Night Photography: Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Today we bring you a short film by Mark and Angela Walley: a documentary piece about Scott Martin and Lance Keimig, two experienced photographers who run workshops teaching the nuances of nighttime photography. Working together for the past three years, these two Texans get at the heart of the photographic possibilities that darkness offers in Night Photography: Finding Your Way in the Dark:

 “Night photographs record time and record the world in a way that we can’t perceive with our own senses.”

The pivotal part that sets these photographers apart from everyday long-exposure night photography is their emphasis on painting with light. This is a method of manually adding your own light while the picture is exposing, which can last for several minutes or even hours. Light painting can be done using any device that emits light; most typically flashlights and speedlites are used, but the possibilities are limitless. The light can be shone on the subject itself, or pointed directly at the camera to create points of light across the frame, like car headlamps. This technique is used in many different areas of photography, and the way it is blended so subtly with the streaking stars and ethereal light of traditional night exposures is some of the most masterful use of light painting I’ve seen yet.

night photography

These classes teach not only about equipment and technique, but about the incredible patience that is required of a photographer – that the image doesn’t begin and end with the snap of the shutter. The art of photography spans from concept to composition, from exposure to editing and enhancing. At night, this is all drawn out even further, teaching students absolute focus on each step of the process. Working closely together, they help each other to discover new ways of thinking and seeing in radically different ways.

“To be out on location and working with somebody – you know, talking about the light painting, talking about the composition, sharing your ideas and listening to their ideas, is a really great part of the process.”

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