Sunday, October 23, 2011

Just because it's night...

Shouldn't stop you from taking pictures. I fell asleep on the couch in front of the TV. When I woke up at 1:00 am, I decided I didn't feel like sleeping, maybe a short walk outside. When I saw what it looked like, the shadows created by the lights at the inn behind me, I went back in for my camera (and tripod!)

The light in the sky is the light pollution from Minden about 10km away. It works because there were clouds, you don't see them on a clear night. The foreground is lit by the lights from the Inn behind me but I CAF'd out my shadow and the tripod's shadow. 15 seconds at f/4 with the 12mm wide angle, ISO = 2000. I used Nik DFine to take some of the noise out of the sky.

Playing with a flashlight! Same spot, this one's a 30 second exposure. I went running around with a flashlight while the shutter was open!

I think this is my favourite. I don't know if it renders well at this small size/resolution. I tried lighting things up with the flashlight, needed several attempts because the sign was too bright. I dodged the lower right foreground and used Content-aware scaling to reduce the width of the dead black area between the sign and the tree on the right. What would have made this image would have been if a deer had stepped out on the road to the left and posed for me! As if!

This is where the light was coming from. It was a busy-ish night at the Inn but still I wonder why they keep all those lights on all night. I had to burn in the lights (too bright) and I waved the flashlight around on the beach to give it some foreground structure. Same exposure.

The trick to shooting at night: set everything up before you go out. You can't adjust much — especially focus — in the dark. I put the camera on the tripod and basically levelled it. I put the wide angle lens on, focused it almost to infinity and turned off autofocus. I attached the cable release. I set the camera to manual and started with a 15 second exposure at f/4, ISO 500. It took a couple of shots to realize that wasn't enough. I should have brought a cloth with me (or my black hat) to cover the viewfinder, especially if I wasn't staying with the camera (running around with a flashlight).

It was fun. I'm going to try it again when there's snow on the ground (too soon!).

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