Night time is the right time to get your camera out (in this age of the DSLR), and on this warm summer night, our class was ready and raring to go as the sun went down!
However, before we left for our adventure, as is our custom, around 7:30pm we did an informative presentation and orientation at the Aperture Academy Gallery. We start with a PowerPoint slide show that introduces our class to the concepts that we will be working on and then also spend a short time afterwards getting to know one another. During this time we find out what kind of equipment and experience each participant brings to the evening and what they hope to gain from the class… which usually has something to do with taking pictures at night (of course!).
With the sun going down sooner at this time of year as we make our way towards Fall, we head out into the post sunset dusk hour and travel south out of San Jose towards Almaden Valley where the night sky is darker and more stars will be a bit brighter. Once on top of the hill we set up our tripods and began playing in Manual mode with our settings in order to catch the stars as the “pinpoints of light” that they appear to be to the naked eye. There are a couple of tricks to getting this that we gladly share with the students. It’s always fantastic to hear the first “oohs and ahhs” of the night as the first images appear on the back screens of each participant’s camera.
On this particular night the Milky Way was showing up gloriously in the sky above! There is a whole separate skill set at getting it to show up well in a photo and we started teaching those techniques to best capture that portion of our spiral galaxy. A few meteorites streaked above us through the night sky as we started increasing our exposure times to create star trails. We were all having a blast!
Lastly, as the clouds moved in, and to end the night on a fun note, Matt took out his Droid and turned on a colored lights app. After everyone was set up he proceeded to swing it in spirals as everyone shot towards his direction in bulb mode. At the end everyone had their own abstract light painting image and a bunch of ideas in their heads of how they will do their own in the future. It seemed that our students at the end of this class were laughing and happy with a whole new skill set as we returned to the Aperture Academy Gallery.
Ellie, Matt and the rest of the team at Aperture Academy!
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.