Is it worth heading out in the middle of the night, in winter, to shoot landscape photographs? I think it is!
I've been photographing landscapes for many years, but recently I've taken to going out in the middle of the night when the conditions are looking clear. The problem is that the middle of the night is usually the coldest part of the night, and that makes it difficult to shoot landscapes.
I'm lucky enough to have a few spots within an hours drive that I can get to fairly easily. This definitely helps. I'm used to getting up early to make the journey and setup for sunrise shots, but rarely (unless there's a thunderstorm heading this way) do I decide to head out into the cold whilst on my way to bed. Last minute decisions can pay off sometimes!
I've been getting by with a single wide angle lens and a tripod, but that doesn't give me much versatility. I've had some success, and I'm hoping to get a few more to the standard I set myself on my most recent midnight adventure to Cape Schanck. (see above images)
I really got lucky with these shots. As I only decided to head here 25 minutes beforehand, I had no idea the Milky Way and star field would be positioned where it was, or that the moon was not yet up and only started rising over my left shoulder whilst I was setting up. This gave me a perfect amount of light on the lighthouse so it wasn't just a silhouette against the galaxy. Luck definitely played a part, but I had to put myself in the situation to be lucky in the first place!
So, as you start to head to bed tonight, take a look out the window. The weather or night sky might just convince you to take a chance for an hour or so in the cold with your camera.
Good luck out there!