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Tag Archives: Night

beach 4

This is the last in a series of night beach scenes I shot last December on The Big Island (Hawai’i).  Today’s image, as well as those from the last three posts, were all shot on one night by moonlight.  For the record, it was not a full moon, but roughly about half-full.  These were all 30-second exposures.

I didn’t really set out to do night photography per se that particular night.  Rather, a friend who lives on The Big Island and I were going to hike out to see and shoot the lava.  When we got to the end of the road, we couldn’t see much of a glow from the lava, and rather than “waste” a hike out and back, we decided to try again the following night.

So there we were at 3:00 AM, all dressed up and nowhere to go.  My friend decided to drive along the coast to show me some pretty beaches that visitors seldom find.  Since I had all my camera gear with me in anticipation of shooting lava, I shot some beach scenes instead.

Some people think there’s some trick to shooting these scenes at night.  Honestly, the adage of “90% of success is just showing  up” holds true here.  A tripod is a must.  It helps to have an eye for landscape composition.  Exposure is a little trial and error at first to get a well-exposed image with as slow an ISO as possible to minimize grain.

I’m partial to 30-second exposures because I like very blurry water.  But you can certainly try a 10 or 15 second exposure and see if you like the results.

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beach 3

Another image of a moonlit beach on The Big Island (Hawai’i).  This is the third in a series of four images.  Tomorrow I’ll explain how I found myself doing night photography at zero-dark-thirty on these beautiful shores…

beach 2

A 30-second exposure in the middle of the night is enough to give plenty of detail to this beachscape on The Big Island (Hawai’i).

Havana night

Photographers who put their cameras away right after sunset miss some cool stuff.  I know, because I used to be one of them.

Fortunately, no one seems to mind too much if you lug a tripod around in Havana.  I mean, you get a lot of quizzical looks just because you’re American, and you dress differently and talk funny.  (And despite over three decades of practice, I know my Spanish still leaves much to be desired!)  So the tripod and camera gear don’t add that much interest.

One thing that makes night photography that much more challenging in Cuba is that there simply isn’t that much light…even in Havana.  I thought the buildings would be much more brightly lit, and I had high hopes for the dome, but the lights were never turned on!

So even though this image was taken right in the middle of Havana, it has a different look than, say, an image taken at night in San Francisco or New York.  Times Square this ain’t!

With a long exposure, the light-colored buildings reflect enough light from the widely scattered streetlights and very occasional headlights (this was a 30-second exposure between sunset and dark–notice how little traffic there is on the street?) to give them a pretty and yet almost surreal glow.

So my night images in Havana weren’t what I was expecting…but I like them even more because of that!

I was all set to watch the Perseids (meteor shower) tonight, but the moon and the weather had other plans.  The almost-full moon combined with light pollution made all but three stars invisible tonight, and then clouds decided to hide even those three from view.  No meteor-gazing tonight!

Reluctantly I climbed out of my hot tub, lexan wine glass in hand, and gave up.  Right place, wrong time.  Oh, well….

This image is not from tonight.  But it does show what a lovely moonless and light pollution-free sky looks like, so I thought I’d include it.  You can see Ursa Major (the Big Dipper) in the upper middle, and Polaris (the North Star) in the far upper right.

I hope the Perseids are better seen and enjoyed from wherever you may be.  To all a good night!

Do you enjoy looking at the moon and stars at night, as I do?

Do you enjoy shooting them, as I do?

Do you wish that you could see the objects in the night sky more clearly, as I do?

Is your neighborhood or town beset by unnecessary light pollution from poor streetlight design, as mine is?

Is your property nightly flooded with blinding light due to inconsiderate neighbors’ outdoor lighting techniques (the “some is good, more is better” philosophy), as mine is?

Can you see the Milky Way from your home, or only when you’re camping?

Please check out http://www. darksky.org for a good explanation of why light pollution control and the use of downlighting make a community more livable and safer.

The site is sponsored by the IDA, the International Dark-Sky Association.

Without a dark sky, images like this eclipse shot are all but impossible.

So let there NOT be unnecessary and overly bright lighting at night…

Let the stars and moon shine in all their glory!