lic-night

Yesterday evening between 8:15 and 9:15 I grabbed my camera and tripod and headed down to the LIC waterfront to take a first stab at some serious night shooting. I was a bit gung-ho and wanted to get the Manhattan shots right away. However, I arranged my photos to introduce the area in which I was shooting first. This is my attempt at a more journalistic approach to ease my way to the Manhattan shots. I had some very particular style of images I wanted to come home with though. Allow me to elaborate.

So, I have been browsing 500px.com quite frequently and some of my absolute favorite shots have been daytime neutral density filter shots. These are the photos that have daytime lighting but super long exposure times because of the filters blocking out so much light.  People use these filters to slow down the shutter speed to typically get a softening effect of flowing water.  The common shots are of streams and waterfalls in the woods. This is all great but neutral density filters are by no means cheap for one of decent quality. With limited light at night this opens up the possibility for such effects to be possible.

Being new to this I took a ton of exposures.  I reiterate a ridiculous amount of exposures. I set up my camera to bracket my exposure compensation by a full stop over and under.  Then I would use my usual exposure compensation control to move the entire bracket up and down. I was able to come away with easily 9 exposures to a single composition.  This took some time but I’m glad I took this approach because there were a lot of variables in the environment such as water, buildings, lights, foreground and clouds. The keepers I ended up with were from various brackets within maybe 3 stops of each other.

I pretty much shoot exclusively in priority modes between aperture and shutter priority. So for such a huge depth and distance covered in my shots I decided to go with aperture priority. This started off at f9 but I ended up changing my ISO and closing down the aperture to f22 to get a longer exposure.  I might as well have been in full manual. The only real difference is that I would have had to metered to get and center meter to then bracket from.

The outcome of the images is more than satisfactory. The only thing I noticed is when zooming in all the way to the buildings there is some grain. This is noticeable on shots even on my lowest ISO at 100 so it may be the glass of the 18-55mm kit lens I was using. I also recorded some notes of how I was bracketing and exposing in general on my GoPro. I might start doing this more frequently to create some vlogs to accompany my write ups on this blog.