After being on the road for three months now, a deep passion for night photography has been ignited in me.
The snow crunches rhythmically under my skis. With each step, the illumination of the parking lot dims and darkness wraps itself around me like a cloak. The freshly fallen snow glistens in the light of my headlamp and a pleasant calm sets in. Curve after curve I follow the path when suddenly and unexpectedly the Rhine Valley comes into view and a fantastic panorama opens up to Strasbourg and far into France. These moments are what make nighttime photo tours such an intense and unforgettable experience.
When I started photographing regularly again at the end of last year, I had neither a specific plan nor an exact idea of where this would take me. I experimented a lot and let myself drift without already going in a certain direction. Landscape, animals, nature, people – I photographed everything that came in front of my lens and trusted that the focus on my favorite subject gradually adjusted during this continuous creative process. Unconsciously, as with a compass that the magnetic field aligns to the north, a clear direction gradually emerged in my photographic excursions. Over time, I found myself more and more often wasting the few and precious windows of time I had left to take pictures during the day. Instead, I already mentally planned nightly photo trips and envisioned potentially interesting locations. I was excited and looking forward to the sun going down so I could go out and shoot. I had found my subject.
For me there is a special magic in night photography. The darkness and silence, the absence of people, the little light that remains - all this intensifies your concentration on the photographic task. It's as if all your sensory perceptions are redirected and focused in your field of vision. Each subject takes on a more dramatic character, the lighting makes things stand out or disappear, and a long exposure time brings out details that you would never have seen with the naked eye.
"It's as if all your sensory perceptions are redirected and focused in your field of vision"
What really inspires me are the colors of the lights. Vincent van Gogh once said, "I often think that the night is more vivid and colorful than the day" - I couldn't agree more. The ambience is never the same, sometimes cold and warm colors clash harshly, sometimes the scene is shrouded in a soft, soothing light, other times objects are illuminated by glaring neon lights. The conditions are constantly changing and present you with a new challenge each time to capture the spirit of the scene. And there's much more to night photography than the mere act of taking pictures. The one aspect I particularly love is certainly being alone with yourself and your surroundings. This becomes apparent when you're out and about in the city very late at night (or as now under corona lockdown restrictions), but especially when you're out in nature. A hike or ski tour with a photo backpack gives you a whole new perspective on the world and yourself. Reflecting on yourself in the context of this mysterious and dark nature has certainly been one of the most memorable experiences I've had in recent months. This conscious interaction with an uncontrollable and unknown nature has helped me to learn certain things about myself that I would not have dealt with otherwise – and that, in the end, led to personal growth.
As of today I can’t really tell how long my enthusiasm for this form of photography will last, but I will certainly stick with it until my inner compass points me in a new direction ;)
Mummelsee at night I | Sony a6400 | Samyang 12mm | f4 | 10sec | ISO400
Mummelsee at night II | Sony a6400 | Samyang 12mm | f4 | 20sec | ISO400