September 29, 2014
You never know what photography adventures you might have, even in familiar places! Over the weekend I visited Duke Gardens during the evening, after sunset. Though I’ve been to the Gardens a million times, I’m rarely there in the later hours because it is often too dark to take pictures without a tripod.
This weekend, however, I remembered a photography class I had taken extolling the fun of using a flash to photograph plants in low light. Since I was in the beautiful Terrace Gardens, full of flowers, I shrugged and thought, why not give it a try?
It was amazing! Plants I felt were familiar to me suddenly took on new personalities, framed by a completely black background. Details that I had never noticed in the sunshine suddenly popped out, like tiny petal curls or interesting leaf textures. Reds and yellows especially popped, and I fell in love with those colors all over again.
The only issue was focusing. My camera had no idea what my subject was in the darkness, even when I tried to manually adjust it. To compensate, I whipped out my cell phone and beamed its light at the flower or petal I wanted, allowing just enough light for my camera to focus and snap the photo. It worked!
On both Saturday and Sunday nights I stayed well past the last of the other visitors. Luckily I had friends with me both times, otherwise walking back to the parking lot in the complete darkness would have scared me! Now that I have had such fun with night photography, I will have to try it throughout the seasons on different plants and structures.