Night Time Photography, Weird Sense of Humor, The Waterboys

I saw an interesting workshop in one photo workgroup on FB, called “REAL Edinburgh Photography“. A local photographer by the name of Grant Richie advertised a quick workshop:

Trying something new. Workshop, Royal Mile Closes, depth of field, atmospheric shots, shooting hand held on low light etc etc, Wednesday 4th April, 7-9pm. £20pp, no need for deposit.

Quirky me! I jumped in offering to land my Boeing 787 in larger parking bay on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh, just so I could attend! After all, I’d be coming from Taiwan in a similar plane, right? You know a little humor to add zest to the day! Woops! I think it was misunderstood…! Apparently, not everyone shares my sense of humor! My bad!

Perhaps it’s like the Waterboys’ song…

“I pictured a rainbow
You held it in your hands
I had flashes
But you saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon”

Anyway, I think it tweaked my interest in night time photography. If you look through some of my night time shots, you’ll realize quickly that it’s hit or miss for me @ night, even with my new (old) camera the Nikon D3000. Check out the gallery and you’ll see some of my better ones (I daren’t show the worst ones).

Like here:

I definitely need help with night time photography. I kind of know how to keep still enough, but I still ruin enough photos of things I’d rather keep to know that it is still an issue. I use high ISO settings these days as a way to get more light, but my camera is an older D3000, so it gets quite grainy at the upper end of 1600+.

So I prefer to take slower pix, but invariably I end up with camera shake because I’m not using a tripod. I can improve some of the grainier shots with LR settings… but I still sense a kind of dullness in the image, nothing like David Queenan’s night-time photographs.

But the example of Tian Yuan Gong (天元宮) I took a couple of days ago which I turned into a panorama shows some of the issues: too grainy (3200 ISO), off coloring, mis-colored pixels, etc. I was able to fix some of the limits by doing a panorama but I ended up creating a monster file of 117MB, which crashes Lightroom each time I try to edit it.

So let’s recount the ways I get it wrong:

1) shutter time too short… it’s blurred;
2) I don’t hold the camera steady enough…
3) No Tripod or external remote control to avoid shake;
4) I misunderstand the lighting situation
5) Wrong ISO/Time settings
6) …

So I need to practise I guess… but where can I learn? The recent Street Workshop @ BurnMyEye didn’t really touch upon night photos much, though we did go to Ximending for a few shots.

“… Palaces and piers
Trumpets towers and tenements
Wide oceans full of tears
Flags rags ferryboats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars
You climbed on the ladder
With the wind in your sails
You came like comet
Blazing your trail
Too high too far too soon
You saw the whole of the moon”