Saturday, June 5, 2010

The truth is out there

In the park behind our house, just beyond these trees, is a picnic area with a pond.  The pond often creates a mist which catches rays from the lights around the picnic area as they shine through the trees.  I was really pleased with this shot, as it captured the light rays just the way I envisaged.

Being late at night, this shot was obviously going to need a tripod, and the effect I wanted meant no flash.  I kept the ISO down at 100 so that there would be no grain, but even with the lens wide open, I knew I was in for a long exposure of some seconds.  I set the camera to underexpose by 2 stops to get a silhouette effect, and metered using an average across the whole image (rather than spot metering off either the very dark, or the very bright areas) and was surprised that it actually metered correctly for a 20 second exposure at f4.5 to give me this shot.  I tried a few alternatives without underexposing; using higher ISO settings; spot metering; and smaller aperture, but this was the exposure I finally settled on.  I had to do a little post-processing, to remove a set of rugby posts and a telephone wire, but other than that, it is pretty much straight out of the camera.

I like the way the lights beyond the trees have completely burned out any detail - it's like there's "something out there"...  I could have got someone to run around in the park lighting the trees up with a flash or something while taking the picture, which would have added a bit of colour to the foreground, but you do need to be careful that the flash is always pointing completely away from the camera, and also that you don't get silhouettes of the person letting the flash off...  Overall - I like this one the way it is.

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