Night Light


NightLight3Sometimes when I feel like my work or ideas are getting monotonous I try to think of my camera as a sort of sketchbook and think of ways I might capture ‘sketches’ of the landscape rather than more ‘representative’ photographs. I’ll try using double exposures, long exposures and/or maybe camera movement to get a different sort of feel happening.

NightLight2These are a few images from a snowy winter evening when I went out to just play. No expectations or specific ideas – in my mind I was simply sketching the night and following my intuition as I experimented. I made setting adjustments as the camera gave me feedback. At times I used flash to capture the snowflakes and elements in the foreground along with exposures lasting several seconds, and at times also moving the camera to see what might happen.

NightLight4In the first image you can see that I was moving my camera up and down which created light trails from a light source on the other side of the woods. A strange image but there is something about it that I find oddly appealing. Perhaps it reinforces the idea that a camera is a tool with endless possibilities and every so often I need to be reminded of this.

I wasn’t initially planning on posting these as they seemed to be more about process than result – technically they are quite noisy – but I sort of like the soft-focused, grainy look of them and in the end they really are sketches of a snowy winter night.

© Karen McRae, 2014

67 thoughts on “Night Light

  1. these are lovely Karen – and ‘sketching’ is a beautiful way to describe your process with the camera. It as you say ‘a tool’ and we all get too caught up with trying to produce the finished piece. I think you caught the mood exceptionally well – explore enjoy and deceive – the last one looks like fathoms under the sea 🙂

  2. The ethereal, ghostly quality of these feel like they capture the pure feeling of winter, rather than a simple image of winter as we see it.

    1. Hi Jenn, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I like the idea of attempting to capture the essence of something – an experience, the landscape, … So I’m glad you find that the images manage to do that in some way.

  3. I always think it’s great to see “rough sketches”. It shows a little of the behind the scenes thinking before it all gets polished up. To see that with a camera is wonderful, and something that I hadn’t quite imagined before; sketching with a camera. Thank you for that! It looks surreal and very much of the moment.

  4. These are beautiful images, Karen. And I know just what you mean about our photography becoming monotonous, such that we feel the need to change, diversify and get onto new paths. I always try to vary my posts, never more than two or three in a row on the same thing.

    My favourite here is the third down, it has a definite aura of mystery and magic.

    And I’m right with you re our cameras being tools – I like to get to know a camera so that it becomes a part of me, such that I don’t have to think much about using it, I can put all my thoughts and vision into creating the images.

    And I don’t think you should worry at all about these images being “more about process than result” – and far, far less about their being noisy!!! – my feeling is that the end always justifies the means, i.e. if an image looks good it is good, regardless of its technical qualities or its mode of production. Adrian

  5. Yes, very creative photos! They are so tactile, they have so much texture, such a “hand drawn” feel.
    Your comments about the camera being a tool are right on. Thank you for sharing your process with us, Karen.

  6. Wonderful images Karen ! I love how you try different things with your camera, the results are always amazing. I really love the 2nd and 3rd photo 🙂

  7. You describe the idea, the process and everything so clearly. I like the images, but particularly when I hear what they’re about. The third photo has a real numinous quality to it.

  8. Karen, it has all been said by those before me, but my comment is not so much about the work, but about your bravery in breaking out and always experimenting and sharing what you find. Inspiring, in a word. Rufus.

  9. Your work is always interesting to me Karen. I am certainly never bored by it !! Yuo have produced another slice of magic with these. I particularly like the 3rd one down..

  10. Love the colors! And the third photo has a special atmosphere, like if ET should appear in a corner or anywhere else…
    PS: yes, it is nice sometimes to take the freedom to try something different, out of the box, great!

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