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Photography overnights and how to plan for them

For most landscape photographers, including myself, it’s all about being in the right place at the right time, seemingly easy you’d think but quite the opposite. With ever-changing conditions, it doesn’t matter how good the forecast is, it tells you nothing about how good the conditions might be for a sunrise and the same for a sunset. I guess I’ve always ventured out with the thought process, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’ so if you’re not out there trying, it’s better than not being out there at all. Photographing landscapes with all this in mind, is one of, if not, the most challenging of all the photography forms.

Sunrises and sunsets are the pinnacles of each day for shooting landscapes, but with those places providing epic scenery and multiple layers, they can be often difficult to reach; that’s when a photography overnight comes in. Planning, preparation and execution are key, for the more variables you can take away and plan for, the more confident and informed you will be. A photography overnight often entails walking/trekking/hiking to the desired location the day or evening prior, to ensure you get to witness both the sunset and sunrise in that particular location.

With many things to plan for and prepare, I’ve put together a list of 5 factors to consider when planning your next photography overnight.

Moon Phase

This really comes into play if you’re looking into shooting night photography. It’s a common mistake and one I’ve personally made heading into a trip to not check the moon phase, for If you’re looking to shoot the milky way when the moon phase is full moon, you may be wasting your time. Often the locations you’re preparing for and trekking to are away from civilisation and so with little or much less light-pollution, you may be in luck of an incredible nights sky view when the moon phase is very little or even a new moon.

Layers and angles

Landscape photography can be very subjective and that’s what is so great about it, everyone’s creativity and look is different. When preparing for an overnight, I like to choose somewhere that has various angles, as I don’t want to be returning home with just 1 scene in several variations. Layers are highly important, which can mean laying low or getting up high, anything to fill out the image with detail whether it be forests, lakes or mountains and peaks.