Photos in the Dark at Northern Spark

Photos in the Dark at Northern Spark

Taking photos at night is really hard. Taking photos at night without a flash is even harder. That's what I decided to do the night of Northern Spark, a once-a-year, sun up to sun down event in Minneapolis, with pockets of interactive art projects happening all over the city. If there's anything I learned about trying to photograph things in the dark, it's that light is REALLY IMPORTANT! This seems obvious, but some of the photographs I tried to take would have been way better if I had been considering my source of lighting. I was more concerned about whether my exposure was right, but that's irrelevant if you're trying to take a photo from a bad angle in the dark.

Lesson learned.

Of all the photos I took, this first image was worth the effort. Even though I'm probably impartial because these smiling people are our friends, I think this photo will forever be in my history of favorites.

So much genuine smiliness and good vibes happening. Thanks to super dramatic spot lighting in the Mill City market area, I nailed this shot. I failed like seven times before I got it right though - see the proof:

I not only had to fiddle with the camera settings, but I had to move. Move, move, move, close, nope, move, YES! Got it. For real, my last shot was the winner, and it seriously sticks out as a great photo compared to these others. Trial and error, and moving into the shot. It's important for me to remember that good photos aren't accidents - they're the result of process.

That's one of the hardest things for me - moving in to get the photo I want. I am much more comfortable blending in, chancing a picture when no one can catch me at it. I see another photographer come along carrying way more equipment than I am and immediately feel like the unjustified hobbyist - but I know it isn't true, or right, or even something that matters. Learning more all the time.

So, photos in the dark at Northern Spark. There's grain in the photos, but it's cool.

I think we'll do this again next year. :)

The thing that was so great about Northern Spark was how the night felt. It was so chill. The art projects are manned from sunrise to sunset for just one night a year, and thousands of people were out wandering the streets this past Saturday night to take part in the fun. I know this is relative, but there wasn't any funny business -- no rowdy partying, no drunk girls, no slinky guys, no crime, no trashing of any of the art projects, no activity in the streets that made me feel unsafe. Everyone was so leisurely in their exploring. I think my favorite part about Northern Spark is that for a single night, all of downtown is a single community interested in spending time with one another, exploring new ideas, and enjoying an urban night under the stars. There's nothing quite like it.

People in Summer

People in Summer

Firing Up the 'Toon

Firing Up the 'Toon

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