Heading out for the first time to the coast at Waimarama, I was anticipating a typical modern bach-and-beach settlement, so was surprised to see this old style church on the edge of town, so to speak. The moon was rising directly behind it, giving me some quick exercise with the new 85mm telephoto, and it was only when a car came by that I saw the potential of a wide angle view with headlights on the building.
An obliging Gerry then drove around the corner into the side road seen above, in a 30 second exposure at f16. ISO was 2000; the 28mm lens took in all of the church while leaving out the wall in front of it. The light balance was tungsten, which gives more natural greens by artifical lights while saturating the sky. A daylight balance would have been OK but the same range of good, clean colour wouldn’t be achieved.
The full moon was behind the steeple but rising rapidly. On the side road the tail lights are more evident than the headlights, despite these being the main light on the trees and the front of the church. Gerry then idled the car at the road end, and this shows in brighter lights at the end of the trail. The red structure across the road is a corner of the local playcentre (another sign of year-round community).
The main challenge in this type of photo is in getting the two light sources in reasonable balance. We achieved this – after a few trails – by having the car move no more slowly than usual, so that the headlights swept the front of the church for only a few seconds. Thereafter, continuing the exposure allowed the moonlight to do the rest. f16 is an unusually small aperture for moonlight, and it only suits a certain sort of photo – but what great focal depth you get.