Roadside view 2: Dark satanic mill

Dark satanic mill at Waiuku
Dark satanic mill at Waiuku, Franklin district. 2.46pm, 27 March 2018

As a magnificent blot on the landscape the steel mill at Waiuku, south of Auckland, is very impressive. In this shot its dreariness is stylised by layering, using the line of pines it is seen through. Another example of a “look-through” composition, this is one I was definitely searching for. Here the main feature seems almost an afterthought, but one nicely offsetting the dark verticals. The scene is also an example of limited palette (colour range), being close to monochromatic. However I saw during set-up the small smudge of green plant life at bottom centre, and the brown building below the belching chimneys.

I took a second shot with the mill in a more central position, yet this was less interesting. The scene above is underexposed of course, to saturate the highlights, and a smaller aperture can be another gain in doing this – and increased depth of field, no small matter with a telephoto lens such as the 85mm. Using f16 has insured sharpness throughout, with the luxury of a low ISO and a hand-held capture, to boot.

The phrase “Dark satanic mill” comes from an eschatological  poem by William Blake, whose text also forms the lyrics to the well known hymn Jerusalem.  This contrasts the forthcoming heaven-on-earth of the title with the hellish blight of many hundreds of mills, which scarred the country as it became the first to industrialise.

1/500th at f16. Nikon 85mm; ISO 250

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

 

158. Night blossom in Gothic

Night blossom in Gothic. 8.24pm, 30 September 2011

Correction does much, but encouragement does more. –  J. von Goethe

Driving back after sunset from an amble around Stratford, Taranaki, I was pleased to see this dramatic church in Inglewood, the next country town. The magnificent kowhai tree in front was laden with blossom, while a branch hung down above the main floodlight.

Not only could I photograph it hand-held – a rare event in night photography – but I belatedly found the Nikon D7oo even provided for sodium vapour lighting, tucked away under the Fluorescent heading. This corrected the lighting colour, giving a very good approximation of the intense yellow the kowhai is remarkable for.

28mm; ISO 2000. 1/80th at f5.6. Sodium vapour light balance