41. After midnight on the porch at Te Hapu

After midnight, on the porch at Te Hapu. 12.23am, 8 February 2009

Te Hapu is a scenic cattle station in the South Island, on the West Coast at Golden Bay. Last year we had a few days at full moon there, staying in a refurbished woolshed. It’s a fabulous coast and if I  publicise it here no matter, as the gate is locked and only guests have access to the property, which includes Gilbert’s Beach. This cameo is taken on the woolshed porch, where a towel was flapping in the steady breeze, despite the sheltered position. The wind was too strong for any outdoor moonlight photography, as I had soon discovered when a gust blew my gear over, denting the Pentax.

From the lee of the porch I then wrote another page in the Book of Hazards by thoughtlessly moving around while my minute exposures were in progress… from the creaking floorboards the vibrations went straight up the tripod to the camera. Fortunately I had learnt to keep still by the time I took this, a wide angle shot (24mm equivalent), wide open at f2, at ISO 200 on the Lumix LX3.

The product placement from the pantry is more central than intended but I believe the strong diagonal of the shadow compensates in this revised crop from the usual original. The line is completed with the blurry star, showing the limitations of f2 for depth of field, even at the widest angle the LX3 provides.

I’m experimenting with square format because it generally fits the printed page better than the 2:3 of the classic 35mm frame. It’s also more of a challenge, and recalls my camera of yore, the Yashicamat 124G, an old-school twin lens reflex. With a TLR camera the rigour of the square frame is increased by the image always being reversed in the viewing glass. Not so in a modern digital, but the LX3 viewfinder is useless in such low light, making the camera a true point-and-shoot.