Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques

February 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Digital Photography Product

Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques

Take a well-timed shot in the dark with this invaluable guide to night photographyShooting in low light and at night is challenging, but it can result in stunning images, so don’t put that digital camera away after the sun goes down! Start capturing eerie and intriguing photographs at all levels of light with this information-packed guide from renowned photographer and author Harold Davis.He provides pages of field-tested techniques to help you find the proper exposures, including the best setti

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3 Responses to “Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques”
  1. J. Reifer says:
    108 of 124 people found the following review helpful:
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Experienced night shooter with serious concerns about this book, February 5, 2010
    By 
    J. Reifer
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques (Paperback)

    I’m an experienced night photographer, workshop instructor, and college level Photoshop teacher. I’ve been reviewing various night photography books to find one to recommend to my students. The author of this book obviously shares the joy of night photography, and has made some very nice night landscape images in the Bay Area, and Sierras. Those interested in landscape photography could find this work inspiring. The book shows some breadth of night photography subject matter, hard won images, and plenty of enthusiasm.

    Unfortunately, quite a few of the images suffer from insufficient sharpness or depth of field (poor choice of aperture), blatant purple sensor burn (failure to understand CCD sensor limitations vs. CMOS), strange white balances (especially overly magenta skies), images with massive amounts of chroma and luminance noise, and poor technical advice (shooting at f/22 and f/29, which causes loss of sharpness due to diffraction).

    This may sound like I’m coming out of left field with all of the other glowing reviews, but as an avid night photographer, I felt like someone had to speak up for image quality and proper technique. Fundamental concepts such as high ISO testing calculations, color temperature settings, and camera setup advice are either glossed over, or ignored. Light painting tools and techniques are not explained, and the use of gels to modify light color & color temperature is sorely lacking. Jill Waterman’s book Night and Low-Light Photography, while not perfect, has better coverage of the fundamental techniques of digital night photography, and is recommended as an alternative.

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  2. Jack H. Tasoff says:
    37 of 43 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Phantasmagorical!, November 19, 2009
    By 
    Jack H. Tasoff (San Pedro, CA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques (Paperback)

    With “Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques,” Mr. Davis creates a new paradigm in photography, the universe of photographing the night. I do not mean photographing at night, but photographing the night. I mean photographing the night that so often has its exquisite beauty concealed in the details that only photography can expose.

    His photographs are like an Escher, dazzling to both the eye and mind.

    This is not an absolute beginner’s book. You need to know what aperture, shutter speed, and ISO mean. But from there Mr. Davis takes you by the hand and gently guides you through a discipline little understood by amateur or professional alike. The photographs are exquisite. The book will surely find its place on your coffee table. Each photograph is accompanied by short explanation of how it was conceived and created. The text is concise, easy to understand, and without the frivolities that that I so often find irksome in some techniques books. That is not to say it is dry or boring. With each photograph I just WANTED to know how it was done. Unlike a mystery novel, I did not want to know who did it, but rather “how” did it. I suggest that on each page you first look at the photograph, and then “guess” how it was done. So often I was never even close to right answer.

    My recommendation is to place the book on your wish list, or even better, buy the it now. It is a pearl of great worth.

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  3. Mr. Amusing "steven_the_amusing" says:
    25 of 30 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Own the Night – A Book of Ideas for Shooting at Night, November 27, 2009
    By 
    Mr. Amusing “steven_the_amusing” (San Jose, CA United States) –

    This review is from: Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques (Paperback)

    Mr. Harold Davis has authored more than a handful of books covering photography and photographic technique. Other recent works by this author include: The Photoshop Darkroom: Creative Digital Post-Processing – an excellent and indispensable work, Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers (Practical Artistry) as well as other works in his “Creative” series which include Creative Composition: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques and Creative Close-Ups: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques.

    I have had the good fortune of seeing Harold’s work on Flickr, following his BLOG and subsequently attending several of his workshops – including his Night Photography workshop. This book, Creative Night, is heavily illustrated with Harold’s night work – most of it very compelling and spanning a variety of different styles. More on that in a moment.

    As with Harold’s other works, I am pleased to find a generous glossary and index.

    Of course the focus of this work is 239 pages dedicated to a spectrum of approaches and important tips in taking and making compelling photography at night. Many people are surprised by the images that can be made at night including shots at night that look like they were taken in daylight. I consider myself an “advanced amateur” on Night Photography so I was eager to read this work.

    The books starts well. The first 60 pages cover the most important aspects of taking photos at night including safety, camera considerations, lenses, focusing, and exposure. At page 60, Harold tackles one of the most challenging issues for budding night photographers: exposure. Knowing how to make sense of the exposure histogram is a very powerful principle. I would have preferred to see some examples of images illustrated with their histograms to help understand the principle. A too brief discussion of Light Painting (using artificial light sources to illuminate the subject) starts, and ends on page 62. Thereafter a variety of night subjects are covered: Cityscapes, Buildings, Bridges, Industrial Areas, the Ocean, Clouds and Fog. Still more ideas include photographing the moon and using moonlight for illumination – and more. All sections are illustrated with Harold’s own photographs. On page 156 Harold gives some simple tips about understanding the night sky and points the reader at an excellent reference section at the back of the book.

    From page 176 to 183 Harold covers noise – not in a deep scholarly way – but in a straightforward easy to understand tone and provides detailed Photoshop-ready instructions on how to selectively process out noise. Harold provides great details on processing here but truly his work The Photoshop Darkroom: Creative Digital Post-Processing is what you want to get ALL the goods on improving and editing photos. The geek in me wanted to see a sidebar or deeper discussion on noise and while Mr. Davis points out noise caused by heating of the sensor, he doesn’t mention the noise created by the ambient temperature. (Lower temperatures produce lower noise overall, but also usually lower battery life)

    At page 184 Harold begins coverage of my favorite night photography subject: Star Trails. Star Trail photography requires much more than minutes of exposure and always works better with some foreknowledge and pre-planning. Many people are fascinated by the arcs that that stars trace out in the night sky due to the rotation of the earth. One of the best tools to produce compelling star trail images is a technique called “stacking”. A copious amount of explanation is provided and includes both reference material for software available over the internet as well as a detailed description of how to use Photoshop to produce results.

    The last few sections of the work include using a programmable timer (intervalometer), a great internet resource section and the Glossary and Index I mentioned earlier.

    One feature of the book I had not really expected was the many different ideas for night photography. If you have an inkling to tackle night photography but are not sure where to start – you will undoubtedly find something interesting to start with here – even if your efforts are not…

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