Nocturnal Edinburgh happenings

There is a small window of two months or so when the light, or lack of it can be used for night shots at Edinburgh Airport and I have to admit that although I love night photography this was a real wrench to get myself out into the cold for the half hour drive to make this photo possible.


I had shot from this location before so I knew the lie of the land and roughly what I wanted but never tried this technique before. Basically I cranked the ISO right up to 1600 and shot 60 images in 2 and a half minutes then layered them up in Photoshop and combined the pictures to get this shot.

The timing was done manually, I took a photo and waited until the image was written onto the card and the picture flashed up in the viewfinder before I pressed the button on the release for another picture.


That was the easy part the hardest part was in making the picture possible. From experience the ILS, Instrument Landing System at Edinburgh goes out over Inchkeith Island, however being early in the morning and because this was the only aircraft on approach they are normally given permission to make a visual approach, which basically means that the pilot could start his approach anywhere and as luck would have it the camera was in the wrong pointing to the wrong piece of sky. This is the reason why the light trail starts half way in the scene, I was in full panic mode at the time trying to recompose the shot!

If you look closely at the picture you will see that the pilot makes two turns to get onto the runway centre line.

Now that I have actually got out and done something I want to do more and as luck would have it, the weather in this part of Scotland was turned Full Dreich shortly afterwards and I have not been able to get out since. I’m full of ideas for the next time when I get out to play in the dark, some old ones that have been gestating for a couple of years, one from this shoot and others that need a site visit to sus out the location. At this time of the morning you will only get one shot at a photo before the light changes, indeed the variation in the light in the short time that it took me to make this photo was remarkable.

So there we have it, the complete and frustrated nocturnal photographer but there is one thing for sure…


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