26. Gerry by broad moonlight, Ocean Beach, Hawkes Bay

October 17, 2010 10:28 pm

26. Gerry by broad moonlight, Ocean Beach, Hawkes Bay

Gerry by broad moonlight, Ocean Beach, Hawkes Bay. 11.08pm, 23 September 2010

My people shots by moonlight have been infrequent, but with the luxury of quality ISO 2000 on the new Nikon D700, I will do more. The movement factor widens the creative scope of long exposures considerably. Here it’s demonstrated simply, by Gerry taking a puff of her cigarette for 8 seconds (at f4, using a 28mm wide angle lens). What this pic lacks in an ember trail it makes up for with a startling daylight effect, supplied by just a few seconds of open shutter – my previous camera required 60 seconds minimum for this.

Given the usual warm tones of moonlight, a second surprise is the colour balance: an unexpected daylight feel, especially in skin tone. The auto balance is obviously a real performer. Unfortunately the auto focus is not so clever and nor am I: the lack of focus on Gerry shows. A less experienced photographer might pass this off as subject movement but the clue is in the fuzzy seaweed in the right hand corner. Supposing that I’m more experienced, shouldn’t I have realised that casual focus would not pay, even with a wide angle lens at f4? Conversely, had I focussed at 2 m, roughly my distance here, background sharpness would’ve been quite passable.. in mitigation I must plead fatigue after a great night of photography. Not to mention lack of practice with manual focus on the new lens – and auto focus settings.

This night visit was my first to the area and the view above is my only “daylight” impression of it. Although it’s a small settlement Ocean Beach seems to have some renown, and certainly the final approach down a steep narrow road cut into the hillside was  memorable for Gerry, at the wheel. Also memorable was the unseasonable 2 degrees Celsius, the result of a frigid southerly breeze “springing” up. Under the circumstances I told Gerry that for this photograph she could keep her clothes on.

Posted by Barney Brewster

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Categories: Night photography

Barney Brewster – NZ Landscape Photographer

Based in Nelson, Barney loves to capture the New Zealand landscape, mostly through long exposures at dusk or after dark.