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Nighttime

It’s trickier to take pictures at night, but the rewards are well worth it.

Scouring my photo library recently, it dawned on me (no pun intended) that I rarely take pictures at night. I hate using flash, and since I rely exclusively on my phone camera these days, most nocturnal images I do take just aren’t that great.

But then I found this one, below, and immediately started thinking again of nighttime shots — of all the rich textures they can create, and of all the ambivalent, intriguing stories they can tell.

I took this photo in Paris a few years ago. While most windows in my apartment brought me almost within arm’s reach of my neighbors’ laundry, one of them opened to a great urban landscape of balconies, chimneys, and lots and lots of clouds.

Right at the center was this one residential building — a typical, unassuming mid-rise by day, which turned into a half-spooky, half-inviting monolith at night. I loved seeing its contours and details change with different levels of moonlight and cloud cover. Then, one night, I got lucky and took this shot. To me, it conveys something quintessentially Parisian: the promise of mystery and surprise lurking underneath heavy layers of cliché.

What nocturnal photos do you like taking? Whether it’s a starry sky, a street lamp, or the shadows cast by your cat, share them with us. Your shot can be outdoors or indoors, blurry or crisp, overexposed or ominously dark. As every owl (and night owl) knows, nighttime is when the real action starts.

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