Since I am living in Asian big cities, I deeply enjoy shooting at night as there is so much going on with so many light sources, potential silhouette and reflective surfaces. Best of all, it is always a pleasure to share my knowledge and experience about such a very specific topic with some of my favorite students.
By Franc Peret
Here is what I achieved while running this Fall 2015 Night shooting class in the heart of Shanghai.
This is the first of a series of night shooting with and without tripod.
You can discover the second hand held night walk session here.
I worked with a Nikon D750 and three cheap and bright lenses: Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G, Nikon AF-S 35mm DX f/1.8G and Sigma 28mm f/1.8.
Surprisingly, the 35mm DX (designed for crop sensor camera, such as Nikon D7200) is working very well on my Full Frame camera.
Set on some Aperture and focusing closer, a strong vignetting appears, but I am avoiding this quit easily. It is a great little lens, sharp and light.
To Compare, I brought along an old prime lens: Nikon AF-D 35mm f/2 which is still a good performer as you can see on the group shots.
The 28mm f/1.8 Sigma is an old Manual focus lens that I bought second hand more than 10 years ago in Japan for less than 300 RMB (50 USD). It is bright, light and a joy to use.
For many years, Nikon Camera are having a great and helpful feature for focusing, especially at night with a fully open bright lens.
A green dot is lighting up in the left corner of the view finder, as soon as any lens fixed on the camera is getting in focus. It is very accurate and a time saver sometime.
TO come back to the night shooting Class, our group didn’t have to cover a long distance as there is so many things to see, with trained eyes, in what supposed to be darkness.
3 hours class between 6:30 to 9:30 pm were sufficient to collect hundred of shots.
Here is a short selection of that inspiriting time.
When my Students start to find aesthetic interest in garbage can, I know that my teaching was efficient and meaningful to them. I am having a joke about this in my essential photography program.
I am teaching that the most dangerous topics for photographer and kids and pets (especially kitty).
In the world, the biggest calendar sell are still cats.
Nothing can beat cats in term of visual attraction to most middle age house wife who are buying those calendars.
Problem with pets and kids is that they are attractive on their own. Show a picture of a little kid or a baby cat and viewers are going to love your pictures.
Frustration comes on the fact that, viewer do not specifically like your picture, they like the subject instead.
And here comes the garbage can parabola.
I am teaching to my students that if they are able to bring positive emotion to viewers while showing them their garbage can picture, they would have achieve something genuinely good as photographer…
Success will not belong to the subject itself, but to the photographer only.
And night shooting, with all its magic, is the best place to give it a try…
If you liked this post, you can discover the second hand held night session in Shanghai here.
Former photo journalist, Film maker and ELC Shanghai Photography teacher, Franc Peret is teaching Essential Photography Classes, Advanced Photography Workshop and Film Making Classes in Shanghai, for the last 10 years.