Thursday, June 16, 2011

Shooting in the Dark ???

Yup ... it's called low light photography and it is one of my favorite ways to shoot images.  Since last night was a full moon, one of the instructors at the college organized a group to meet in Yosemite National Park and shoot by moonlight.  You need to know your camera pretty well to be able to make adjustments in the dark, however many brought headlamps so they could see the minimum four adjustments to make.  Mandatory is a tripod and a cable or remote release.  The shutter times range from 30 seconds to 2 minutes for me ... it depends on the other settings and the type of camera.  These slow shutter speeds demand a "no vibration" scenario ... even the clicking of the mirror can blur the image, as you will see in the last frame here.  This image of Yosemite Falls was shot at 11:30 p.m. and it is pitch dark.  If you click on this image and look at the larger version, you can see the stars in the sky.  The "moonbow", since it is a result of the moonlight on the falls, is reflected in the water below.  This was taken at Sentinel Bridge and the lake of water at the bottom is usually a meadow!!!  Due to the huge late snowfall and now the warm weather, the amount of water coming over the falls and down the river is amazing, as are the 2 inch long mosquitos that dined on my arms all night!!!
From here we moved down the road about a mile, "forded" the river of water across the pathway to get another view of the falls.
This was taken at 400 iso, f4 for 35 seconds.  Focus is so critical that you "lock up" the mirror before you actually push the cable release to take the image.  On Nikon cameras, lock up cannot occur unless you have a fully charged battery .. which I did not!!  Even with the cable release and no one even breathing, vibration occurs as in this last image.  This is called "painting with light", which is new to me. Once you depress the shutter button, you use an external flash either alone or with gel covers to light some object (the tree) in the foreground.  I took this image when the instructor lit the tree with his light.  I love the results and plan to try this again soon.
The down side of this type of shooting is that you get home at 3:00 A.M. and your dogs want to play, play, play!!!  Finally to bed at 3:30, they of course decided it was time to get up at 6:00 A.M.  The good news is that since I'm retired, I can snooze on the couch all day to recoup!!!!!     Here's hoping your mirror locks up ..... 

1 comment:

  1. nice at Swinging Bridge, friend and I tried for the night before...maybe we left too early!....might be awhile before the reflecting 'lake' is thereabout again, that, in itself, was something to see and take pics of!!