When the sun goes to bed over the Alberta prairie and mountains, there's a subculture of photographers who do their best work under the cloak of night.
Some obsessively follow weather patterns, waiting for clear skies or stunning shows of northern lights. Others are happy to climb mountains and camp overnight, capturing what's not quite visible to the naked eye through stunning, long-exposure photos.
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Others like to play with special effects, creating amazing light streams and stunning light orbs.
The Huffington Post Alberta caught up with one of the founders of the amazing Instagram account, We Own The Night Alberta (@weownthenight_ab), to find out the method behind some of the most stunning portraits of Alberta we've ever seen. This is what Kevin Cripps (@adaptive_kromatics) had to say:
Q: What is the lifestyle of a night photographer like?
A: I think for each of us it is different, but I suspect many of us spend a lot of time looking at weather patterns and hoping for the biggest aurora borealis show we have ever seen! Of course there is always the Milky Qay that we get to shoot for a few brief periods during the summer. Night shooters also tend to spend their daylight hours looking for interesting foreground objects, as that can make or break a great night image!
Q: What's the biggest high you can get as a nighttime photographer?
A: I think many of us really enjoy shooting the northern lights; seems like some night shooters even go through a bit of withdrawal if it doesn't show up for a while. A couple diehards out there take it to the max though, climbing a mountain to spend the night and try to top their last great image.
Q: What's one thing a nighttime photographer benefits from that you don't get with daytime photography?
A: I think one of the biggest benefits of shooting at night is the peace and quiet. With the exception of the odd car going by or even running into a fellow night shooter, night photographers can slow it down and think about what they are doing.
Q: Weather can be kind of weird in Alberta. Any weather tips for the budding nighttime photographer?
A: Get the app for that! If it looks like rain/snow in one part of the province, chances are its clear skies somewhere else. Look at the weather maps and try to make the best decision you can to have an opportunity to create a wonderful night image.
Q: What's the most unusual, remarkable thing you've ever had happen while taking photos?
A: I am willing to bet that more than a few of us who shoot at night in Alberta have a similar story, but here is was one that really sticks out for me: While working with a local musician we decided to shoot at the Okotoks Erratic. Without any planning, I met up with four other night photographers, and it turned into quite the social event — well into the wee hours of the morning. I even recognized one of the other shooters in the dark, and I was recognized by my voice carrying across the darkness.
Q: Where's somewhere in Alberta you haven't had a chance to photograph but hope to make it to someday?
A: I would love to make it to Waterton Lakes, especially at night. That is such a beautiful area, but I have not managed to get it checked off my list yet.
Q: You can only shoot nighttime photos in Alberta in one (general) location for the rest of your life. Where do you choose?
A: This is a tough one, as Alberta has so many areas that offer distinct features that make great night images. But for me, I think anywhere between Jasper and Banff on Highway 93 would have to be it.
Q: How do you keep the feel of the Instagram account authentic?
A: We strive to feature Alberta-based photographers, however we will also feature shots we find from visitors to this great province. Also, by inviting other Albertans (@chjunghansphoto and @lance.ghostkeeper) with a passion for night photography to curate on the page we keep what we feel is a very authentic and consistent look. Something we added recently is a new tag for any Alberta based night photographer who travels out of province and shoots at night - #wotnab_ontheroad
Q: Tell us a bit about the account — how many dedicated shooters do you have? Do you feature shooters?
Q: @weownthenight_ab was created because I felt there was a need to bring together a community of dedicated Albertan's who photograph the night. To date, I would estimate that we have approximately 150 dedicated photographers who use our tag consistently, but that is a number that is hard to track as we seem to be gaining followers and users steadily.
Q: How do you get featured on WeOwnTheNight?
A: For anyone that wants to be featured on our account simply use our tag #weownthenight_ab or if you are Alberta based and shooting out of province #wotnab_ontheroad
Are you interested in being Alberta's Photographer of the Month? Email us and we can chat!