August 2013 Nightscapes

0780 Moonlit grass

0780 Spring grass by moonlight

 

3002 Last glow over Mt Taranaki

 3002 Last glow over Mt Taranaki

 

3512 Tank farm, Taranaki

3512 Tank farm, Taranaki

 

3372 Outlook on Saddleback

3372 Outlook on Saddleback

Evening images in the 16:9 wide screen ratio, posted for free download as background wallpaper on your desktop. Downloads are for personal use only.

 

July 2013 Nightscapes

Cook Strait twilight

5091 Twilight Crossing, Cook Strait

 

3014

3014 Last light from South Taranaki

 

143.2044

2044 At Pukerimu, near Cambridge

 

150.3133

3133 Moonlit mountain from Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth

 

Evening images in the 16:9 wide screen ratio, posted for free download as background wallpaper on your desktop. Downloads are for personal use only.

June 2013 Nightscapes

145.2481 Moturoa hilltop, New Plymouth

2481 Moturoa hilltop, New Plymouth

 

 

 

 

 

144.2408 Outskirts, Eltham

2408 Church camp, Eltham, Taranaki

 

 

 

 

 

147.2930 High tide at Mangawhai

2930 High tide at Mangawhai, Northland

 

 

 

 

 

143.2039 Angel at Waikato

2039 Angel at Pukerimu, Cambridge

 

 

 

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.

 

297. Up 233 moonlit steps

233 steps by the moon
Up 233 moonlit steps, Back Beach, Taranaki. 10.07 pm, 27 March 2013

To Barney’s pulpit rock I climb / Where the sea aisles burn cold / In fires of no return / And maned breakers praise / The death hour of the sun.

James K. Baxter, In fires of no return

28mm; ISO 2000. 30 seconds at f11

 

296. Perfect evening, Ngamotu Rd

Perfect evening, Ngamotu Rd
Perfect evening, Ngamotu Rd, New Plymouth. 10.17 – 10.21pm, 25 March 2013

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow / Out of this stony rubbish?          Son of man, / You cannot say, or guess, for you know only / A heap of broken images    – T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

85mm; ISO 500. 4 minutes at f16

295. City limits, Hurdon twilight

City limits, Hurdon twilight
City limits, Hurdon twilight, New Plymouth. 8.03 pm, 28 March 2013

  Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.  –  Napoleon Bonaparte

50mm; ISO 2500. 30 seconds at f22. Flash; sodium vapour light balance

294. Illumination, Ngamotu Rd

Illumination, Ngamotu Rd
Illumination, Ngamotu Rd, New Plymouth. 9.51 pm, 25 March 2013

 You should listen to your heart, and not the voices in your head.  –  Marge Simpson

50mm; ISO 2000. 2 seconds at f5.6. Sodium vapour light balance

 

293. Blue of larkspur, Spotswood

Blue moment in Spotswood
Blue of larkspur, Spotswood, New Plymouth. 9.08pm, 25 March 2013

Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand / In blue of larkspur,                            blue of Mary’s colour / Sovegna vos  –  T.S. Eliot, Ash Wednesday IV

85mm; ISO 2000. 4 seconds at f9. Sodium vapour light balance

 

292. Half moon with cricket song

Half moon with cricket song
Half moon with cricket song, New Plymouth. 9.20 pm, 22 March 2013

 Let us go then, you and I / When the evening is spread out against the sky /            Like a patient etherised upon a table  –  T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

28mm; ISO 2000. 5 seconds at f5.6. Flash

291. There are no eyes here

There are no eyes here
There are no eyes here, New Plymouth. 8.21 pm, 14 March 2013

There are no eyes here / In this valley of dying stars / In this hollow valley /                This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms  –  T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

85mm; ISO 500. 30 seconds at f16. Incandescent light balance

 

 

290. Just the ash, Taranaki

Poetry is just the ash
Just the ash, Taranaki. 11.12 pm, 27 February 2013

If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.  –  Leonard Cohen

50mm; ISO 2000. 30 seconds at f11

288. Whither Michael Smither?

Michael Smither country
Whither Michael Smither? Waiwhakaiho River at Alfred Rd. 10.56 pm, 27 February 2013

 In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.  –  Alfred Stieglitz

85mm; ISO 2000. 25 seconds at f8. Incandescent

287. Rising moon on Razorback

Rising moon on Razorback
Rising moon on Razorback, Taranaki. 9.14 pm, 27 February 2013

 All of us must indulge in a few small follies if we are to make reality bearable.  – Marcel Proust

28mm; ISO 2500. 30 seconds at f11. Flash

271. Moonrise, Wrantage Street

Moonrise, Wrantage Street. 8.58 pm, 30 October 2012

 Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it … Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives.  –  Joshua Foer

28mm; ISO 2000. 1/2 sec at f5.6. Sodium vapour light balance

270. Among mysteries

Among mysteries, New Plymouth. 9.09 pm, 31 October, 2012

Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries.  –  Theodore Roethke

50mm; ISO 2000. 15 seconds at f9. Incandescent light balance; flash

 

269. Still round the corner

Still round the corner, New Plymouth.  10.49 pm, 30 October 2012

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.

