Category Archives: night photography

Lively Lights

lively lights blur lively lights blur

The holidays have passed, but at Flagstaff’s Little America Hotel the seasonal display of lively lights continue to illuminate the property. I wanted to spend time photographing the lights earlier in December but my never ending list of “to-do’s” kept me away. Now that the new year is here, I knew my days were numbered capturing these lights. So I met my photographer friend a few days ago and we spent an hour in the cold weather gathering a few shots.

The first series of images I captured was using blur to my advantage. Yes, I intentionally captured images out of focus. Extending my Nikon 24-120 mm lens to about 100 mm, I manually focused (or defocused) to get the effect I wanted. The live view on my camera was essential for this technique even though the battery depletes faster. I forgot my shutter release, so I set the camera on a 2 second timer and of course, had my camera on a tripod.

lively lights bokeh lively lights zoom pull

To read the rest of the article and see how I captured two more techniques, head over to Arizona Highways Photo Workshop blog.

Also posted in Before/After, Photographic Techniques

Entertaining Reflections

Flagstaff Orpheum at night

Overall scene

Flagstaff Orpheum sign reflection

Orpheum sign with a reflection in the car windshield

Capturing night lights is one of my favorite subjects to photograph. Sometimes the temperature is cool (especially in Flagstaff), but the photos don’t disappoint. Last fall, I met up with my Northern Arizona University student photo club to photograph night lights. We stuck to a two block range on Aspen beginning at San Francisco and ending up in front of the Orpheum Theatre at Beaver Street. We bundled up in our winter jackets and kept warm except for our cold hands holding the metal tripod legs. When we approached the Orpheum some young men were in front of the building hanging out. Adding people to the photo can add a sense of scale to the image, so I took the shot. Then reviewed it on my LCD panel and decided it was boring. So, I looked around for something better. There was a car parked in front of the Orpheum limiting my view from the front side. I knew I had to work the subject, so I walked around the car anyway. Then, I saw a great refection in the windshield of the car. I took a shot of the bright sign and the reflection in the car window. The photo still wasn’t working for me so like I often do, I thought to myself, “What interests me here?” It was the reflection. I recomposed to include the reflection of the Orpheum sign only. This image works. My final adjustments in post

Flagstaff Orpheum Sign reflection

Final image of Flagstaff’s Orpheum night lights

processing included a little spot removal of bugs on the windshield. Although my students weren’t sure what I captured in my frame, once I shared the image with them they understood. It was another successful evening capturing the night lights in Flagstaff.

Image available as a metal print at Brandy’s Restaurant in Flagstaff.

Also posted in Inspiration, Photographic Techniques, reflections