Sunset and Beyond – Low Light and Night Photography in the Peak District

“It often seems to me that the night is much more alive and richly coloured than the day” – Vincent Van Gogh.

Night photography course in the Peak District. Photo © Chris James

Saturday October 2nd – 2.00pm to 11.00pm. Cost: £99.00 per person. 

Most photographers have tried to photograph a sunset at some point (many cameras even have a special “sunset” mode), but the results are often disappointing. On this course you’ll find out why this can happen, and learn some of the techniques that will make your sunset photos really come alive. Many of these same techniques also apply to twilight and night photography, and during this course, you will learn how and when to use them.
Modern digital cameras work extremely well in low light conditions, and have made night photography much easier and predictable than it used to be in the days of film. So if you’ve ever wanted to try low light, night photography and “light painting“, this course will show you how to get started, and what fun it can be!

Please contact us if you would like more information, or to request a booking form for this course. There will be a maximum of only 4 photographers on this course, and priority will be given to people who have already attended one of our landscape photography courses.

The course is being held at two locations. We will meet at the starting time of 2.00pm in Lathkill Dale, near the village of Over Haddon. Because Mist over the R. Lathkill in the Peak District. Photo © Chris Jamesthe Dale is so narrow and steep sided, it gets dark quite early – making it a great location for practising low light camera techniques. As well as the weirs on the river, there are old mining remains, plenty of fungi, and a very photogenic wooden footbridge – all of which should be enhanced by the developing autumn colours. Added to that is the fact that mist often forms over the river towards late afternoon, giving an eery atmosphere which can produce some great images.

We will spend a few hours in the Dale before heading by car to our location for “golden hour” and sunset – which is only a couple of miles away. Peak District photography workshops. Photo © Chris JamesThis is an abandoned lead mine which has amazing old industrial buildings and chimneys, as well as wide horizons, barns and twisted trees. It also has relatively little light pollution and so is ideally suited for sunset and night photography. Weather permitting, we will stay here to photograph the sunset (which will be at about 6.30pm) and on into “blue hour”.

Then, while we wait for the sky to get properly dark, we will go to a nearby pub for a meal (not included in the course price and COVID restrictions permitting) or you can of course bring your own food if you prefer. The pub has the advantage of having toilets (there are no facilities in Lathkill Dale or at the mine itself) and we will also be able to review the afternoon’s work on the laptop while we are indoors.

After that, we will head back to the mine for some night-time photography. There will be no moon that night, making it easier to see the stars. The mine buildings make great subjects to silhouette against the night sky, but we will also be bringing along some powerful lights and flashguns to light them.

“Just a quick note to say thank you for the Night time photography course. I really enjoyed it and I am already thinking differently about my photography with a much better understanding of histograms etc.” Robert

As this is an advanced level course, you need to know how to set shutter speeds, apertures, ISO and focus in fully manual (M) mode (if you’re not able to do that, you might like to consider coming on one of our landscape photography courses first to develop your skills). We will be working in small groups (partly to help with social distancing, and partly so that we don’t get in each other’s way), so not only will we and our equipment be safe (safety is not really a problem in such a rural location), but we will also have “human slaves” to hold and direct flashguns and lights for us. It should be great fun! Below are some images from previous courses and night-time visits.

The photographic possibilities on this course are obviously very dependent on the weather and cloud conditions, but even if it’s cloudy, we will still be able to get some great photos using combinations of natural light and “light painting” using the flashguns and/or torches. However, if it’s windy or raining, it is pointless trying to take photos at night. In that case, we will reschedule the course to the following Saturday (October 9th).

You do not need any special equipment for this course, except that your camera must have a manual (M) exposure mode, and be able to take photos using long shutter speeds – ideally 30 seconds or longer. Digital slr or mirrorless cameras should all be fine, but some compact cameras are also suitable (if you are in any doubt about the suitability of your camera, please contact us for advice). A sturdy tripod is also a must (though we will be able to lend you one if you haven’t already got one), and some sort of cable or remote shutter release would be useful (though not essential). Apart from that, all you will need is a torch – both to help you set up your equipment and to use for light painting. LED torches are best, as their light is often close to the colour temperature of daylight, but any other torch will do – the more powerful, the better. If you have a flashgun (a separate one, not just the pop-up flash on your camera) do bring that as well, though we will also be providing several for us to use, as well as some wireless flash triggers and flash gels.

Please contact us if you would like more information, or to request a booking form for this course.

We also run landscape and beginners’ level courses in other local areas. See here for details of all our other digital photography courses near Sheffield and in the Peak District.