116. Suburban evening, New Plymouth

May 2, 2011 1:23 pm

116. Suburban evening, New Plymouth

Suburban evening, New Plymouth. 10.16 pm, 13 April 2011

Once again my title doesn’t really do this justice. The pleasantly secluded location borders Barrett Domain in Westown, on the western outskirts of New Plymouth. I have climbed up to this pastoral corner many times, having first discovered it on a sunny summer’s evening in 1976, when the grass was really long and my model especially obliging.

Here we are well into a lovely mild autumn evening, but I had not been under any illusion as to my distance from town. A curtain of trees screened this cameo from recent upmarket housing but city sounds were in good supply – despite the low demand. Earlier my wandering had been lit by a sinking waxing moon but this was soon blotted out by low cloud. Yet I was surprised at how effective this cloud was for night photography. Instead of using reflected sunlight (that is, moonlight) the Nikon D700 captured images by reflected urban glow, using similar exposures.

Experimenting with the usual light balance choices (Direct sunlight and Incandescent) and an LED torch, I added flash to the mix with the wide angle lens. This squared version uses Direct sunlight – and is to appear shortly in an ebook. In the Incandescent (tungsten) frames the dinky pinks in the cloud were mostly lost. Torchlight has filled in some of the harsher foreground flash but the highlights in the tree haven’t added much. The main impact seems to be in the contrast of pink and green.

Naturally I do several frames for each scene. Having invested time in setting up the tripod and picture composition, a few more minutes are the only extra cost for further experiment. Out in the field however it is often hard to evaluate the best frame, and thus the best ideas to continue with. Longer exposures taken after this one, for example, did not improve on the theme.

28mm, ISO 2000. Flash + 30 seconds at f4. Vivid picture control



Posted by Barney Brewster

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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.