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The Outdoor Photography Experience

Lesson 18 of 29

Basic Night Shooting Q & A

Chris Burkard

The Outdoor Photography Experience

Chris Burkard

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Lesson Info

18. Basic Night Shooting Q & A

Lesson Info

Basic Night Shooting Q & A

let's get some of these questions from the interweb yeah we have lots of them oh great you do you do you do any light painting for your in camera shots toe light in the foreground of certain features if so what kind of light to the jews totally let's let's it's funny cause I'm going to start referencing instagram a lot today because it's honestly one of the easiest ways for me to show you guys imagery um and just just what I've what I've done but I know there's a photograph on here that I paint I like painted not too long ago actually that I would love to to show you um so remember being havasupai and I shot there right here this one let's let's check out this image yeah when you look at this image right here this was kind of the milky way there was lightning in the background right um I was shooting with the seven s and a pretty wide angle lens I think it was like this this guy he like this sixteen millimeter and what what I was realizing is when the exposure when I was shooting expos...

ure I was barely getting anything it was just too dark I mean a canyon right all I was getting was kind of some of this light from the waterfall and when I started using the camera I'm gonna I'm gonna paint this up with the light and typically when I'm light painting I'm looking for a couple of things I'm looking for this is there's like a whole world to this ok that is people are specialists that but um I usually will bring I'm an extra head lamp with me like a bright headlamp like a petzel nay or something like that or something that I could really like light with and has quite a bit of light being emitted but the key is you never want your light to be too cool or two warm so it's good to test it to know how it looks right you don't just want something that's like pushing out a bunch of blue weird light okay also in your light painting you don't want to make sure you're doing it far from the camera does that make sense imagine this waterfall think about all the mist it's putting off what's happening to the miss that's going in the air what's happening in the air when your light painting you're seeing that mist in the shot so if that's my camera right there I want to be like twenty feet away light painting or have a friend or whatever so that I'm not standing right next to this thing tryingto light paint right here because I'm gonna be throwing a bunch of flares and stuff into the camera super important um so I started off by doing this I had a headlamp actually had two and I was kind of doing this thing it's always important if you're doing it you never just aim it at a subject and just go like this you want to think of it like you're in a dark room and you are for anybody that has done this for burning and dodging a print maybe this is before some of your time but I remember doing this of it but bernie and dodging a print you're always kind of doing it slowly subtly so you're kind of blurring the lines a little bit so nothing feels too hot or too specific right and what I started because I started a light paint this and I was just painting everything and I was like this looks heinous look terrible and when I realized was that I was just giving it too much direct light now behind me what was behind me and was also way too blue it was making the red rocks of this canyon look weird but what I realized was behind me there was a huge cathedral wall big like canyon wall right so I was like well what if I could just bounce the light off of this and now on admitting the same color as is on this wall onto the waterfall that's exactly why did I just turned around shot my exposure and I went like this and lit up the wall and this whole wall started a light up this surface really evenly it was really a unique thing now you guys probably seen a lot of amazing large format landscape photographers and seen some amazing long exposures and stuff pictures in the desert and all these places what are some of the best things you can use to light services with well fire the color of fire right not necessarily flame lighting something on fire please do not do that but just the color you know that the source that is um amazing source of light its natural looks really vibrant right that's kind of what you're looking for you're looking to admit natural color is onto a surface you want the goal with light painting is to kind of make it seem and feel like it is natural like it was lit by a moon or a son or something something along those lines now when do I like paint usually I'm typically reserving it for a time um like this for example I'm usually looking to do it with a time when I have a surface that is you know there's a aspect of it that's really nice and lit up but but there's something that's missing now this waterfall was the only and these cliff bands with the only part here that I like painted but there's you can't see a separation of that there's no bit of this that looks really abstract or whatever right and that was kind of ah that was kind of a crazy you know crazy instance where this was just almost pitch black but I knew I needed to light this up so this is about a twenty second exposure and I had somebody on the cliff with a light painting it down now um if you're doing some serious like painting I recommend getting some flashlights phoenix or something like that makes amazing flashlights they're small and they put out like four hundred lumens or so there's also some other amazing brands that make awesome flashlights the great thing about flashlights is you can easily just get a little warm gel like a little sheet you know and just throw it over the front orgies I've shot through t shirts before I've shot I mean like one of things I really like to talk to guys about guys like here is the perfect way to do something and he was just practical application and I mean I've I've put my song put a light through my sunglasses because your sunglasses usually tinted right so anything you can do to make it experiment this is what makes it fun right even putting that light source through like a jesus a plastic bag is going is going to you know make it more even write or filling up something with air and then shining your light into that to give it more of a more of a you know circular effect so hope that answers your question next one in your experience how long oven exposure can use before you start getting star trails depends on the lens for sure but like but like I said if you're shooting a wide angle lens really wide sixteen millimeter eighteen millimeter official usually thirty seconds is rule of thumb um as the lens gets longer twenty millimeter twenty four about fifteen to twenty seconds probably on the shorter side thirty five millimeter about fifteen to ten seconds that's kind of the rule of thumb for that I s o doesn't really change that it's really just how fast the stars are moving in the stars or always remain the same speed so um how far we've talked a little bit about gps sensors versus full frame how big can you blow up in a p s you know what that question it's always hard when I hear that question all the time and it doesn't make you mad at all but I'm just like you can blow up anything as large as you want I've seen gopro photos on billboards um if it's in the right hands of the right people you can get a photograph blown up massive I mean I apple had an iphone campaign they just did I'm sure you guys have seen it shot an iphone six right if you've had driven in the city or have been on the freeway you have seen one of their billboards right those air literally iphone photos that have been blown up to billboards now that's been done by a process of interpellation which means that they've taken the image and they've made it larger by incrementally making it larger we'll cut touch on that today a little bit but in the right hands with the right professionals you can make an image below up as large as you want I've had a psc sensor images you know plastered on billboards I've had them in my gallery is massive prince so my favorite photographs ever in fact have been shot with a p a see what we can I can uh go over a couple of them let's see here there's one of the girl long boarding that I've had printed for tons and tons of covers as well and printed up massive and this was all shot with a psc as well so I'm I'm a huge fan of that sensor format um it just depends on what it's for you know in a lot of ways I like the way it looks more I prefer it sometimes more um this was shot on a psc as well so basically this camera ok or the model previous right s oh yeah you can you there I don't think there's any limitations I think that typically where you see limitations is is is in the skill of the person editing the file right so I don't feel comfortable editing in a psc file over over thirty by forty like myself I would probably send it off to get done but it doesn't mean it can't be done just gonna pay for it which is a bummer you know probably cheaper teo do a creative life class on inter plating photos awesomely I don't know that that should be of course you know yeah awesome all right does chris ever use focus peking to help with focus I do a little bit but it's not my favorite setting um I feel like the time folks speaking is basically where you get like little lines and stuff outlines and senators will get like striations on the image to see like what's in focus what's not that looks really good for a lot of third party like if you wanted to put like a lenses on an adaptor on your camera that's really nice because you can use a focus peking setting even on these to find your focus right which is great rather than just tryingto eyeball it um now I'm not a huge fan on lee because it annoys me hate seeing the focus speaking in my shot you know I feel like in a way I just kind of want to focus on what the four corners of my frame are and what I'm putting in there rather than like which little aspect of that is in focus um but it is an amazing setting and I think it depends on the lenses you're using if you're shooting a lot with older glass and stuff that is such a helpful setting I don't intend to use it at night too much because it can kind of get in the way a little bit and I've kind of also developed my style of focusing and it works really well I kind of uh feel like everybody should do that you know whether your style is like I'm gonna put it on auto focus and shining into car headlights and then focus it and then put it to manual input never abandon on that what works to uh it just depends on kind of what your preferences for doing that awesome talked a little bit about this yesterday what tripods to use I use really write stuff tripods sadly my bags are still lost somewhere in minneapolis and I don't have my trifled with me today but I I love lightweight small tripods I'm also a fan of bald heads and what I've been using for last couple of years is some of the really write stuff ball heads there's there's like a bunch of different variations but one of the lightest ones they make I also there's a there's two different types of all had usually there's one where you have a clamp that opens it up like a little a little uh like kind of see shape and there's one that tightens the tightening one takes longer to do but I always find that I have less issues with it because with a little c clamp opening thing I've had that catch on stuff and a lot of different models to for different traffickers I had it catch on stuff in my camera fall off and things like that so I kind of like that I usually I'm using that the smaller lighter weight ones that have a couple more leg sections even though they take longer to set up you're always glad you have it with you because they don't weigh down your backpack and I find that when going into uh you know backpacking or ultra light you know scenario shooting up in the sierras or somewhere like that jesus you know on mount roy for example you know or like this for example I didn't want to shove a big tripod into my kayak but luckily I brought a small one um now I also a fan of the job ease a little jobe things is always great throwing your bag right can't stress enough how many times I've been like a big glacier point you know and there's a railing there on my grave just going through my camera here I'm gonna throw in extra camera on that thing and just shove it on their shooter long exposure right there great they work awesome always kind of come in handy I find all the time I'm finding purchase or places where I could just set my tripod up right in the right spot I don't need a big system uh those also worked great if you want to shoot a ground level shot we're using the stability oftentimes tripods it's really tough for them to act see it all the way flat so using one of those really helpful to uh usually at those two they're kind of the go to for me carbon fiber almost always um I thrashed my tripods so it's kind of a bummer because getting them assault and water and all that stuff it's nice to have one that you can need kind of know how to take apart clean put it back together too because when you're spending a lot of money on him you don't want to get cracked and broken totally what app to use on your fund it as a remote release you know well the sony cameras have an app built in haven't app that like you khun you can get on your phone made for the cameras but I know that there is a bunch of aps for almost like every camera that can work as an infrared sensor some of them to I think they have a little third party component we're like it clicks into your camera like it goes into your um audio poor and it actually is a little red infrared sensor um but uh yeah you know I haven't used mine and so long that I kind of from forgetting but I know that one of the beauties of having a nap system on the camera and abstain here is that I will uh I will be able to really control all the settings much like a gopro there's a when you have a camera that's wifi enabled usually you can you can operate all the function in your camera through that through a wifi system on your phone which I love to use a lot not that I'm like viewing what I'm should necessarily but you can change exposures you can stand off you could do this and that and you know I was thinking about it but if you guys are interested to I could talk to about transferring from your camera to your phone via wifi and how that process works might talk about that a bit in social media because it's something I do a lot most the time almost always when I'm posting these imagery this imagery like let's see here um almost all of this stuff this this this this all of these photos are all uploaded to my phone via wifi and posted from my phone never going to a computer ever especially I'm on a trip I love the idea of just being free from the computer it's amazing now it is how power a little tool like this is you know you cancer ninety percent or emails and get everything done I'm transferring images they're my images are just staying safely on a hard drive but when I want to edit stuff you know after I'm done shooting I'll just upload a couple under there and add it up yeah uh you said there's a lot of acts I connect from the sony to their iphone uh are there wraps that you can use to use your iphone as like a live view thing like in cases like these there might there might be I'm not one hundred percent sure on that I just I haven't used that app a lot but I know that there's some I mean especially with any camera that has like a wildfire nfc enabled there's a lot of stuff for you connect camera phone and do a ton of things I mean the gopro has a live view app as well so it only makes sense that most these would too I just think we need to spend more time researching it you know I don't find a need to use it as much because I'm like I'm gonna give you this in live you unless you're doing something where you're mounting one of these two like the front of a car or your mounting it to the front of a kayak or you're doing a p o v thing that's that's kind of when this comes in handy if it's a little bit away from you and you you're like say you're you're filming a friend driving a car you want to photograph somebody on the hood you're gonna mount this to the front or to the top and you're gonna be able to push record or play on a phone that's when they come in handy a lot I find it so yeah cool how do you take you have a lot of photos with subject in um how do you get those sharp without subject I think it's just a matter of communication um just saying you know these these photos were like hold still one more time yeah I'm sorry uh uh you know a photo like this for example you know we uh way went there uh this is for the class we went uh this is for this creative live class and what we shot in your seventy this is what I was shooting that night um now it's important to consider you know um the fact that you know this is not something that just happened right I didn't just show up and there is just some guy standing there super still have been amazing and I feel I've been super scared but but no this is something that we that I concept it out and I thought I thought of and I shot a couple photos a glacier point with no people and I got some really cool ones and then I walked over here to the diving board and I was like this is a really awesome perspective where the milky way's on one side half domes in the middle and I have this perfect little perch on the right you know and so I asked my friend if he was comfortable to go up there and I was like hey stay still gonna shoot a thirty second exposure starting now and he's still my care relax and I checked the photo like this is awesome suit again do it again do it again one more time one more time right so that's what it took to grab that moment we shot like twenty frames of it you know and I think it's always a matter of communication right I never wanted like snafu somebody into being like hey we're nearly seventeen to make you stand on something super scary and it's not going to be fun and um you kind of break down before and have got this idea here's the shot or do you want to do this you know and just communicating with people that you're working with you know usually luckily I'm working with either friends of mine or assistance or people who I know are comfortable in these situations you know I'd never be like hey you know I need you to go and climb on something you've never climbed before go kayak somewhere never kayak so when you're using people as a model or you know because that's essentially what they are um it's important make sure that you know they're comfortable in that situation you know you have questions I was just saying like how do you communicate like it looks like you're pretty pretty far away I'm not that far just a whiting the love I mean usually vocally it is the best thing if you if you there far away like a lot of times I'm shooting a cocker on I'm up on a um michelle you this one for example um so this one right here like this in iceland it's amazing ah it's amazing uh canyon that you can you can kayak down um and uh what I did here was like I threw him a walkie um not through him milwaukee I gave him a while hey you know uh I gave milwaukee I just I always bring him on trips because mainly because I don't want to be calling people forget lost you have two cars is like a walk is like the best thing you have right small waterproof walkie talkies super invaluable you must get them but in this case I gave milwaukee and I was like hey I'm gonna shoot some photos you know why you kayak down like if I need you to do something again I'm just gonna let you know so I just walk you down to him what I wanted to do now if the walkie doesn't work I usually set up some kinds of some kind of like hand signals where if I need him to do it again I'm gonna go do it again if I need him to back up I'll go you know backup I need him to go to the left or to the right I'll let him know if I need him to hold or like or you know something that will just figure out something you know so that he knows all the times too trying to be super sensitive to the fact that you're in a public area and that you're you're shooting photographs that ideally um you know you don't want to interfere with other people's experience of nature right so I'm not trying to be there to you know ruin everybody else's experience would be like hey do this bull of all you don't be yelling and stuff which is kind of nice to be incognito and low key and make sure that you know I know this wasn't something we permanent just something where they're shooting for fun so it's always great to kind of have that that communication on dh figure out ways to do that on the low key you know a cz melas as khun b so I find walkies or great hand signals are great you know just letting though ahead of time you know they don't know that you're gonna want to communicate with them and their pride not gonna be looking at you so and the questions from the guys yeah uh when it comes to like lighting up tents how do you do that is that lanterns or is that head lamps or that's a good question uh lets find a tenant shot really quick here's one um so this was couple years ago in uh in iceland um the top of this little four by four track and basically uh this shot was something where um way had basically camped up here that night and you know this is kind of before the right after the sun went down and try and find another one to a bit darker one but I knew that you know what I want to do is get some illumination from from that tent and so uh typically what you're doing it's just a trial and error process right of getting the right amount of illumination out of that and usually what I'm doing is you don't want the tent too hot right that's that's really the key come on trying to find a another lit up tent shot for you guys to scope out but that is kind of that the hardest part is he having that even sort of even exposure right and so usually what I'm doing is something where if I'm shooting something for a commercial client whatever obviously like I need to be able to show their logo's air this in that um and like this this photograph is on the border of being too hot right the tents too bright to yellow so in a case like that I first start with my exposure of the landscape what is my perfect exposure like two seconds at a hundred or something that or ten seconds or whatever came once I do that then I would try to find or figure out how much light do I need it putting the tent so I'll start from the inside usually with someone said with usually with so many not inside there just like leaving a lantern or a head light or a flashlight now if that light sources just pointing directly at me I'm only going to see a hot spot so typically if here is your tent um so I'm trying to find kind of a really good example here but I'm not seeing it yet so if here is my tent um and I want to have uh you know that the light evenly displaced I'm usually going to be aiming that light down hanging from the top okay because it's going to be like this or opposite on the bottom pointing up so it's going to be fighting like this or um you know here's an example of right left or some like this where I wanted to kind of show the silhouette of the person there so I have the light on the other side of them looking this way another way to do that is you might have somebody stand down this hill ten feet away and shine a light through the tent and that'll give it a much more even exposure another thought is to have somebody inside the tent with a headlight lighting it up kind of like this painting inside the tent to give it a really even exposure now let me find this one I love that we're just going back forth my website instagram and and back and forth it's like the best wayto show images like s so we find this one where the tents kind of barely lit up because it a lot of times I find the best ten shots are not the ones where it's like pure pitch black and this bright tent right you're kind of trying to get this even exposure so this is rife with someone down and what I have is he doesn't have a headlight on there's a light there's two lights behind him one pointing this way and one pointing it is back and I just wanted to give the tent a little bit a little bit of light there right tiny bit so it was kind of illuminated you can see from this image down here that it has like that green kind of structure to it it looks really vibrant nice but it's not overkill it's not overdone and ultimately I'm tryingto light it in a way that would look like it looks like how it did when we shot it you know but typically I just need to bring a little more light into it or a little more fill it up a bit more because that is actually where we can't so um so that's kind of the way there's a lot of different ways and I always find it's just trial and error purely trying to get you know a bunch of a bunch of different scenarios on how you know teach their own to every every way you do it could be kind of a different kind of a different uh a different way so um more questions on that lining things up at night this is a great one too so this is like the perfect exposure I would I would imagine this one right here where the sun had just gone down the stars were out you know the nice thing is like if I'm shooting this was like some shots we took for nemo there brandon over a lot you know I'm I'm it's cool because I have all this stuff lit up right but this is just being emitted from the tent so right now I've got a light source that is on the other side of the tents not inside what that's doing since it's on the other side it's using the reflection of the ten toe like this right and it's shooting through the tent so it's being more evenly dispersed because it's shooting through that material if the light was sitting right in here would be a much hotter spot on him I've also got his headlamp he's basically staking it down and it's exposure was probably like one second two seconds you know so this is to me is like kind of where like I feel like all those things come together the ten split up it doesn't feel too hot the grady int of exposure here is not to contrast it it's not like this you know you know we talked about that warm and cool it's not too much it's not unlike the you know overkill so that's kind of where I feel like it it's more even and you gotta find that time at night when it feels more even you know it's just a matter of shooting for a while your kid just had left I mean I have a headlamp for me my assistants usually got a headline for my friend then I guess it's just headlights you don'thave usually bring headlamps I'm not if I'm usually have a lantern in my car mainly just for like our camping but in this case I didn't bring it I just brought a headlamp and I actually brought a couple of you know like if I'm bringing a headlamp somewhere usually I'm using ah usually I'm using like a you know a couple of pretzels or something that or there's a couple different variations but there's one that I have my bags normally that's am really it's a big one with a battery pack on the outside it has emits a lot of light right and I like the lights you can have a wide beam or or a tight beam so you can have the variation or how you'd want to put it in there because usually we'll try both so yeah usually I'll bring three or four you know I'm usually end up bringing extras because I know people and what they're gonna forget them tio

