Photo Blogging Challenge – Night (May 2013)

This post is for the third month of PJ’s monthly photo blogging challenge. Click here to visit other “Night” posts.

Our evenings are pretty routine…taekwondo classes a couple of times a week, a little television, the occasional movie or live performance, and lots of reading. So my initial thought was that this month’s theme might be a real challenge for me. Fortunately, our oldest son attended a couple of live performances in May, which resulted in two night photography opportunities. And our youngest son’s class went tent camping in Jasper National Park for 3 nights and I went along as a chaperone, providing another opportunity for a bit of night photography. Finally, we enjoyed an absolutely spectacular sunset to mark the start of the night of May 28th. In the end, I had a hard time narrowing it down to just 5 photographs for this post.

1. West LRT Parkade
I recently twigged to the world of possibilities that opens when you incorporate deliberate camera movement into your photography. This photograph was conceived to create “light waves” by rotating and wiggling a tripod-mounted camera while using a long exposure to photograph a lighted parkade that features both spot lighting and vertical stripes of light. See the header image for this post for a slightly more conventional photograph of the same parkade.
Waves of Light

2. Rain Shower at Sunset
We live at the top of a hill and our backyard faces west, towards the Canadian Rocky Mountains, so we are frequently blessed with the opportunity to enjoy a spectacular sunset. I didn’t think we’d see the sunset on May 28th, ’cause it rained a lot that day. Finally, around 9:45 pm, a horizontal break in the clouds occurred just long enough to reveal yet another rain shower moving in from the west. This photograph almost does justice to the intense colours of the purple curtain of rain against the brilliant orange sunset. It’s a panorama created using Microsoft’s free Image Composite Editor (aka ICE) to stitch together 4 RAW files.
Sunset and Storm

3. Streetlight Waves

Sunset Waves
I also took advantage of the May 28th sunset to continue exploring what can result when you deliberately move your camera during a long exposure. In this case, the shutter speed was long enough to allow for a bit of camera movement to turn the glow of the streetlights into “light waves”, but the movement was slight enough to keep the silhouettes of the houses on the next hill over from us recognizable.

4. Glowstick Zombie Survival Tag
I was one of the lucky parents selected to accompany fifty grade 8 students on a 4 day/3 night tent camping trip to Jasper National Park this month. We enjoyed great weather until the last morning, when we were taking down the tents. On the second night, we waited until it was finally dark (about 11 pm) and then the students played a game of glowstick Zombie survival tag. I abandoned my post as a human boundary marker to run and grab my camera and tripod. This is the result of a one minute exposure, the maximum my camera will do without some sort of external “bulb” control. NOTE – to see more of my photos from the week – including a couple of grizzly bear pictures – visit my “Rocky Mountain Tour” Flickr set.

5. 69th Street and Highway 8
This is the nearest major intersection to our house in west Calgary. It’s about 1.9 km / 1.2 miles distant “as the eagle flies”. There aren’t many houses around there, so it’s pretty easy to keep an eye on the traffic flow. I usually watch it in the morning, to get a sense of how the morning commute is going. With a long lens, it’s also a convenient subject for practicing night photography skills ’cause I just have to go out onto our deck to have a clear line-of-sight! I went out and took similar photographs 3 evenings this month and what I learned is that unless I’m willing to stay up way past my usual bedtime, I need a neutral density filter if I want to do any exposures longer than about 20 seconds!
Nearest major intersection

10 thoughts on “Photo Blogging Challenge – Night (May 2013)

  1. These are some truly wonderful shots you have here. I think view of the city with the light waves is my favourite, though. Absolutely beautiful. 🙂

  2. The streetlight waves look like lava. Really awesome shot, and creepily apocalyptical. I’ve been a point and shooter for many years and these are inspiring me to start learning to use exposures. Great shots!

  3. I am so trying to learn photography. Don’t have an expensive camera but I am learning. I know Cheryl from Friday Shoot My Town so getting better photo than I one did. Love your last shot. I love that look.

  4. I like the effects of painting with light in the first shot. Great colors to work with there. The last photo is gorgeous with its star bursts and red and yellow threads of lights.

  5. Excellent shots! I have always loved the deliberate movement during long-exposure shots. It’s almost a way of creating digital art. Love the final shot, too. I’m a fan of the car light streaks.

  6. Hello fellow Canadian! Great job with this theme, all of your pics are outstanding. My fave is the last one – I love the way the lamps look like stars on top of the poles.

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