"Many are Cold, but Few are Frozen" - Boston Night Photography Workshop

Posted by Charles Mazel

As the sun settled below the horizon on Saturday, March 17, an intrepid band of BCA Photo Group members met at the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston for a Night Photography workshop under the guidance of Jurgen Lobert (leyetscapes.com). Jurgen presented at our January 23 Technical Series meeting and enough of us were interested in learning more that we scheduled a session with him.

When it is early February and you are thinking about a date for a night outing it seems reasonable to pick something at the onset of spring. But a mid-March evening can be hit or miss, and this case it was a hit in terms of a clear night, but a solid miss because it was COLD with a wind off the ocean to bring the chill down further.

How cold was it? - It was so cold that I was seeing little green people all night. Well, maybe they weren’t so little, and maybe it happened to be St. Patrick’s Day, but they were definitely green, and I’m pretty sure they were mostly millennials. And some of them weren't walking too steadily.

How cold was it? - Jurgen recommends using the Kelvin White Balance temperature setting to account for different types of artificial lighting. But even if the scene called for a lowly 3800K to bring up the blue, I cranked mine all the way up to 10,000K, with the flawless reasoning that a hotter setting would warm up the LCD display and I might use it to unfreeze my fingers.

(OK, I know you experienced winter outdoor shooters are scoffing by now, but we were mostly relative newbies to this. It just proved the old saying that there is no bad weather, just photographers who haven’t spent enough money on specialized mittens and hand/foot warmers.)

Jurgen gave an opening briefing to review settings and procedures for long exposure, white balancing, capturing car light streaks, and the like. During the session he roved from person to person to look at results and make suggestions. We started next to the Carousel between Faneuil Hall and Christopher Columbus Park and worked our way down to the dramatic colors of the Boston Harbor Hotel at Rowes Wharf.

Frozen fingers made it hard to adjust camera settings, and not all of us made it through the full 3-hour session. I know that I took a good while to warm back up and treated myself to some hot chocolate when I got home. But we all agreed that it was a worthwhile and fun outing and that we learned a lot. We will likely put together our own meetup to do more night photography – when the weather warms up.

Below are pics of some of the group setting up by the Carousel and then spread out a little further south, and then a gallery of images from the participants. Hover over the image to see the name of the photographer.