Night Photography – a beginning

I’ve been pretty lax on updating this blog of late – one reason is because I had an excellent workshop with Todd Hido on night photography that was pretty draining.  It was my first workshop experience and was definitely worthwhile for me.  I’ll be showing some of my work from the workshop over the next few weeks in this space.  I’m pretty excited about night photography as I believe it will really open up new avenues for my photography – I tried many types of work during the week-long workshop and I’m not sure which of these types of work I’ll end up pursuing ultimately, but I’m sure night photography will become an essential part of what I photograph.

Here’s one image from my workshop from one of my favorite haunts, Barrett’s Cove, just down the street from my house.  This is about a 12 minute exposure – that is where the star trails come from (resulting from the rotation of the earth that is visible because of the longer exposure) for those of you who aren’t familiar with this sort of photography…

The actual experience of taking this photograph is something I’ll always remember – about 1 am, the calls of the loons all around me (and not much else), and the peak of the Perseid meteor shower happening right above me.  With a 12 minute exposure, of course, there is lots of time to listen to the loons and watch the meteors. Because of the long exposure, the meteor shower isn’t visible as the meteors moved too quickly to show up on the photograph.

Let me know what you think!


Copyright 2010 Jim Nickelson. All Rights Reserved.

Slick Site for Astronomical Data

Any nature or landscape photographer is likely cognizant of the importance of sunrise and sunset times on their photography.  Many landscape photographers also shoot in the twilight before dawn or after sunrise, or seek to include the moon in their compositions.  I just found a great site called that quickly and easily gives you not only sunrise and sunset times for a particular location but also moonrise, moonset, moon phase, civil twilight, nautical twilight, and astronomical twilight times.  Here’s a sample image for March 2010 in my town of Camden, Maine:

This is actually a crop of the full calendar – the default seems to be showing information for an entire month.  To find your specific location, US residents can simply choose their state from this page and then select the town and month and, like magic, you get all this wonderful information.  For free.  I’ve seen this information in various other locations before but nowhere so readily available.  Highly recommended.