Light Transforms and Transcends

Beautiful warm artificial light illuminates a building on the canal during a warm summer's evening in Brugge, BelgiumCanon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series lens @ 32mm. Exposure Details: 10 seconds @ f8 ISO 100

The night offers the enthusiastic photographer a whole new range of possibilities. Stillness, silence, calm, fear and abandonment are just some of the emotions that can be explored. Likewise the night gives us the opportunity to test our photographic skills and explore places that crowds and traffic may not allow us to do during daylight hours.     

Light is an essential element in photography. In fact the word photography translates from ancient Greek as follows:
  • photo = light
  • graphy = writing, drawing or painting
Night photography, particularly in city environs, allows us to explore the colors emitted from a range of artificial light sources. Street lights, building interiors and neon signs emit colors that produce quite eerie effects. And on overcast nights the abundance of artificial light can even light up the clouds above. 

Actually I'm a bit of a night owl. As a consequence packing my camera and, on occasions, a tripod into the car may well represent the most creative part of my day. And that's when the fun begins.

The above photo was made late in the evening in Brugge, Belgium. I'd headed out for dinner and decided to explore some of the areas less likely to be visited by tourists. I found a great pub and enjoyed a few of the countries 300 odd beers, including a local beauty. That made the trip back to my hotel particularly joyous. I continued to photograph along the way, finally stopping for a few last photos directly across the road from my hotel.

Because it was quite dark a 10-second exposure was required. I simply waited for the gentle breeze to stop long enough to record stillness in the leaves on the trees on either edge of the frame. Notice how the wall on the bottom left of the frame leads the eye towards the main building. The gentle movement of water in the canal adds a sense of movement within the otherwise static image.   

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru