October 17, 2010 10:28 pm
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
Categories: Night photography