We love photography in all its forms at Ink Tank. But what we love even more is sharing the creativity and skill of talented photographers with our readers around the world. Toni Garcia, whose fantastic low light photos are shown here, is one such photographer that we can’t wait for you to meet.
Toni specialises in taking low light silhouette photos. His work is filled with beauty, mystery, and even a bit of spookiness that makes us marvel at how he turns a night time landscape into pure art. If you’re wondering how he does it, read on. We had a few questions for Toni, and he was more than happy to answer them.
What do you find so appealing about taking low light silhouette pictures?
I really love working with low light scenes. I’m sure that this attraction comes from the difficulty of adapting to low light conditions after I had learned the basics of handling daylight.
Night is much more intimate when shooting. See without being seen. In the case of the people who appear in my pictures, I like the fact of not knowing anything about their lives, only at that particular time and space that we share.
How do you come up with the inspiration for them?
I am inspired by the unknown and the unexpected. Truth is that I can go to a wonderful place and even take the camera. It’s weird and sometimes frustrating going far away to take pictures, and once in the place, go blank. But that’s the inspiration, you can’t invoke it. Although it sounds paradoxical, I feel very comfortable out of my comfort zone where everything is new and everything can be explored for the first time for me.
About artistic references, I deeply admire Caspar Friedrich, who was a romantic landscape painter and I think the precursor of the contemporary landscape photography. Other well-known photographers who inspire me are Michael Kenna, Fan Ho, Todd Hido or Alexander Gronsky, but in truth, I find great new photographers every day through social networks like Tumblr and Instagram.
What techniques and equipment do you use?
About the technique, there’s nothing else to it than playing with the settings that allow me to shoot with low light conditions. Depending on the scene and the purpose, I can choose between using a higher ISO or a slower shutter speed. Or both, if it’s necessary.
For example, if there is someone in the scene and I want to catch him frozen, I use a high ISO level instead of shuttering. That often results in some digital noise, but I’ve learned to live with that noise. It’s a practical question.
If I’m facing a landscape and nothing prevents me from taking my time, I use a long shuttering speed instead of ISO. I also pay attention to the aperture. I work with the camera in full manual mode, I feel comfortable with it.
The equipment I use is very basic. I’ve worked with some different brands, but the camera I use for my pictures is the first one I started with. It’s a Nikon D90 with two lenses: a 50mm F/1.8 and a 18-105mm F/3.5 and a tripod (the cheapest one I could find). I also use a Microsoft Lumia 1020 to take pictures with low light, with a holder for the tripod.
What top tips would you give to anyone trying to shoot similar style photos?
To anybody who wants to try shooting in low light conditions, I would tell them that the equipment is important, but it’s not everything. The desire to learn and trial and error makes you better. Shoot as much as you can. Be prepared to get up early and, if you can, grab a group of colleagues who get passionate about the same kind of photography as you. Learning is much more fun with someone who shares the same hobby. And finally, keep your camera in manual mode and explore its limits.
Have Toni’s photos inspired you to become a camera-carrying creature of the night? Let us know what you think in the comments below.