a long enough shutter speed to capture the trails of light, which is about 4 to 6 seconds.
  4. Use manual focus. You can prefocus on some bursts and then keep the same focus for the subsequent shots.
  5. Try focus blurring – this is a little tricky but the idea is to change the focus during the exposure to give some interesting looking shots. Check out Focus Blur group on Flickr for more details.
  6. Try setting the camera’s shutter on “bulb” and covering the lens with a black cloth (in a pinch your hand will do). When a particularly dramatic explosion happens, you can remove the cloth for a couple of seconds and then cover it and wait for the next one. After 2 or 3 bursts you can close the shutter.
  7. I prefer to shoot in RAW format and adjust the image later using Lightroom (or any other raw image editor). Try different white balances – tungsten usually looks pretty nice!
Celebration of Light - USA

USA Celebration of Light

Related links:

Fireworks photography guide

11 Tips for Sparkling Fireworks Photos

Night Photos on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive

April 15th, 2010 6 comments

The Red Burrito I love night photography and Vancouver is a great place for it. My favourite time for taking night shots is during the first hour after sunset. It’s called “The Blue Hour” – when the sky is a beautiful rich blue – even when it’s overcast. But it is dark enough for the city lights, which adds more interest and drama to the shots. Buildings, traffic signals, cars, neon signs all look great at night. After about one hour, the sky turns dark and doesn’t look quite as cool.

I took this photo on Commercial Drive, which comes to life in the evening with lots of people enjoying the restaurants, coffee shops and bars or just picking up some groceries at the shops.

Some tips for night photography:

  • Bring a tripod! The shutter speeds will be too slow to take handheld shots. If your camera takes decent pictures at high ISO settings and has image stabilization, you might be able to get some good handheld shots with a faster shutter speed.
  • Use a cable release or remote if you have one. If not, use the self-timer so that you do not touch the camera during the shot giving, you sharper images.
  • I turn off the image stabilization with my camera (Olympus E-510). The image stabilization is unnecessary with a tripod and actually adds motion blur!
  • Try f/16 or smaller apertures – the lights will have more twinkle and bright lights will have starry rays!
  • Moving cars look very cool with long shutter speeds
  • Moving people will be ghostly and blurry – sometimes totally disappear. I like the motion blur effects as it adds more energy to the shot. If you want sharper focus for the people in the foreground, you can use a flash.
  • Try different white balance modes – tungsten and fluorescent often look really good. Daylight mode will look warm and orange which can give a cozy feel to some scenes. If you shoot in raw format you can easily play around with the white balance when you process your raw files.

Here’s a slideshow of some of the night images on “The Drive”:

Here’s another version of the photos in a music video style slideshow: Create your own video slideshow at