Low Light

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For the youngsters amongst us, it may come as a surprise to hear that photography wasn’t always a technicolour experience. Black and white isn’t just an edit option in Photoshop, it’s where photography began and it remains an essential means of expression for many photographers. ~Simon Bray

The gift of sight

Around 15 years ago I was diagnosed with glaucoma. It is a debilitating eye condition which, if left unattended, can lead to blindness. I was at an advanced stage and had to undergo expensive and critical laser surgery on both eyes. The medical process was to free up the pressure that was building up inside the eye so that the liquid inside can freely circulate. Unlike the skin organ, the rods and cones in our eyes damaged by the built-up pressure caused by glaucoma cannot regenerate. My sense of sight has not been the same ever since that operation. I wear glasses though the grade is not that high. Glaucoma doesn’t go away, there is always the prospect of a recurrence. How does this affect my photography?


If you have been following this blog for some time now and going through my image postings you may say that I have 20/20 vision. Well, it’s far from that. I have poor eyesight and is nearsighted. I don’t know if that’s because of my previous glaucoma condition. It’s crucial that I wear my eyeglasses when driving because I can not clearly see distant objects, they are all just a blur. I even struggle peering through the electronic viewfinder of my DSLR and find it more comfortable viewing, framing and capturing through the camera’s LCD screen. Such setback (I wouldn’t call it a disability) does not deter me. It even encourages and inspires me to really “see” things. This gift of sight, no matter how imperfect it is for me, propels my photography and visual imagery. Maybe because of this condition I strive to see more, and go the extra effort to perceive light and other elements that make up a good picture. Maybe I am guided more by my internal vision than my external sight when photographing. Or both could be complementing each other. All you my friends who have perfect eyesight be thankful, and utilize that powerful sense to make the most of your capture.

A different feel at night


Article Excerpt: “Taking pictures at night gives an image a completely different feel because it captures different stories of daily life, sometimes more dramatic than the ones captured during the day. There is also a whole new cast of characters at night that make taking pictures on the streets after dark an even more adventurous experience in street photography…Just by decreasing the available light we increase the element of mystery in the image. Don’t get me wrong, it could still be an average image. Just because it was taken at night the picture won’t magically become a great photograph, but at least it might become a little bit more interesting, it may make the viewer ask just a few more questions. And depending on where you are it may even add an element of danger.”~Juan Reyes from his article Street Photography Tips at Night

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There are some photographers that don’t go out at night. For many, the perception is that with the lack of ambient light, all your shot will turn out blurry, noisy or dark. In reality, within most city centers there is a wealth of photographic opportunities just waiting to be discovered, all using the available light.~Simon Bray

The challenge of night photography

Shooting subjects in daylight is challenging enough. We often produce blurry, out of focus images even in bright light. What more at night, in an urban landscape with only neon signs, street lamps and lights from buildings? The special condition of low light situation presents an obstacle to photographers but these can all be overcome, and you do not need to be an expert. Night photography can produce some of the most remarkable and impressive photos. To do this you have to remember some simple guidelines.


David Peterson, founder of DigitalPhotoSecrets.com, presents some tips in his article Spectacular Night Shots In 5 Easy Steps. These are:

1. Get a tripod
2. Find a high-traffic location or an interesting street sign
3. Frame the shot in an interesting way
4. Pick an aperture of F8 and shoot some experimental shots at a slow shutter speed
5. Readjust and keep shooting

You will notice that the steps provided by Peterson is a combination of the technical and the creative. The technical side is where you have to learn all about your camera, its features and what it can do. Once you know that, then you can do a lot of things such as shooting with shutter speed priority or long exposures, the technique which creates silky smooth waterfalls and, in night photography, those amazing light trails. The creative side is where you have to draw on your knowledge to come up with the proper framing and effective composition. We are often deterred in doing night photography thinking this needs specialized equipment. The only other thing you need aside from your camera is a tripod. Everything else boils down to you – your patience, passion and resolve. Add these personal traits when doing night photography. The resulting images are rewarding.

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A photographer’s work is given shape and style by his personal vision. It is not simply technique, but the way he looks at life and the world around him.~Pete Turner

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JJWP384Each picture requires a special composition and every artist treats each picture originally.~Peter Henry