Last night I held a night photography workshop in Somerville, NJ. It is always a lot of fun to see how my hometown looks after dark. We started in a cemetery that has some large but rather eerie monuments. I tend to hang out in cemeteries probably more than I should and I’m always amazed by the tributes that have been built to the dead. At least they make for fun photographs. We got there before it was pitch dark so there would still be some light in the sky. For the first shot we were lucky to be aimed toward the Big Dipper, which were about the only stars visible since there is so much light pollution in New Jersey.
One of the things I love to do at night is light painting: using a flashlight to illuminate dark objects. A cemetery is a perfect place to do it since few are lit at night. It gives me lots of control over the light. We could see a highway behind the second monument we shot, which give us cool red lights streaking past plus I caught an airplane flying past.
After we got out of the cemetery alive we went to downtown Somerville and did lots of fun long exposure shots. There is a monument/fountain on the courthouse square that is pretty dark on one side so I did some light painting on it and we shot from the side so we could see the old Somerset Hotel and a new building going up that has lots of light on it. The Somerset Hotel sign on the roof isn’t lit so I brightened it up also with my flashlight. We also played with some long exposure tricks, like spinning the camera while photographing neon signs. It is a lot of fun.
We finished the night on Division St., a pedestrian mall that has lots of things going on. I had fun with some colorful tables and chairs in front of a restaurant that had funky colored lights. It looks do different at night, which was the whole purpose of the workshop.
Interestingly, I have a similar story to tell.