Photography ideas for long, dark winter nights
At the end of the year, when the nights are long and the days dark and tired, photography may become less interesting. Some may even lose inspiration during these days. I have some ideas to get you through the dark winter months in the Northern Hemisphere.
During the winter solstice, the nights are long. Photographing can be a bit more difficult, unless you are doing night photography. During these months, it’s easy to lose inspiration. You don’t have to spend all of your time photographing, of course. After all, there are other things to do as well. Nonetheless, if you enjoy continuing to photograph during this time, it can be difficult to find something interesting to photograph.
This is why I have put together some ideas that can give ideas or provide inspiration. It might not be your genre of photography, but trying these things out can help you understand some aspects of photography as well. In a way, it can improve your photography, or it can just bring you a lot of fun. It is also important.
Water droplets falling
You are probably familiar with photos of water droplets falling on a water surface. These can get very artistic and form amazing shapes when colliding with other water droplets. If you’ve never tried this sort of thing before, this can be a lot of fun to do.
There are all kinds of equipment you can buy that make it relatively easy to do, but a simple tap of dripping water can get you started. But you will need a flash, preferably off-camera. I have to admit that hitting the shutter button at the right time can be a difficult thing to do when done manually. But when the nights are long, there is plenty of time available for training.
It can also be educational, learning how to set up flash and combine it with ambient exposure. Use colored gels or colored liquids and experiment with different setups. It doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as it’s fun to do.
Fruits and other foods
You probably have a lot of food around the holiday season, and maybe some fruit too. Why not use it as a subject for your photograph before consuming it? It can be as simple as a simple but nice placement on a plate, or you can do some other setup. Dropping nuggets or a sliced apple can also be difficult. You can use the short duration of the flash to freeze motion, or you can learn how light and shadow work in a multiple flash setup.
Objects inside your house with macro
You can also use other objects in your home to photograph. Water droplets on a feather are a great subject if you have a macro lens. Play with the depth of field and use all kinds of lights to make it interesting. Christmas lights can also work.
Normal household items can be photographed in interesting ways. Kitchen cutlery, like forks, offer great possibilities for casting shadows. Thinking can be a great challenge. You can learn a lot by shooting shiny objects like spoons and knives. Find out how to get rid of your own reflection or use highlights to your advantage. I don’t have any examples yet, so this is the subject to experiment with this winter.
Play with fire
Who doesn’t like to play with fire? You can photograph a lighter, but fire matches are a lot more fun. Capturing the igniting flame can be a sport, and its nascent form can hold some nice surprises. Be creative and try to capture more than the flame itself. Maybe a few bokeh rings from the Christmas lights on the back?
If you dare to go outside, it can be fun to shoot some scorching steel wool. Place fine steel wool in a whisk, turn it on, and swing it on the end of a rope. It can give amazing results. It’s something you can’t do on your own, but there is always someone else around who also enjoys playing with fire. Your kids will love it.
Just be careful when spinning hot steel wool. Stay away from flammable objects, like trees and plants, and even your clothes can be flammable. If you want to be safe, keep a fire extinguisher handy.
Find a new look for your photo
As photographers we always try to get the most out of our photos. For this, we use all kinds of post-processing. Maybe the dark winter nights can be used to try new things. Maybe you find a nice look for your photo or for a series of photos.
Especially when you don’t have a signature look, this can be a good thing to experiment with. But don’t try too hard, just play around with different looks and come back to it a few days later. Only then can we get an objective opinion on the things you have tried. Most of them probably aren’t worth it, but that’s okay. You’ve probably learned a lot about post-processing along the way.
Learn fun photo manipulations
Another way to learn post processing is through fun photo manipulations. Mix different photos into surreal and fun compilations. Make it as real as possible, with shadows and the right direction of light. You will learn a lot just by playing with it.
Maybe you can also use different items that you can find on the internet. Who knows, maybe you have a good idea for a series of manipulated photos at the end. Remember, it’s just for fun.
Make a photo album
You’ve probably taken a lot of photos in the past few months. Why not make a photo album with the best pictures of the year? This way, you can take your work with you when visiting your friends and family. It’s a lot more fun to watch in a photo album than it is on a digital screen. And most importantly, your work will be more appreciated this way.
If you don’t like a real photo album, it is also possible to make a digital slideshow. Lightroom Classic has the ability to easily create such a slideshow. But this is only one of the programs that offer this capability. Once you are done, you can share it on social media and YouTube. It’s a great way to breathe new life into your best work.
Do you have any other ideas?
These are just a few ideas to work with if you’re looking for a way through the dark winter nights. You can learn a lot this way or find new topics that interest you. But maybe you have another idea that can inspire you. Please share your ideas in the comments below.