Night Time

This place has been on my list of things to shoot for a while now.  I was wishing it would be a little WARMER last night, but no…..Chicago in May is still pretty unpredictable.  But, the photo challenge must go on, regardless of weather.   Two layers of jackets at about 8:30 pm, during my favorite time to shoot – the magical blue hour.   When sky and water becomes this amazing shade of deep blue that translates into photographs extremely well.

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The location is the McDonald’s headquarter grounds in Oak Brook, IL.  I’ve shot here before, as it’s very picturesque with lots of angle and lights, nature paths and lakes.  A little something for everyone.  I’ve seen this building on the grounds lit up at night before and knew I wanted to come back with my tripod.

Last night I convinced my husband to come along, as I always feel a little more confident and focused if I’m not alone in the dark.  He’s such a good sport….he is the official holder of all things camera-related, and he is very understanding when I want to create some photos at dawn or dusk.   He also serves as my “scout” sometimes, too – looking for an improvement to the set-up spot I chose.  I do like shooting alone sometimes, mostly during the day, but in the dark I just appreciate another set of eyes around me.   If you photograph at night, you know what I mean!  A little caution goes a long way, especially when you are carrying expensive gear.

I used to be quite intimidated by night photography, but shooting during the blue hour is actually really simple.  You just have to find a subject that has some light, like this building.   A little preparation ahead of time (before it gets dark) makes it even easier.  I attach my camera to the tripod, and set it to Aperture Priority instead of the usual Manual mode.  That way I can set the depth of field exactly where I want it, and let the shutter speed adjust itself as it gets darker and darker – it doesn’t matter how slow it is with a tripod.   Set the ISO to 100, and turn on the remote shutter release.  That’s it!  Oh, and sometimes I even remember to turn off the Vibration Control when I use the tripod 🙂   As soon as the sky settles into the brilliant blue, set the focus point and press the remote shutter every minute or so until it’s too dark.

I’m always trying different compositions and different perspectives as I shoot my way through the very short window of blue hour.  Then suddenly…..it’s over….the stunning deep blue sky is gone, and it’s just plain dark.  Time to go home.

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