So, randomly, I decided to head out to hampstead heath in the middle of the night. I was checking the weather for the next day and noticed that the sky’s where very clear. My brain, after watching a BBC Horizon on astronomy, thought it would be a great idea to try some star trails. But i made a bit of an epic fail… the moon was full (ish). Apparently seeing stars work better when it’s dark outside.
On the way to the Heath i noticed this.
I thought i’d see what would came out with a long exposure here. I’m impressed with the light quality of this exposure. But on reflection I wish i’d focused on the builders more, maybe with a zoom lens and pick out just the builders of the sparks flying off their power tools. Might have to pop back again.
Now walking up on Hampstead Heath i noticed that the skys where very bright from the moon. As i returned after a failed attempt at star trails i thought, I wonder what exposure I’ll need for the moon light to expose the local Lido.
So setting up the tripod and faffing with focus, which by the way is SERIOUSLY hard in the dark. I sort of solved this by setting the iso to 25600 put on live view and manually focused. Ideally i’ll bring a torch next time and place it near the building run back to the camera, pull focus, run back and grab the torch, then run back to the camera. Though might want to do that when you’ve got someone with you to shine the torch so your camera isn’t left on it’s lonesome.
I took three exposures. The first was a test at about 2 minutes. Which was enough to add some light to the skys but the building was still in silhouette. So I pumped it up to 6 minutes and got the building nicely exposed but the sky was too bright, probably due to the bright moon. So i took a final exposure of about 2 and a half minutes.
In photoshop I took the sky from the last and the building from the second exposure and mixed them together. After fiddling with the usual culprits of contrast and saturation I then gave the Tonal Contrast filter a tickle and i ending up with this;
Overall I’m quite happy with this shot. I have a few niggles and definitely want to try a few more long exposures in the future as i have further ideas. Noticed I tried to add drama to the finished image by cropping it to 16:9 aspect ratio.
Where would i like to go with long exposures? I’d like to give some light painting a go next, but am a touch worried about leaving my camera alone as i run around a field with a torch in the dark. Maybe I can get someone to come with me, but asking a friend to join me on Hampstead Heath at midnight might raise a few eyebrows.
Till next time,
Gordon C Burns
ps I have a flickr mostly filled with event photo’s http://www.flickr.com/tmir_media/ check it out!