<<< o >>>midnight blue 13 comments + add yours

This was taken on Blackpool beach, facing north towards Fleetwood, at around 9pm last Friday evening. We'd been down on the beach photographing this year's International Fireworks competition (which was a bit disappointing in comparison to some of the other display's I've seen in recent years) and then decided to hang around and do some night photography.

If you've already taken a look at the original you'll see that a) I used two images, and b) that the final version is quite different to both of them.

I did plan on shooting this as a single frame (the image on the left) but the sky in the upper-right section ended up being very bright and featureless. The reason for this is that the clouds were drifting across the sky during the two minute exposure (f/5.6, ISO 100). The other shot started out as a test image, taken to calculate the exposure time I'd need for the longer exposure. There are different ways to do this, but I typically shoot at f/2.8 and ISO 6400, and then work out the exposure from there. The benefit of doing this is that you can easily calculate the exposure you need, but you can also check the composition (often difficult when it's very dark).

So, the exposure for the test shot was 0.6s at f/2.8 and ISO 6400, which translates to 2 minutes at f/5.6 and ISO 100.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the sky looked better in the test shot, but the detail in the lower section was compromised through shooting at f/2.8 and ISO 6400, so I merged the two and then noise reduced the sky from the test shot. I also changed the white balance of both shots (to almost blue), tweaked the contrast, then added shifted the saturation and tone to produce a darker, colder shade.

Let me know if you think it was worth the effort.

16x9 + night shots [long exposures] + fylde coast [scenic] + show the original
comment by Nick at 06:39 PM (GMT) on 21 September, 2011

Definitely worth the effort Dave. A very calming image.

comment by Alex at 06:44 PM (GMT) on 21 September, 2011

I feel like the blue is a bit much (kind of just partial to the original tones), but a great shot all the same.

comment by csj@ID7 at 07:05 PM (GMT) on 21 September, 2011

It's always worth the effort, and again another example of using the tools at your disposal to achieve the desired result, cool!

comment by Carlos Garcia at 07:11 PM (GMT) on 21 September, 2011

I sure miss these... stunning and captivating results David. So glad that you are back at the shore :)

comment by John De-Terville at 07:37 PM (GMT) on 21 September, 2011

The final image does not reflect the amount of effort you describe to produce it. That said it looks quite natural and more like a single shot just tinted. Do you see the the final image as a salvage or an insight?

comment by simon jenkins at 07:38 PM (GMT) on 21 September, 2011

I really like the image, toning is a personal matter and i like this, i took a picture at a lake recently that had some distant lights in the background, i really like these horizon lights.

comment by djn1 at 07:44 PM (GMT) on 21 September, 2011

Thanks everyone.

John: I've shot a lot of night shots like this one - a lot of sodium light, so very orange - and while they usually look quite good on the back of the camera I usually end up either converting them to black and white or toning them with a more natural colour. So, to answer your question, it was more a case of experience than either insight or salvage.

comment by Ian Mylam at 10:28 PM (GMT) on 21 September, 2011

I love this shot - all the more so for watching you make it, and then seeing the final processed image. The only thing which has me baffled is how you calculated a two-minute exposure at f/5.6 and ISO 100 from a test exposure of 0.6 sec at f/2.8 and ISO 1600. I calculate around 40 seconds at f/5.6 and ISO 100, since ISO 1600 to ISO 100 combined with f/2.8 to f/5.6 is six stops total - what did I do wrong?

comment by djn1 at 06:22 AM (GMT) on 22 September, 2011

Sorry Ian, I must have been half asleep when I wrote the entry - the test shot was taken at ISO 6400 rather than 1600.

comment by John at 11:59 PM (GMT) on 22 September, 2011

I think it was worth the effort. Your landscapes rarely disappoint.

comment by Miles at 11:46 AM (GMT) on 23 September, 2011

Incredible. This is one of my more favorite of your recent photos.

comment by Dan Kaufman at 01:17 AM (GMT) on 24 September, 2011

Yes, it was absolutely worth the effort, or in the hands of a master shall I say... effortless.

comment by Christiane Nicely at 08:45 AM (GMT) on 28 September, 2011

I absolutely love this! *dreaming of a new camera*