CAMERAS ARE ALWAYS COMPARED TO THE HUMAN EYE, but there’s one scenario in which it excels: night time. When our eyes are straining, a camera gathers light over time. The image unfolds slowly, revealing details invisible to us, like the faintest stars, or features of a landscape. It is more a collection of time rather than a moment, allowing us as photographers to create an image, rather than simply take one. For that reason I believe night photography is the greatest form of photographic art.
1. Use the nighttime to bring out textures and colors you won’t see in daylight.
I have been photographing Joshua Tree National Park for years now, and I spend about two nights a week out there when I’m not traveling out of town. I take more photos at night there than in daylight. During the day the desert can look flat, desaturated and boring. Night photography has a way of bringing out colors and textures that are hard to see in direct sunlight, and the starry sky adds a depth greater than that of clouds during the day. It gives a sense of our place in the universe. I can give you the metadata for this image, but knowing what settings I used won’t be what gets you a great shot. It’s knowing the thought process and techniques that will allow you to take an image like this. The principles of night photography are the same as those that we use during the day, just stretched out, so as to allow more light to enter the camera.