Saturday, June 19, 2010

A vision in blue...

My daughter and I went back into the city on Friday evening, to see some more of the lights of the Vivid celebration - our aim was to get to St Mary's Cathedral, but we met at the fountain in Hyde Park and decided to take a few pictures there first. After about 15-20 minutes of shooting various angles on the fountain, and around and about, I stumbled on this view that captured both the fountain and the cathedral in what I felt was quite an interesting way.  From one side, the fountain was lit with blue lighting, and beyond, the cathedral was being illuminated by projections on the front, but from this angle, only the normal night-time illuminations of the rest of the cathedral was visible.  But the orange of the incandescent lighting on the cathedral contrasted well with the blue in the fountain, and the shape formed by the arch of the water lined up well with the spires.

This was taken from a fairly low vantage point (as low as my tripod could go, and I'd have liked it to go a few inches lower still - but what can you do...), so I was almost laying on the ground looking up under the arch of the spray, and towards the spires of the cathedral. 

My thought process in planning the shot went something like this... I wanted to get as much blur as possible in the water, so I wanted a long exposure.  To keep the shutter open longer meant a) small aperture combined with b) low ISO.  I always try and shoot at ISO100 or 200 as much as possible, so the camera was already set  to 100.  I shut the aperture right down to f/22 but then the camera was saying I needed to manually time the shot (i.e. even 30 seconds - the longest the camera can meter - wasn't long enough.  So I manually set the shutter speed to 30 seconds and gradually opened up the aperture until at f/8, the camera suggested that the exposure was correct.

And this is the result after a little post processing, to straighten it up (the original was slightly lopsided) and a very slight crop.  I was quite pleased with it - what do you think?

If you look at the full size image, you will see that there are 4 or 5 little streaks of light within and to the right of the spray, which all align the same way - I haven't made up my mind what they are... it's possible that they may be the start of star trails (though they seem too long for just 30 seconds), or maybe they were droplets of water that were caught in someone else's flash (but then, why not the whole image?), or maybe birds or bats caught in the floodlights around the church (but they seem too consistently lined up).  In the absence of any other explanation, I put them down to a formation of UFOs...

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