Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Night Lights ~ Wide Angle Wednesday

"Marina Magic"
(4 sec.@ F/8, ISO 100, 18mm fl, tripod, remote shutter, late dusk)

I love evening strolls. It's where I decompress, and become reflective. When the weather's just right, I like to come down to the bay front with the hubby or a friend... sometimes I have to make sure I don't have my camera. I know, can't believe I said that either. But it's true. If I have it with me, I can't always relax and walk, I'm so busy seeing shots that I can't pass up. But then sometimes if I don't have it I can't relax, cause I see all the things I should be getting if I only had the camera. Must it be so complex? 

This was taken on a true photo night, when my photo rambling partner Kelly and I set aside time to ramble and shoot the bay at sunset. And it's the best of both worlds... I relax AND get cool night shots.

The more I photograph at night, the more I'm learning about the capabilities of my camera actually. Anyone who knows me knows I'm more concerned with composition, lines, and design than calculating hyper-focal distance off the top of my noggin. But I also know that in order to effectively portray those elements I also need to understand how best to use my gear.

I've discovered I learn about my camera best at night. I take for granted how to photograph daytime scenes in most cases. In ideal lighting, I can anticipate how little the camera will need to work to get a shot. I know how to meter, adjust, shoot and feel confident I got it. But for the image above, it makes me take my time. I begin to understand how aperture affects the lighting, creating blazing flares or star burst effects. How no matter how low my ISO is dialed down, if my exposure is unnecessarily long, I'll get more noise or less detail, so finding the right shutter speed is a precarious balancing act. And for years I had no idea I needed to turn off the one feature that is supposed to help with camera shake or any movement if the camera is on a tripod... the Vibration Reduction feature on long lenses. Simply because it'll want to fight against what's anchoring it. It's meant to give you better control handholding. And not for anchored exposures.

The image above just seemed quiet and a bit romantic. The type of setting I like to stroll through. I made sure I kept the winking lights warm to complement the deep blue. And the extra sky gives a feeling of vast open space surrounding the marina.
For some excellent night photography tips I'd check this out once you're done reading today's post. I know I'll be getting to know my camera better all this year.. out in the dark. Relaxing AND doing what I love.
Thanks for the ramble folks, and have a good one! 

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