Landscape: Nightowl A tripod is going to be handy this week… time to shoot a night landscape. Look for some light for the scene! Car lights, city lights, or maybe just moonlight.

This week was a two week challenge. It’s still light when I go to bed most nights at this time of year, and getting light about an hour and a half before I wake up. I decided to prioritise it for this weekend, as we have a bank holiday, so I had three nights during which to test and then take my photo.

This was a neat one because I learned a completely different function of my camera. It’s called ‘bulb’ in the settings and on a modern digital works the same way as it would when you still used the bulb shutter release on a film camera. Originally, it resembled a blood pressure cuff (except the cuff was, of course, the camera) and was used to create long exposure photos. Now you can either hold the shutter button down for the required number of seconds which could become tiring, or you use a digital bulb that you can programme. This article explains it better: How to Use Bulb Mode for Long Exposures.

So, Saturday night when it was finally dark(ish) about 10:30 I thought I’d take a stab at it. I didn’t mean to start using the bulb function, but I was trying different f-stops and shutter speeds and couldn’t see what I was doing on the dials, since it was dark outside, and accidentally ended up on the B on my shutter speed dial. I didn’t know that’s what I was on until I went inside and could see, but I did accidentally realise that suddenly, there was a countdown when I depressed the shutter button. So, I tried a couple of times and realised it was counting seconds.

ISO 400, F3.5, 1 second exposure
ISO 400, F3.5, 1 second exposure

I rather like this one for the intimacy of the view through the window. This is the shot that made me realise I was onto something new.

I decided to up the ISO. Normally, you don’t want to go higher than 400 because the shots become quite grainy. I forgot this tidbit, however, and upped my ISO to 2000. Luckily, the new camera can handle high ISO with no grain.

ISO 2000, F3.5, 1 second
ISO 2000, F3.5, 1 second

I decided to keep to the one second shutter for the first shot at the new ISO. Out of this series, this is the shot I would have used for the challenge. You still get a ghost of what’s inside, but outside has become more important.

I took two more shots at ISO 2000, each with a longer exposure.

ISO 2000, F3.5, 4.3 seconds
ISO 2000, F3.5, 4.3 seconds
ISO 2000, F3.5, 8 seconds
ISO 2000, F3.5, 8 seconds

Just one change makes a huge difference to the shot. I love the shadows of the leaves on the wall in these two shots.

However, last night, I tried a shot I’d been wanting to try. This was taken with only a candle to light it. This was taken at ISO 400 to let in light, but I set it to F13 for depth, then used a 14 second exposure.

He is nestled between lemon balm and rosemary, quiet and undisturbed by the additions to his space.
He is nestled between lemon balm and rosemary, quiet and undisturbed by the additions to his space.

I think an 18 or 19 exposure on 200 ISO might be really interesting, but I shall have to wait until next week to try it!


One thought on “Night Scenes

  1. Learning is fun when the results are so different. I loved the contrast of the quiet of the candle-lit shot to the others. Mom >


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