Nighttime photography including moonlit images, light painting and shots of the Milky Way Galaxy by Timothy Little, owner of Cape Night Photography

Photo Portfolio: Shoot for the stars, August 2017 Cape Cod LIFE | capecodlife.com

"The Galactic Sister” – Little had to run a lot to illuminate one of the Three Sisters Lighthouses, by hand, in this sub-30 seconds exposure. Any longer, he says, and the stars would have looked more like streaks due to the Earth’s rotation.

To learn about the history of the Three Sisters—which have been moved inland and are out of commission—visit our online exclusive article here

Timothy Little estimates that he’s the only photographer on Cape Cod that works exclusively at night. Traveling—sometimes as far as West Virginia, but usually just to various beaches on the Cape—in his trusty Toyota FJ Cruiser, Little utilizes long exposures to capture the subtlety of light—even when there may not be much of it visible to the naked eye.

For some images, he shoots exposures as brief as 30 seconds—the most common to capture the Milky Way, since the stars remain in sharp focus over that amount of time. For others, he keeps the shutter open for as long as 20 minutes, and when shooting with traditional film cameras he has made exposures as long as three hours. He shoots with a Canon 6D digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera with a variety of lenses of different focal lengths, and uses flashlights and strobe lights to “color” his long exposure images.

A resident of Falmouth, Little is the owner of Cape Night Photography, where he brings groups of photography enthusiasts out after the sun goes down to shoot the stars and other celestial bodies. The groups often visit Sandy Neck Beach, the Cape Cod Canal and other spots on the Cape, but Little also has workshops scheduled this summer to visit Mount Greylock in Western Mass. The Milky Way is the most popular subject on the tours. Beyond that, lighthouses, harbors and beaches are at the top of the list. The trips average about five hours, and the group typically visits three locations per outing.

A banker by day, Little has been shooting photographs at night for 16 years and decided in 2013 to begin taking clients out at night. “Cape Cod is a mecca for travelers,” he says. “I’ve had people [sign up] from Maine, even Germany.” Attendees are generally “amazed” at what they can see during the shoots, Little says, not to mention the images they can produce on their cameras. “I love seeing how excited they get,” he adds.

Participants must bring their own equipment, but Little brings backup gear in the event of mishaps. He also distributes technical notes at the end of a session so those on the tour can focus on the work at hand during the shoot. “I want them to have a good experience,” he says, “and not have their nose in a notebook the whole time.” Little also leads private tours for individuals, or groups of two, since some attendees respond better with more attention, or prefer not to be slowed down by a larger group.

Workshop attendees also receive an autographed copy of Little’s book Cape Cod Nights: A Photographic Exploration of Cape Cod and the Islands After Dark, as well as an 8” x 10” enlargement of one of the locations the group photographed on their trip.

Timothy Little explores the region from a different perspective—after dark. His book Cape Cod Nights is available in the Cape Cod Life General Store at shop.capecodlife.com