Wednesday, October 11, 2006

By lunar light #2

Another photo of the beach at Evanston, Illinois using the full moon as my only light source. The tricky thing about doing night photography is that you can't really see exactly what you're doing. You can't see to focus. I thought I had a small flashlight that I could use to illuminate a piling or a rock so I could use my split screen viewfinder to focus, but it was not there. So I shot most of these by estimating the distance to what I was trying to focus on, then using the distance scale on my lens to approximate the distance and hoping that the wide angle lens and small f-stop would give me enough margin for error. The focus is admittedly soft on this one. It may have been my blind focusing, or it may have been that my tripod settled in the beach sand over the course of the 360-second exposure.

But it's still an interesting image. The foot-tall breakers of the lake were reduced to a smooth misty plane by the length of the exposure. And I still can't get over the blueness of the night sky. Some vignetting added for effect.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2006 James Jordan.

5 comments:

agonie said...

this is a very nice shot :)

James said...

agonie, thanks! you have some great images on your site. I like your post-processing techniques. I'd like to get into that more.

Marion said...

wonderful shot!

toby said...

A tip for focusing at night: Use the hyperfocal distance for your lens/ f-stop combination. Here's a link to an online hyperfocal calculator:
http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

For example, my 11mm lens, if focused to 6 feet, will be in focus from 3 feet to infinity. I never have to focus at night anymore!

James said...

toby, thanks for the tip! I'm pretty new at the night shot thing, although I've done lots of twilight shots. I'm finding it something new altogether ... I was inspired by NoTraces at Flickr to give it a try.

You've got some great images on your photostream there as well.