Friday, March 02, 2012

Magic Time is not just at dawn

When we were in Niagara-on-the-Lake last week, I bought some new wind chimes. And on Monday it was really windy. Not only do they sound great, but they gave me the idea of shooting a long shutter speed flash-enhanced image. The flash stops the motion of the chimes but everything else has a motion blur:


It's a 1/4 second exposure at f/22, ISO 100. You have to stop it down big time to get the long exposure. For a change, I DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to this shot: it's exactly as it came out of the camera. It's not even cropped!

The next night, I went out for a walk. It was cold and crisp, there were stars out although it wasn't perfectly clear, and the moon was waxing gibbous (that means it was around half full, heading towards full. It would have been "waning gibbous" if it was on its way to being a new moon. And you thought you knew everything!). I saw the texture in the fresh snow on the parked car and decided to go back in for my camera. And the tripod, after all it was dark.

Time exposures are very cool and they bring out great and unusual lighting.


There's a car buried under this snowbank! It was really difficult to focus in the dark. I had to wing it. I knew ahead of time that there was going to be some colour in the sky because I've shot there before. It comes from the lights of Minden about 10km away. You can't really tell that this is low light: the exposure was 15 seconds at f/4, ISO 1600. There is a single halogen street light about 50m off to the right. I had to reduce the green colour of the light.
After taking a few shots here, I walked down towards the dock, not ready to go in yet... and I glanced up in the sky. Oh, my Gawd! — I did a double take! Here's what I saw:


I had to look this up. Google is your friend. It seems that ice crystals in the air diffract the light from the moon. The crystals bend the light by 22°, red less than violet so you get a rainbow circle effect that's 44° in diameter.Look it up. Wikipedia says this is not uncommon, but I have to tell you I've never noticed it before. Amazing. This is the same exposure as the previous shot — I tried about 20 or 30 different shots but it turned out that this was the best of the bunch.
The message is, it's not just at dawn and dusk that the light can be magic!

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