Shooting Challenge: Night

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The world has ended. It’s already dark by the time we emerge from our caves at work. So let’s do the only thing we can short of buying daylight bulbs and partaking in carefully calibrated substance abuse: Celebrate the dark by photographing it.


The Challenge

Take a photograph of night.

The Method

Deeper discussions of technique aside, if you want to photograph things at night, there’s not a lot of light to do it. So even if you use the autoexposure of your dSLR or smartphone, you need to give your lens more time to let the trickle of light in.

In other words, just use a tripod, OK? Or set your camera on any surface you can. That will allow you to sidestep the inevitable, unintentional blur problems.

But what if you really want to get into it? What if you want a really long exposure, that lasts 1-5 minutes? Here’s a good tutorial that breaks down some of the science at work, and I like this conversation with a photographer about night landscapes, too.

The Example

Our lead shot is by John Lemieux, and note that it’s a 20-second exposure, meaning if you plan to duplicate the effect, it will take your camera some time. Of course, photographing cityscapes is a lot more forgiving if you’re willing to let the artificial lights blow out and the darks stay in shadow.


The Rules - READ THESE

0. No watermarks. They’re so ugly.
1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken this week.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a native resolution sized shot in email.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.


Send your best photo by Monday, November 11th at 10AM Eastern to with “Night” in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameNight.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameNightWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don’t skip this story part because it’s often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!



Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be able to get out for shots this time around, but here’s one I took while waiting for the Perseid showers this summer.

I really do need to make more time for some night photography.