photography at night

It was boys night out at the edge of the Rio Grande, way down in the 700ft deep section of the gorge.  A perfect time for photography at night.

We passed the afternoon fishing (catching nothing) and swimming to stay cool in the unprecedented heat. By dinner time though, the temperature was perfect, a breeze kept the bugs off and the two boys were running up and down the river’s edge discovering all sorts of treasures.

photography at night

Truth be told, I haven’t played much with night photos but I thought I’d give it a try.  The moon was up and at waxing gibbous, so I waited until about 10pm when it dropped down to the southwest and hovered over the rim of the canyon so I could get it in my shots.

My young amigo Ian, age 9, volunteered to head inside his tent with a flashlight and wave it around while I had the shutter open.  He was the perfect assistant, moving it slowly and steadily over the walls of the tent while I took the shot.

Using a tripod (I had to be careful as the wind was whipping up the canyon at a stiff pace) and having the aperture full open, I held the shutter at 30 seconds while Ian painted the tent with light.

After the moon set to the southwest the Milky Way was bright and clear and shooting stars were all around. I tried for some star shots but….no good.

I’m not sure I have any night photography tips yet but I’m working up some experience. It is just plain fun to play photography at nightaround – and be out next to the river.

In the morning, we hunted dragonflies.


best night photography

nikon night photography


  1. Comment by Lindsay

    Lindsay Reply June 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Love love love it!!!! So pretty!!!

    • Comment by Jim

      Jim Reply June 29, 2012 at 7:32 am

      Thanks Lindsay! Such a gorgeous night!

    • Comment by Jim O'Donnell

      Jim O'Donnell Reply June 29, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks again Nancy! It was a ball playing around doing this.

  2. Comment by David W. Cox

    David W. Cox Reply June 29, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Love the glowing tent.

    • Comment by Jim O'Donnell

      Jim O'Donnell Reply June 29, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      David! Thank you. These were so fun to take.

  3. Comment by Michael

    Michael Reply June 29, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Jim, great shots! Night photography has become one of my favorite things to do. You can get some really dramatic lighting if you hold the shutter open really long by going into bulb mode (you will need a remote shutter release). I’ll even use a higher aperture like f11 and leave the shutter open 2-5 minutes or even more depending on how much ambient light is available. You start to get star trails and everything…really cool!

    • Comment by Jim

      Jim Reply June 29, 2012 at 10:33 am

      Michael, sadly my shutter release remote walked when most of my camera equip was stolen a few years ago. I need another one. Thats what I found out once the moon went down Monday night, I really needed to go into bulb mode and so play time ended up being somewhat limited. I was hoping to get some star trails. I’ll get one sooner than later as I rebuild my equipment. Thank you!

  4. Comment by Leigh McAdam

    Leigh McAdam Reply June 29, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Beautiful shots. I must try that this weekend when I'm out camping in Jasper Nat Park. I forgot about the painting with light!

    • Comment by Jim O'Donnell

      Jim O'Donnell Reply June 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      I'd love to see what you come up with! It was really fun to just play around.

  5. Comment by Melissa Ruttanai, Writer

    Melissa Ruttanai, Writer Reply July 4, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I love that tent shot. It looks like there is an electrical storm caught inside. Love!

    • Comment by Jim O'Donnell

      Jim O'Donnell Reply November 30, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      Thank you Melissa. That was alot of fun. I'm ready for summer and more camping again!

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