One night through the lens

Kees Krick (57) and Corné Ouwehand (27) are night photographers. They capture the moments most people don’t see. When everybody is sound asleep they explore the world in the mysterious darkness. 

Photo by Chiara Toorop

A pitch-black sky, no one around you and seeing little to nothing. This is what night photography mostly consists of. Night photography isn’t as easy as it may seem. It takes a long planning process beforehand. The hobby photographer Corné prepares his trips by looking up the location on Google Maps. “When I look up a location and in real life, it is exactly how I imagined it to be, it is very satisfying and fulfilling,” Corné says. For Kees, who is a professional photographer, Google Maps isn’t enough: “Before I go to a location to take the actual pictures, I always walk around the area before and explore it.” Kees says this is important because he wants to know what to expect from the location and also to make sure that he finds his way in the dark.

Photo by Chiara Toorop

Between day and night
Corné has always loved photography and got inspired by social media. “On Instagram and Facebook, I saw pictures of starry skies and I thought: ‘I want to do this myself.’” When he is not taking pictures of the night sky, he works as an emergency room nurse. This job brings a lot of irregular schedules with it, which makes it easy for Corné to combine it with his hobby, night photography.  

Kees was born and raised in Zoetermeer. He has had a creative mind since a young age, but this character trait hasn’t always led his path. “I studied informatics and also worked in this business for a few years.” In 2008 he switched careers. He became a night photographer because of his writing. “In 2010 I was writing a book about how to use lighting in photography. One chapter of this book was about night photography,” he explains. Kees was immediately drawn to this type of photography because the night shows a completely different world than the day.

Not so quick and easy
Most of the time taking photos isn’t just a quick trip. In the Netherlands, it is quite hard to find good locations. “When you take pictures, you want the surrounding area to be completely dark,” says Corné. That’s why he has at least a one hour drive ahead of him before photographing. “I can take pictures in Katwijk, but there is a lot of light pollution, so I like to drive to places with fewer artificial light sources,” he says.

The calm of the night
Corné and Kees also experience some thrilling but fun stories while working in the darkness. “One morning I showed the pictures I took the night before to my wife and realised that I spent the whole night next to a huge anthill. I didn’t see it while I was there,” Kees tells.

Photo by Corné Ouwehand

The human eye isn’t made to see in the dark. Even though photographing is visual, Corné explains that he developed a keen sense of hearing by doing night photography. As he can’t rely on his eyes, he always has to listen closely. This can cause scary moments, he says: “One time I was alone in de Veluwe and I heard a deer wandering in the woods. I didn’t see it coming and it scared me so much.”