Moonlight on Otaraoa Rd, Taranaki

Moonlight on Otaraoa Rd, Taranaki. 9.08pm, 22 August 2013

I was delighted to see cows in this paddock, unoccupied on my earlier visits to this quiet locality in north Taranaki. The cows were grazing in the moonlight but at a suitably languid pace, so the ten second exposure managed to  capture their essence. The gentle slope is on the other side of the road from the Motunui petro plant mentioned in my previous post. The contrast from one side of the road to the other – industrial to pastoral – is remarkable.

The bright industrial lighting from Motunui colours the low cloud nearby (thus the more distant clouds are unaffected). Low cloud on city margins will also colour up with moonlight photography, and over metropolitan areas the extent of low cloud tinting can be quite marked. Interesting landscapes can still be produced under such cloud cover, especially if there’s a full moon above it all.

A shorter exposure would have better minimised cloud and animal movement  for this shot. However, the wide angle lens gives better definition and depth of field at f4 than at the maximum aperture of f2.8. The warm tones of moonlight on the scene (clouds excepted) have not been adjusted. Moonlight has a lower colour temperature than daylight, so if we want to a result closer to how the human eye sees moonlit landscapes then Tungsten is a better choice for colour balance.

10 secs at f4. Nikon 28mm; ISO 2000

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