Night-Light

The majority of my photography is of nature, but when I’m looking for a change or visiting a new city, I really do enjoy taking photographs in the evenings and of the city lights. I’ve been lucky to be able to travel a little and even though it is not always to the big city I still always try to take advantage of the opportunity.

Even a small place like my hometown of Saint John or the surrounding villages can still provide some opportunities to capture a great image at night. Saint John isn’t very big by some standards, but the city center is very well lit at night and can create some nice reflections off the harbor such as this one of The Saint John Harbor Bridge framing the downtown area.

Along with looking for reflections on bodies of water I usually look for the chance to get a bird’s eye view for a different perspective of a city at night. Experimenting with longer exposures of 15 – 30 seconds allows me to record light-trails from the cars on city roads which adds a little life to night scenes like this one of my hometown.

The world-famous Reversing Falls in Saint John attracts many tourists during the day but the view at night is just as impressive. This image of the falls and bridge was recorded with a small aperture to create the star effect with the lights and a long exposure to create milky looking water.

Even a small place in the middle of the Bay of Fundy like Deer Island can create a beautiful night-scape. Technically this is a morning-scape of these fishermen getting ready for work at 5am. Sometimes it pays to have insomnia.

One of my favorite nighttime shots is from a trip to New York in 2005. While traveling home from Brooklyn I stopped for a few shots in Manhattan and the N.Y.F.D. were gracious enough to help me out. Fortunately I had packed my tripod and cable release on this trip and the sirens allowed me enough time to set up the shot.

Although the travel arrangements don’t always allow for a full size tripod, a Gorilla Pod is the next best thing. This shot of South Beach Miami was taken by wrapping a Gorilla Pod around a fence railing and using a 2 second timer to record the image.

Sometimes when I travel photography isn’t the main purpose but my camera gear is still part of my luggage, so getting creative helps with night shots. A little Image Stabilization and the metal gate that locked me out of this Chicago yacht club was used for support and helped me capture this image of the illuminated boardwalk that separated these boats.

When it comes to taking picture of cities at night, there is likely no place like Las Vegas. Xcalibur is just one small part of what seems like an unlimited amount of neon in “Sin City”.

I’m likely in the minority but a week of the Vegas culture was long enough. I did enjoy the evenings and early morning photo shoots, and there was no shortage of night-scape subjects. Once again a railing and Image Stabilization saved me for this early morning shot of The Strip in Las Vegas.

Back closer to home still offers opportunities for some fantastic night shots. One of my favorite locations in Nova Scotia is Mahone Bay, but on your way there why not stop in Halifax. For something different how about a monochromatic Halifax at night

Even the small town of Mahone Bay Nova Scotia with a population of 900 has possibilities. The south shore of Nova Scotia is one of my favorite places to take photographs and the 3 churches of Mahone Bay are often the centerpiece for me.

Growing up I remember being afraid of the dark and I always needed a light on in the hall or my room. I’m older now and not so afraid of the dark, but I’ll admit it, I still like a little nightlight.

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Time of Reflection

“God’s miracles are to be found in nature itself; the wind and waves, the wood that becomes a tree – all of these are explained biologically, but behind them is the hand of God.”   Ronald Reagan

Fall is a bitter sweet time for me. It means the end of hot summer nights, the end of beach combing days and late evening sunsets.  It means that winter is soon to arrive with snow and ice and minus 20 degree (minus 40 with the wind-chill) days.  But it also brings spectacular colors and frosty designs that come with the change of temperature.  It means I need to get out as much as possible with my family to enjoy a cool hike and all the sights and wildlife that summer foliage conceals. I’ll admit that with the onset of colder weather I become a little bear-like and take the odd photographic hibernation.

Park Point Reflection, Deer Island, New Brunswick

Through out the year I love to look for images of water or create images from reflections in the water. This is especially true in the fall with the change of season bringing bright colours, leafless trees and newly formed ice. The addition of fog coming off the local rivers and the Bay of Fundy add to the drama of the scene.  There is something magnetic about the water to me.  Maybe I feel this way because we humans have such a dependence on it.

Heron - Lunnenburg, Nova Scotia

The reflections in a body of water seem to not only enhance the image but also emphasize the fragility of the places we live.  It seems ironic sometimes as I read the news there are so many in the world who are in dire need of rain and others who wish it would just stop.   As I’ve said before, when I create an image it’s with the hope that the viewer has a greater appreciation of the gift that God has given us.  This is especially true for our water.

Fall Reflections - Musquash Marsh, Musquash, New Brunswick

Last fall I had the opportunity to spend several days working with an organization called Blue Legacy that was started by Alexandra Cousteau.  During the few days I spent with Alexandra and her group I heard several amazing stories about water issues around the world.  Some are still sad while others have the potential for a happy ending, but we’ll have to wait and see.  In one of her speeches, Alexandra gave a suggestion that I made the point to do with my family this past summer.  If you want to show your family that water is not an inexhaustible resource take them to the lake or watershed that fills your tap.  It was a great object lesson for my kids.  When they looked at the lake it may have seemed enormous but when I explained that 50,000 people all need to share it, it started to look a whole lot smaller.

Sunset Reflection - Mud Lake Bog, Quispamsis, New Brunswick

The process for taking a photograph is no longer only about depth of field, focal length, or shutter speed; they have become secondary. For me it is about the time of reflection and appreciating the gift we have been given.