>November has been a crazy month for Jumping Rocks with (literally) coast to coast photo shoots. We apologize for the less frequent posting.

Every now and then, we find ourselves playing God a bit and turning day into night. I thought I’d  share why and how we do it with a recent example from Old Monterey Inn in Monterey,  California.  We love shooting at twilight–it can be very magical, and hide a host of “issues”–but there’s a short window of opportunity and it happens only once a day (at least here on earth). What if you want that twilight look but can’t do it during “the gloaming” (check Wikipedia).

This particular guest room is one of the smaller ones at this fabulous inn but has some super-charming exterior features we wanted to shoot. The private entrance, dutch door and stained glass creates a fantastic first impression for this room and we thought it would help sell the room on the website. We pictured a glowing interior, lighting up the room at twilight…but we had another vital shot planned for the gloaming hour that day. So we had to shoot it mid-day. What to do??

Here is our recipe for getting that evening feeling in broad daylight…

1) We put a powerful strobe inside the guestroom, and covered it with a cinema-style gel (called a CTO gel) that changes the strobe’s color temperature to match interior tungsten lighting. (All strobes are, by design, actually set to match daylight color temperature–much bluer than lamplight.) Adding the gel warmed the color to match the interior light source.

2) We set the White Balance on our digital SLR camera to match that interior light (the “tungsten” setting) and that makes it “go blue” outside. But it still looked a little weird because it is too darn bright outside and does not look like evening. To rectify that, we dropped the shutter speed a couple of stops and BINGO!

Here is the result – shot at 1:00 in the afternoon:

OMI Rooms Chawton 05 Edit >Playing God: Turning Noon into Night
ISO 800 f/6.3 100 second exposure camera set to WB “tungsten” 3200 degrees

Here is the same shot without the “Day into Night” technique:

 MG 5209 >Playing God: Turning Noon into Night
ISO 800 f/6.3 60th second exposure camera set to WB “daylight” 5500 degrees

I like the inviting feel of the “fake-night” shot over the bland day shot. What do you think??

A few caveats and tips….

  • This was a somewhat shady nook, which made “overpowering” the sun easier.
  • Understanding the manual function of  your camera is required
  • Our strobes are powerful…you need that kind of power to kill the daylight.
  • If you are an amateur photographer, learning the basics of color-temperature will really improve you photos, especially if you want to tackle interiors. 
  • The “CTO” warming gel is cheap. It only cost about $7 for a large sheet from a photo supply house

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