All Images © 2010 Declan J. Dillon
Please do not use/reproduce without my explicit, written permission.
Everything is more interesting at night. Darkness gives objects, places, and even people a whole new dynamic. Things that are benign by day take on a strange and cryptic nature; the smallest step in a path becomes a vast sinkhole when stumbled down unexpectedly. We humans do not go out at night for whatever reason we choose to give ("I need sleep," "nothing to do," etc.), but at the core of our reasoning, lurking somewhere in our subconscious, is a fear of the dark. What we are truly afraid of is not the darkness itself, but rather the unknown. We are diurnal creatures, and as diurnal creatures, our eyes are not equipped to function when the lights go out. They lack the sensitivity of say, a digital camera sensor. This is exactly why I enjoy stumbling around in the darkness with a camera. Lighting changes drastically at night, and my cameras are able to capture the hidden aspects that I cannot see. Other colors of light, overexposed by the daytime sunshine, are visible and have a great effect on the way things appear. Light is also far easier to control at night. The world becomes one giant studio, where a strobe here and a flashlight or two there gives the desired effect, formerly unattainable with the sun bearing down from above, casting shadows and blowing out highlights.
The only drawback to night photography (for me, at least) is the risk of encountering wildlife of both animal and human forms. Apparently, the wolves here in Montana are particularly notorious, but I personally am more worried about the human wildlife. People here do love their firearms (not that I don't), and the fear of being mistaken for some sort of animal or miscreant and being on the receiving end of some buckshot is always at the back of my mind. Then again, of all the encounters I've had while taking pictures (trespassing or otherwise), none of them have been negative in Montana. In fact, the only instances where I was asked to leave or snarled at occurred in California. Every time I run into someone in Montana, an hour long conversation ensues, in which I'm given permission to photograph and usually a small history lesson. I may never leave this place!