Here begins a new series of recent images in the 16:9 wide screen ratio, posted for free download as background wallpaper on your monitor. (A right-hand click of your mouse over any image will show this option). Most of the work I have yet to show for this must be cropped from 24 x 36 frames, but those to come from my Lumix LX3 are taken in 16:9 ratio. Downloads are for personal use only.
Still round the corner there may wait / A new road or a secret gate And though I oft have passed them by / A day will come at last when I Shall take the hidden paths that run / West of the Moon, East of the Sun.
For the joy of the angels lies only in obedience to God’s will, and with equal joy they would lift a Lazarus in his rags to Abraham’s bosom, or be a chariot of fire to carry an Elijah home. –John Newton
To be exempt from the passions with which others are tormented, is the only pleasing solitude. – Joseph Addison
Driving north in the early evening, I paused on a 2 km disused section of the old highway, quaint now for its narrowness and rustic one-lane bridge. The night was cold and moonless, with a constant hubbub from the nearby highway. No one came by while I tussled with the split focus (between initial flash and the following l-o-n-g exposure) of gate/mountain with a telephoto.
I’m surprised to see Mt Taranaki lit up by the street lights of surrounding towns, but knew my own parking lights would contribute to the gate’s illumination. I was on my way back to New Plymouth, but after a long day on the road was too cold & weary to attempt more than this.
Most of us swim in the ocean of the commonplace. – Pio Baroja
Although I’m not really satisfied with this, returning for another attempt wouldn’t deliver the same magic I first found here. While commonplace as to foliage, the light on this scene was striking, being an ethereal effect of moonlight.
The shadows come from what’s behind each blade, not what’s in front. The view was directly towards the moon, but by looking downwards the hazard of lens flare was avoided. An intermittent breeze flustered the leaves, accounting for the soft outlines. However the elegant dance of backlit luminiscence can not be adequately portrayed by a static image.
Peering through a suburban cabbage tree involved an awkward set-up on sloping ground; every slight adjustment of the tripod also changed the ponga ferns relative to the foreground. I was however nicely sheltered from a frigid gale.
I’ve used a conventional depth of field method known as f22, rather than split focus (see no. 170). This is the next aperture down from f16; not many lenses have it so I’m glad to see f22 on my 28mm and my new 50mm lens.
With moonlight this means a fairly long exposure (292.1 seconds) to compensate, but it does give star trails instead of hyphens or stutters.
Experience is the comb that nature gives us when we are bald. – Anon
Another split focus, single frame experiment; the hairdresser’s quote is suggested by the full-frontal flash on the flower stalks. For the rest of the exposure the lens barrel has been swiftly rotated, moving the focus closer to infinity. This gives reasonable definition to the distant magnolias and a short star trail – but the depth of field is false and not otherwise possible at this close range with a telephoto.
This is the last I will show of the magnolias. The tree of course is now in full green leaf.
Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance. – Samuel Johnson
Taranaki is so wet that ferns thrive even out on their own, as here on farmland close to town. The extra lighting is from a penlight, and far more subtle than in my previous post. Ambient lighting is a mix of moonlight and the distant city.
Torchlight is more selective than flash, but getting the desired coverage can take some doing, in terms of how long you run the beam over the various foreground elements. I would’ve liked the lily’s supporting role to have featured more strongly. The good depth of focus tells you the lens is a wide angle one.
There are no innocent desires. – Luis Bunuel (attrib.)
This well lit figure stands by a pond fringed with planted natives. The pond is also fringed by the suburbs; it’s on a reserve within walking distance of home, one which is a pleasure to reach without having to take the car. There is plenty of colour and texture here, but the incandescent light balance has cooled the penlight effect. Focus was by eye and the use of a smaller aperture for better depth of field. This is easiest with a wide angle.
Plan for the future because that’s where you are going to spend the rest of your life. – Mark Twain
But why plan for the future when it’s already here? While waiting for a late moonrise I saw this spectacle, looming above the top floor of a parking building. Flash-assisted in deep twilight, the scene is straight from Pixar – add your own morlocks.
I selected the highest possible light balance to offset the bluish twilight. The lamp standards are a feature of this elevation but they stayed off this evening. I’m uncertain what the flimsy structure behind houses; do the double doors give a clue?
85mm, ISO 1000. 30 seconds at f16. Flash, colour temperature 10,000K
Time is the reef upon which all our frail mystic ships are wrecked. – Noel Coward
Here you see no ships nor port, but a curious effect of some tricky experimentation. Changing the focus manually during exposure gives two planes of focus! For technical reasons this works best on telephoto, using flash before a time exposure. The shadows are really silhouettes after the flash, where the flax stirred in the breeze.
The island is Moturoa and the glow behind it is explained by lights from a ship at anchor. Harbour lights illuminate Moturoa; although the moon was up it was quite hazy. The quote is appropriately theatrical.
The truth is more important than the facts. – Frank Lloyd Wright
I clambered up a cutting for this welcome perspective, then waited a while for a car to complete the picture, a 5 min 35 sec exposure. The car is actually a police car looking for me. A strange vehicle has been reported down a driveway, although mine is quite plainly parked in a large tanker layby, just out of frame.
Soon the police will return so I’ll descend to explain myself. Glad they’re on the job, but what’s with the dog? It’s a slow night for sure, but otherwise a great one for moonlight photography.
28mm, ISO 2000. 335 seconds at f22. Incandescent light balance
Too much light is like too much darkness: you cannot see. – Octavio Paz
Mt Taranaki and the Southern Cross. I’d had this viewpoint in mind for sometime, as it has a convenient carpark and a sweeping bend. Much depends on car speed, headlight direction and high or low beam – plus ISO choice and moon brightness – but my aperture here was too generous. So I’ve densitised the RAW result to get the desired effect.
Choose a local road but don’t leave it too late or you’ll sit waiting for traffic. And as the evening progresses, each passing vehicle takes a greater interest in your purpose out there.
The thing always happens that you really believe in, and the belief in a thing makes it happen. – Frank Lloyd Wright
Using the smallest aperture on the bridge I got both the near bones and the distant peak into sharp focus with a telephoto lens. A lower ISO was needed to extend the exposure for star trails but the moonlit sky is actually too bright for them.
The bridge has won several international awards. Its clever design has the spine start on one side and end on the other, to great effect. Mt Taranaki is often shrouded, so visitors are by no means guaranteed this line-up.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone. – Anon
Any “ordinary” photo of floodlit buildings will be lifted by background twilight, an obliging moon and the selection of an artificial light balance. Lady Godiva obliging on a white horse in front of the dark tree would’ve helped too, but unfortunately she was already booked for the Rugby World Cup.
If a tripod is not available, go to wide angle, increase the ISO and steady yourself for a slow hand-held using the self-timer. Take several and chances are you’ll get something adequate even at 1/10th – depending somewhat on how wide you go.
28mm; ISO 2500. 1/50th at f2.8. Sodium vapour light balance
On a mild spring evening a slip of a moon comes down the starry sky to a calm sea. What a marvellous programme! A bench seat was provided but there was no admission charge, applause or intermission – and no commercials. Truth be told though, I had to leave before the moon did, not wanting to inconvenience the patient souls sitting in my car…
A more consciously abstract image, the layered bands weren’t obvious on site. From below you see the cliff shadow, then the more distant Tasman Sea lit by the industrial shore, then a last lingering twilight below the stars.