                                                                                                            – J.R.R. Tolkien

85mm; ISO 2000. 20 seconds at f16. Sodium vapour light balance

 

268. Mother ship obviously poised

The mother ship is obviously poised. 9.20 pm, 26 October 2012

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

28mm; ISO 2000. 30 seconds at f13

267. Beam before landing

Beam before landing, Taranaki.  9 pm, 26 October 2012

Miracles occur, / If you dare to call those spasmodic / Tricks of radiance miracles. / The wait’s begun again, / The long wait for the angel, / For that rare, random descent.
Sylvia Plath

50mm; ISO 2000. 30 seconds at f9. Incandescent light balance

266. Nightfall in Young Street

Nightfall in Young Street, New Plymouth. 8.17 pm, 11 October 2012

 Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift. – Albert Einstein

85mm, ISO 2000. 1 second at f8. Sodium vapour light balance

265. Echoes in Westown

Echoes in Westown, New Plymouth. 8.05 pm, 29 August 2012

Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week. –  Spanish proverb

85mm; ISO 640. 8 seconds at f5.6. Sodium vapour light balance


256. Almost spring, Westown

Almost spring, Westown, New Plymouth. 7.54 pm, 29 August 2012

 There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.  –  Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

85mm; ISO 1000. 30 seconds at f11. Sodium vapour light balance

255. What we call reality

What we call reality. 11.14 pm, 25 August 2012

What we call reality is an agreement that people have arrived at to make life more liveable.  –  Louise Nevelson (US photographer)

50mm; ISO 2000. 15 seconds at f11. Sodium vapour light balance

 

254. Life was Beauty

Life was Beauty. 12.49 am, 26 August 2012

   I slept, and dreamed that life was Beauty; I woke, and found that life was Duty.  –  Ellen Sturgis Hooper

50mm; ISO 2500. 30 seconds at f16. Flash

 

 

253. The case for magic realism

The case for magic realism, Taranaki. 12.57 am, 26 August 2012

There is no substitute for moonlight and kissing.  –  Barbara Cartland

85mm; ISO 2000. 70 seconds at f16. Flash

252. Peekaboo moon, Taranaki

Peekaboo moon, Taranaki. 1.05 am, 26 August 2012

Artists are born kneeling; they fight to stand. Critics, by nature of the judgement seat, are born sitting.  –  Hortense Calisher (US novelist) [adapted]

50mm; ISO 2000. 30 seconds at f16. Sodium vapour light balance

249. Magnolias at night, late winter

Magnolias at night, late winter. 9.45 pm, 18 August 2012

 Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine. –  Buddha (attrib.)

85mm; ISO 1000. 63 seconds at f2.5. Sodium vapour light balance

241. Darkness on the Old Mountain Rd, Taranaki

Darkness on the Old Mountain Rd, Taranaki. 6.51 – 6.56 pm, 9 July 2012

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.

85mm; ISO 2500. 335 seconds (5.5 mins) at f11

 

 

206. Taranaki evening, young moon

Taranaki evening, young moon. 6.17 pm, 3 August 2011

My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world, and exiles me from it.  –  Ursula K. Le Guin

28mm, ISO 2000. 1 sec at f11. Flash

 

175. Mokau twilight

Mokau twilight. 6.54pm, 20 September 2011 

There is no duty we so much underestimate as the duty of being happy.

Being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.   –  Robert L. Stevenson

85mm, ISO 2000. 1 sec at f16. Flash

172. Backlit by moonlight

Backlit by moonlight. 2.47 am, 11 November 2011

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.

50mm, ISO 2000. 10 seconds at f4

171. Moonlit natives

Moonlit natives. 2.36 - 2.41 am, 11 November 2011

Friendship is a sheltering tree. –  S.T. Coleridge

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.

28mm, ISO 2000. 5 minutes at f22

 

 

 

170. Some colours of spring

Some colours of spring. 10.11pm, 8 September 2011

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.

85mm, ISO 2000. 30 seconds at f8.

 

169. Fern and farm, autumn night

 

Fern and farm, autumn night. 8.58pm, 19 May 2011

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.

28mm, ISO 2000. 30 seconds at f5.6

168. Mardi gras

 

Mardi gras. 9.39pm, 13 April 2011

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.

28mm, ISO 2500. 30 seconds at f8

167. Plan for the future

 

Plan for the future. 8.23 pm, 13 October 2011

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

 

166. Frail mystic ships, Port Taranaki

Frail mystic ships, Port Taranaki. 7.08 pm, 10 September 2011

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.

85mm, ISO 2000. 30 seconds at f16. Flash

165. Later that same evening

Later that same evening. 10.52-10.56pm, 17 July 2011

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

164. Moonlit evening, passing car

Taranaki moonlight, passing car
Moonlit evening, passing car. 9.57pm, 17 July 2011

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.

28mm, ISO 2000. 30 seconds at f6.3

163. Moonlight on Te Rewa Rewa

Moonlight on Te Rewa Rewa. 2.29-2.32 am, 20 January 2011

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.

85mm, ISO 500. 157 seconds (2.5 minutes) at f16.

161. Kiwi Gothic, Inglewood, with crescent moon

Kiwi Gothic, Inglewood, with crescent moon. 8.09 pm, 30 September 2011

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

 

160. Spring moonshine: Free performance

Spring moonshine: Free performance. 8.54pm, 29 September 2011

No state of affairs is ever perfect. –  Horace

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.

85mm; ISO 2000. 58 seconds at f7.1