More Night Photography

There’s something about the beginning of every year…. always such an incredibly busy time for me. As responsibilities pile up, one after another in these early months of the year, I find myself shooting less and less. Seems like before, I was able to head out at random times just for the sake of picture making. Now it seems like I have to consciously make time for it, often just squeezing it between other arrangements…

…which is why lately, a lot of my shooting has to take place at night. City scenes lit only by oddly-colored, man-made lighting. Can’t carry a tripod around. These shots are made on the go, between errands, or before and after dinner arrangements, as was the case on this particular evening.

When I shoot at night, I like to have some ambient from the sky mixing with the city light. That’s usually what gives you those beautiful “blue hour” photographs. Unfortunately, the sun sets long before I get off work in the winter, so black sky it is. A super fast lens is therefore a must!

All of the shots in this post were taken hand-held  ISO1600. You don’t necessarily need a full frame sensor to get nice results at that sensitivity. You just need some steady hand-holding technique, coupled with a wide aperture lens. Besides giving you greater control over depth of field, you get more light hitting the sensor, meaning faster, hand-holdable shutter speeds, even in near darkness.

Speaking of hand-holding shots, the wider the focal length, the lower the shutter speed you can typically hand hold. Which makes a lens like the 24mm f1.4 ideal for night shooting.

Above, you can see the storefront of a small Puerto Rican restaurant I ate at with some friends and family over the weekend. The food was amazing. Didn’t even bother photographing it because I was too busy eating!

(oh no! distortion-revealing brick walls!)

The interior was super small and cramped. A sign on the wall read “maximum occupancy 40.” Yeah, maybe standing room only! But it was cozy and inviting inside. This tiny store is sandwiched between a huge bustling restaurant and an old bar:

Outside, you certainly don’t forget you’re in a city. But what would Haight Street be without its tagged up garbage cans?

After dinner we walked off all the tostones, pernil, rice, beans, and sangria, taking pictures along the way. Here’s Bridget getting her iphoneography on. Yes, that’s her iphone, not an old mix tape. Cool case, huh?


Nikon D700 | Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G

9 thoughts on “More Night Photography

  1. Wow, Jonathan! I love all the shots here. Your night photos are always wonderful and have some warmth, which is why I love them.
    I love the shots of the Puerto Rican restaurant. It seems sooo nice a place in your pics. Oh, and the one of the classical car is superb!

    1. Thanks Akane! Appreciate the comment. The restaurant was very cozy and the food was great! One of the things I love about San Francisco is that there are so many different kinds of restaurants.

  2. Lol at the distortion-revealing brick walls. Oh man, I would love to go back there for dinner tonight!! Great shots as always. None of my iPhone shots turned out well. Haha

  3. Very nice night photography – each has a unique mood to it. I love using ambient lighting over flash. Your photos have so little noise, even at high ISO! My fav one is the that brick wall with pictures – seems like a cool place.

    1. Thanks Karleen! I must say, the D700 really does rock for hi ISO shooting. At ISO1600, it’s not even breaking a sweat. Rarely do I have to shoot higher than that… with the right lens of course =)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s