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You want to be a night photographer? You want to learn how to take pictures of everything from street lights to streaking meteors? But you want to do it at your own pace, to fit within your busy schedule?
I have the perfect solution for you!
My Digital After Dark online course is designed for photographers who aren’t able to commit to rigid schedules and who want more flexibility than typical courses offer, whether in the classroom or online.
- No having to be in class on a certain date and time.
- No having to get your assignments in on a particular date.
- No having to complete the course by a particular date.
- Everything is up to you!
Here’s how it works. When you register, you will receive the first of 4 lessons, along with various supplemental documents. The lesson contains an assignment, which involves creating images pertaining to what you learned. You can take as much time as you like in learning the lesson and completing the assignment. Once you do finish the assignment, you email the images to me and I will critique them for you. Then I will send you the next lesson and supplemental documents. Throughout the course, I will be available via email and phone to answer questions and offer guidance.
This course versus other online courses:
My Digital After Dark course differs from some other online classes in an important manner. In some classes, you participate with other students. Although you never meet them, you are able to interact with them online and you can see and comment on the photos they submit for assignments.
While there can be advantages in having other students take an online class with you, there are disadvantages as well. Those courses must follow a rigid structure. You receive your lesson on a certain day and have a limited amount of time to complete the assignments, usually about a week. If you don’t have time to participate during a particular week, you miss out.
If you have lots of spare time and you enjoy engaging with other students, I recommend that you check out Perfect Picture School of Photography, founded by Bryan Peterson. They don’t offer a night-photography class, but they have several others that might interest you. I used to be a lead instructor for PPSOP and I still assist in Donna Eaton’s composition class. You will be in good hands with them.
If you want to take a night photography course on your own schedule and not feel pressured in any manner, my Digital After Dark class is what you’re looking for.
But I work better with deadlines and set schedules
Some people need to have their schedule set for them in order to complete an educational course. I understand that. As your instructor, I’ll try to keep you motivated along the way and if I haven’t heard from you in a while, you can expect a gentle kick in the butt. However, if you are one of those who just can’t get anything done without adhering to a rigid schedule, this class is probably not ideal for you.
I do need to warn you about something before you sign up. After you learn about all the exciting things you can do with your camera at night, you won’t be getting much sleep from that point forward. You’ll start to live by the same mantra as me: “It ain’t over till the sun comes up!”
What is there to shoot at night? Yes, I’ve been asked that question on numerous occasions. It always amazes me. Asking what is there to shoot at night is like asking what is there to shoot during the day. The answer is everything! And while I can’t include everything in this course, I make sure to cover the good stuff. You’ll learn how to capture images ranging from quintessential city skylines and classic star-trail scenes to wildly creative compositions that you’d never dream of.
Photographing at night is different from most types of photography, not just because of the light, but also because you need to previsualize many of your images for the best results. You need to learn ahead of time the best times, locations, and weather conditions and you need to understand how the different types of nighttime lighting affect a scene. I’ll teach you how to do this in a lively upbeat manner that will have you eagerly waiting for the sun to go down.
Lesson 1: Skylines, Cityscapes, & Intimate City Scenes
• Learn all about shooting during the magic light of twilight.
• Add pizzazz to the clichéd image of a city skyline set against the twilight sky.
• Shoot compelling street scenes.
• Use streetlights and storefront lights as your “natural” lighting.
• Learn the best times and weather conditions. (Hint: A cloudy sky can be a good thing. So can rain.)
• Isolate architectural and lighting elements.
• Use people for seasoning.
• Artistically render your night cityscapes for a unique look.
Lesson 2: Light Painting (Illuminating an object with light)
• Investigate the numerous devices you can use for light painting. (Hint: You already have a very expensive light-painting device parked in your driveway and a very cheap one in your kitchen drawer. You also have one in your pocket.)
• Use light painting to illuminate everything from mushrooms to waterfalls to your lawn mower.
• Control the color of the light with inexpensive gels.
Lesson 3: Light Streaks (Using moving light as the subject)
• Accentuate your compositions with the moving lights from planes, trains, and automobiles (and boats, bicycles, and boomerangs!)
• Be the star of your creations by strapping lights to your body and “writing” your own compositions.
• Create a “light-painting announcement” by shining lights into the camera and spelling out a message.
• Take a trip on the wild side with “drive-by shootings.”
• Have fun with exciting light painting devices such as burning steel wool and electroluminescent wire.
Lesson 4: Night Sky
• Capture the quintessential night-sky image: Star trails. (But we’re going to do it with style!)
• Photograph the night sky full of stars just as we see it with our eyes—except better.
• Incorporate Venus, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter, and Mercury as accentuating elements in your compositions.
• Become a lunatic. Make the moon your friend.
• Learn how easy it is to photograph meteors.
• Learn how to include tents, cabins, barns, lighthouses, piers, and other exciting elements as foregrounds for your night compositions.
In addition to the four main lessons, you will receive the following supplemental documents:
- Apps, Charts, Newsletters for Night Photographers
- Becoming a Night Owl
- Comprehensive Guide for Photographing Star Trails
- Dealing with Dew
- Dealing with Noise
- Finding the Milky Way
- Flashlights for Light Painting
- Focusing in the Dark
- Gel Filters for Light Painting
- Intervalometers and Shutter Releases
- Multiple Exposures and Post Processing
- Powering the Camera at Night
- White Balance and RAW Versus JPEG for Night Photographers
Students need a digital camera that has full manual control of focus and exposure settings and a “bulb” setting to allow shutter speeds of any duration. If the camera does not have the functionality for timed exposures longer than 30 seconds, you’ll also need an external interval timer. (Information about choosing a timer is provided in the course.) Students should have a good working knowledge of setting aperture, shutter speed, and ISO and be able to turn autofocus on and off in the dark. A tripod is a must. For processing multiple exposure photos, you need a software program that works with layers, such as Photoshop. However, Photoshop is not required for this class, as you will be learning many techniques for shooting night photos in single exposures. For light painting, you need an LED flashlight and a selection of gel filters. (Information about choosing flashlights and filters is included in the course.)