Are you interested in trying out night photography? It has become a very popular photographic expression, especially in regions such as ours, where the desert sky is relatively dark and clear. But what do you need? What kind of night photography are you drawn to? And where should you begin?
The first two questions are tied together. It goes without saying that nighttime photography requires a certain amount of supporting equipment. A DSLR camera, a steady tripod, and plenty of batteries will be essential! Then there is your comfort equipment for a pleasant trip outside, don't forget the water and snacks! And finally, bring your patience and a bit of enthusiasm, because any low-light photography can be challenging.
Your camera and your ability to manipulate its settings affect what you can capture effectively. A photographer then brings those images back to the studio and begins the digital darkroom dance! If you think your camera can work in low light, night photography seems to fall into three groups. Which are you drawn to?
1) Milky way and constellations over a landscape
2) The moon over a landscape (usually a crescent moon)
3) Light painting
There are other focuses, I assure you, but these three tend to draw everyone in at one time or another. The rest will probably require a decent amount of new equipment and endless hours at play!
So you have your equipment, a plan, and a mixed-up back of apprehension and excitement. What now? For Chaparral Artists, all we need to do is share our interest in the subject. Chaparral has several members that love to head out into the desert and snap up a few low-light scenes.
And for September 2021, we coordinated with the Desert Institute to visit Keys Ranch in Joshua Tree National Park. This opportunity will provide the first quarter moon in the sky as it begins its descent west, eventually setting by midnight. The natural illumination from the moon will offer pleasant light painting opportunities. The Milky way will not be as noticeable until the moon dips low in the sky. Still, you can always attempt to capture the fountain of stars later in the evening.