I’m at the end of Fife, at St Andrews and it’s 5:45
There’s no sign of any predawn light as it’s cloudy
the North Sea. I’m cold and I’m hungry and
wondering what possessed me to get out of bed at 5am as one side of my
brain the practical side says you cannot take pictures in the dark. |
Now the creative side of my brain tells me you need light for
landscapes and indeed the beach and castle are side lit by sulphurous
street lighting and hence a crazy notion of long exposures in the dark.
A few minutes later I am gingerly crossing slippery seaweed covered
rocks to find a vantage point.
The criteria for my vantage point is an area in shade to minimise the
risk of flare on my 24mm wide angle lens. Then I remove my polarising
filter and fit the lens hood. I also need to set the tripod very low -
about a foot of the ground and crouch down to avoid a shadow from both
myself and the tripod due to a street light behind me.
Next it is time to estimate the exposure - it is too early to think
clearly - I should have set the camera manually for f/2.8 and ISO800
and 30sec to check exposure but instead I guess and estimate about 5
minutes at ISO 200 at f/11. I focus manually using the distance scale
on my lens, select bulb and then hold down the cable release.
Five minutes seem an eternity on a very dark beach with the eerie sound
of the tide and bird calls from curlew and grey heron amongst others. I
check my watch and only 2 minutes have passed or is it three - next
time I shall take a small torch. Eventually five minutes pass and I add
a little time for luck.
302 seconds later I have the following image. It’s surreal -
long exposure has blurred the movement in the sky and the whole
landscape has an orange glow accentuated by the fact I used cloudy
white balance. It’s different though and it hasn’t
anything as I’m shooting digitally.
Inspired by the results I take some more long exposures including a
rock outcrop immediately to my right. The resultant image makes me
think this could be a landscape on the planet Mars - strange what lack
of sleep does to a person. I’m also left thinking I should
at high tide and try the same image with ghostly water.
I also think that it maybe worth converting this image to black and
white as the image is just too orange - just too surreal and something
that looks like someones overdone the saturation or warm up in
Photoshop. It also makes me think of my previous photo essay in that if
you want different images you need to do things differently - I Yady
To finish I also tried something similar a year ago in Fife with the
Forth Road Bridge. The scene was heavy overcast and the landscape
seemed to have an orange glow - again I took a long exposure and
recorded this scene. The original image is very noisy due to the small
sensor of the camera but shows you can take photographs in the dark -
but you still need an essential ingredient - a source of light!
302 seconds later, taken on a Canon 10D with a Canon 24mm f/2.8 lens. The exposure was 302sec at f/11 on ISO200.
225 seconds later, taken on a Canon 10D with a Canon 24mm f/2.8 lens. The exposure was 225sec at f/11 on ISO200.
8 seconds later, taken on an Olympus C-740UZ at f/2.8 for 8sec on ISO100.