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Shooting outdoor photography is a powerful way to commune with nature and experience the fullness of life. Learn how to train your eye on incredible shots and convey the energy of the outdoors in The Outdoor Photography Experience with Chris Burkard.

Chris’s beloved images of life on the world’s coasts are alive with action and emotion. In this class, he’ll share the tools and techniques he uses to capture the photographs he sells to magazines, brands, collectors, and publishers.

You’ll learn about his shooting style and the gear he brings on his global adventures. He’ll also talk about the business of photography and share tips on marketing and selling your work.

If you want insights on how to create rich, dramatic images that let you enjoy more time outdoors, don’t miss your chance to learn from Chris Burkard in The Outdoor Photography Experience.

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I've been staying up all night to watch the live broadcast. As somebody else here mentioned (latsok), it's emphasizes on the non-technical aspects (emotion, engagement, colour and composition) rather than the technical stuff like shutter speeds, iso and f-stop. Although I can use some help in both, the technical aspects are not only camera specific but fairly objective as well. The non-technical aspects however are something much harder to grasp. Getting help in this by no-one less than Chris Burkard is just amazing. I bought this class so I can re-watch certain parts of the broadcast again whenever I need it. But also to show my appreciation for Chris Burkard and Creative Live for providing this great online course!

Matt Redfern

This class was packed full of amazing knowledge. I really enjoyed the topics covered and have found it super helpful for my work. I have had so many takeaways ranging anywhere from how to put myself out there, finding my style that stands out, practical applications, etc. I would highly recommend this class to everyone interested in photography! Big thanks to Chris and CreativeLive for putting this together.


This was a phenomenal class. I highly recommend it to anyone. Chris is not only a sensational photographer, he is a wonderful teacher. He provides such detailed information and freely gives same to his students. He is really really available and eager to answer questions and so easy to understand. I learned so much and I was thrilled. I am very very grateful I found this particular class.