On a beautifully clear and mild night in mid-August, I volunteered to help lead a group of photographers through Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery. Several times each year, the cemetery organizes a “Lunar Stroll,” geared toward photographers who want to do night work by the light of the moon. So I joined three other guides and we split forty people between us for a few hours of night photography, conversation, and instruction.
|Ambient light image (Canon Rebel XT)|
|Crypt cover "painted" with light|
Also, image quality varies with different digital cameras. My Rebel XT takes very poor night images (even if I use a low ISO like 400). My Olympus Pen micro four-thirds camera, on the other hand, records much better images (an example of which you see below).
|Statue "painted" with flashlight|
|"Silent Sentry" statue|
Over the two hours we spent guiding people around the cemetery, I helped a few beginners get basic results with their gear (again, start in “auto” mode to see what your camera will produce, then go from there). As an aside, a woman emailed me prior to the Lunar Stroll evening to ask what ISO film she should bring. I said that unless you are an experienced night photographer, film would not be a good choice. With digital, you can immediately see your mistakes and correct for them. With film, not so much.
|Self-portrait by author|
|L.E.D. light panel (ref.)|
I had actually purchased a 4x6 inch L.E.D. light panel for use in night photography (like the one you see at right), but I could not find it in my house when I needed it! My friend Veronika brought one, and I stumbled upon her setup in front of the mausoleum shown above. She had placed her L.E.D. light panel on a step, facing up toward the entrance. The effect was perfect, and I stopped to simply snap a picture! These L.E.D. light panels are great, by the way – relatively inexpensive, with bright, even lighting and incredibly low battery drain.
|Image by Connie Snyder|
All in all, it was a fun experience, and one that I would highly recommend for all the reasons I’ve pointed out. Check Laurel Hill cemetery's website for upcoming events and other workshops.