Calgary City Photographer

Calgary City Photographer Cody James shares some of his knowledge on capturing the beautiful scenes of downtown Calgary at night.


When I first picked up an SLR camera I started looking at all the new possible types of photography that I could start attempting to practice in. One of the first things that really stood out was night photography, the ability to paint with light, capture beautiful downtown skylines, or see the Milky Way was really exciting!

Let’s start with light painting! Essentially because it is so dark outside if you simply snapped off a shot with a fast shutter speed, you wouldn’t be able to capture anything other than darkness! Why? Because you’re not letting any light in! So with light painting the first thing you’re going to do is set your shutter to be open for an extended period of time. Lets say you go with ten seconds, you’re able at that point to take a flash light (or any light source) and stand in front of your camera, from there you can draw anything your little heart desires from your name, to outlining a car with sparklers (very cool) or even using the light source to highlight a product in a trendy product shoot!

Shooting the Calgary downtown skyline or a beautiful mountain milky way landscape are going to be similar to light painting. The main concept is keeping that shutter open to take in lots of light, play with your ISO as well, and don’t forget a tripod! Also you’re going to want to make sure that you have a trigger or set your camera to a timer, the slightest bit of movement is going to blur your image! Try and capture scenes with cars driving by, you’ll get the beautiful looking light trails in the scene which adds to a city vibe.

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