In November 2008, a little over a month ago, I attended a workshop held by The Nocturnes, a group of photographers that specialize essentially in night-time photography. They generally go without any or very little artificial light such as street lights, cars, etc, though a Nocturne will use flashlights and other tools to add to an image in some cases. There are lots of examples of ultra-long exposure shots (4 hours is the longest I’ve seen, 1 hour is the longest I’ve done). They have a flickr group as well, and a pretty useful discussion forum. Nocturnes tend to be pretty intense – many shoot only this type of photography, and they have developed calculators for correcting for these long exposures, etc. Many shoot enough to just know how long to expose for, just based on experience.
The workshop I attended was from November 8-10, when the moon was getting to full (76% when we arrived, 92% when we finished). We were at the Furnace Creek Ranch, one of only two real places to stay in Death Valley, the whole time, they though we worked several locations, including the Furnace Creek Inn, Zabriskie Point, Badwater Basin, andthe abandoned town of Rhyolite just over the border in Nevada in addition to the ranch itself. The workshop was led by Tim Baskerville, a Nocturne veteran (one of the first) and a great guy.
Overall, I give this workshop an experience a very positive score. It was a small group – 6 of us – and we shared some good tips and comraderie. Not as much as I would hope among all 6, but, in addition to the one good friend and one acquaintance I already knew, I can think of at least one other person with whom I spoke and interacted quite a bit. So that’s not bad. And I did get a lot out of it. Working with the light, understanding how working in just moonlight vs. a mixed lighting situation vs. daylight was very different, and I became more comfortable with the uncertainty of this type of photography. But also the wonders of the results.
The full flickr set of my photos is online. I will admit that I messed up a lot of the color exposures, though the black and white turned out better.
Read on for more comments