11-25-18. A friend had told me about this house which was currently vacant. He told me who used to live in it, but said nobody has lived in it for years. I drove over to the house which isn’t very far away. It is along a lightly used country road bordering hay fields. When I first went by, there was a wire fence and locked gate surrounding the house. I took some daytime photos which I turned into black and white and was pleased with them. However the fencing limited the composition so thought nothing more of it.
Fast forward about a year or so. Nothing better to do one day, I was out for a drive looking for something to photograph. I happened to drive by this house again and noticed all the fencing was gone. Looking at it closer, apparently someone had bought the house and was starting to renovate it. Without the fencing, my camera angles were not restricted any longer and I started to wonder if I could improve on my previous photos.
The more I thought about it, I felt it would be a great candidate for a night photo with some light painting. So I convinced my trusted assistant, Francis Valentine, to come and help out. It was late November, so the weather it was a little cold. We left the house and on the way we ran into fog. Naturally not very excited about the photo possibilities we continued to see how bad it was at the house. Once there, we found the fog was drifting in and out. If that wasn’t bad enough, I didn’t even think about what phase the moon was in. Sure enough when the fog lifted enough – there was the moon. Classic example of not doing any pre-planning. But we decided to give it a try anyway.
So I set up the camera at an angle and composition I thought would work. Then I started to play with trying to light the house up – mostly with a flashlight. Because of the size of the house and the area being lit up by the moon, I decided to try several shorter exposures and try to blend them later in Lightroom/Photoshop. I felt the amount of time it would take to try and do all of the house in one shot, then things would be over exposed by the moon light. This worked out great! I would concentrate on one wall at a time until we got the lighting just right – then move on to another wall. As for the moon, how it lit up the fog was an unexpected surprise. This was an element I had not expected but was very pleased with.
A big surprise to me, we completed the whole shoot in a fraction of the time then what we had done on previous shoots when we did it all in one shot. The hard part was envisioning if all the separate photos would look good once they were merged together. Trying to make sure one photo wasn’t brighter or darker than the others before we decided to break down and leave. I think at the end, looking at photo after photo, we just decided that either it will be okay or not – and left.
The next challenge was putting the photos together. I had read about how to do this but I had never done this before. So after numerous trials and errors and do it all over again, I figured out how to accomplish this. I could not have been happier with the results. If I have a similar night project in the future, I’m sure this is how I will do it. Hope you also like the results.
Published by dhasemeyer
Northern California based photographer, sharing my journey through a lens.
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