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Montreal at Night
Overhead Red Lights
Photography at night has been around almost as long as there has been light-sensitive cameras. However, as the photography equipment has evolved, so have the techniques of making a photographic image after the sun has gone down. With the advent of the digital camera, the technical aspects of making of a nocturnal picture has just gotten a lot easier. So much so that captivating photographs can be created in a well-lit environment with just the simple open and close of the shutter. Gone are the days when the photographer had to worry about using the right temperature of film or how to operate a flash device. In essence, the photographer is now free to deal primarily with the visual language of the image.
Nocturnal Interior Lighting
Abstract vs. Realistic
As in this shot of an interior office front, photographed in the central downtown area of Montreal, night lights provide ample opportunity to create an abstract color-space composition. With a nod to abstract expressionist painters of the 40s and 50s, this picture explores the layers of color displayed in the front lobby. Due to the light-sensitive nature of the modern digital camera and the automatic adjustments to various color temperatures, color night photography has been reduced to a straightforward point-and-shoot operation. Gone are the need for flash devices, tripods and tungsten film.
Outdoor Advertising at Night
Images With Text
Words in a nocturnal photograph can be illuminated from a reflected source of artificial light or they can radiate from the actual letters as is the case of neon lighting. This Montreal fish storefront demonstrates both types of light. The lobster is created from radiated light, while the letters on the side of the boat are lit up by reflective light. Furthermore, placing a word in a photograph has two effects. It can add irony and/or meaning and/or it can become an element of graphic design. As a result, you might want to given careful consideration to which words you include and how they are arranged in the final picture composition. In the end these choices make all the difference in the final appearance.
Explore the Third Dimension
Foreground Is Important
Night time images need not be two-dimensional, for in a bright place, it is quite possible to obtain depth of field. In fact, you can definitely add interest to your image by emphasizing the area just beyond where you stand. The red overhead lighting adds detail, especially when two large circles of light are displayed at the front edge of the image. More depth is created as the picture recedes and the apparent size of the circles of light diminishes.
You don't have to be a streetwalker to bring home interesting night images. This shot was made in the lobby to a theater at the Museum for Moving Pictures in Montreal. Sporting events, museums, public performances or even your own home could also provide a good setting for a night image.
St. Lawrence Sunset
Although taken many miles north and east of Montreal along the banks of the St. Lawrence, this picture demonstrates how capturing the last lingering color of the evening sky can add mystery and mood to a picture. In an urban setting, the resonating twilight hues can add a new dimension to your photograph. Like all other pictures displayed in this hub, this image was made by a digital camera without the use of a flash or tripod.