<<< o >>>night monument #2 17 comments + add yours

I was pleased with yesterday's shot, but I much prefer this one, mostly because of the sky – it has that beautifully surreal feel that you only get with long exposures at night.

As for processing: I've used a different white balance setting for this shot (as opposed to yesterday's) and the only other adjustment was a very slight bump in contrast. The deep saturation is entirely 'natural'.

capture date
focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
9.23pm on 26/11/04
Canon 20D
EF 17-40 f/4L USM
17mm (27mm equiv.)
1m 20s
perspective corrected
3x2 + night shots [long exposures] + fylde coast [scenic]
comment by Jessyel Ty Gonzalez at 05:59 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2004

I'm not quite satisfied with the composition. It appears you want to go for symmetry and centerness. Yet when you look at it, you're a little more to the right of the figure. Also, the circular steps at the bottom are cut off. For some reason, this feels more candid than it does prepared, which it should be I feel considering you have an eighty second exposure going on.

And speaking of long exposures... if it weren't for the surreal looking clouds on the left side, would we know this is a long exposure? Try taking advantage of the technique that is slow exposure. This shot would've looked almost the same (sans the clouds) during dusk or some other time. Perhaps you were just going for the clouds?

There are positives, don't get me wrong. The colors are great, and there are many interesting 'Picassoesque' shape readings in here. So many shapes...

comment by riff at 07:38 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2004

The composition is striking nonetheless. Though, if it was perfecly centered, I'm not sure if the railing between the 'legs' would've been so apparent. The sky's beautiful.. and the only indication that this was a long exposure.

erm.. this may not be the right place for this question, but in relevance to this shot, Jessel, what is the difference between slow and long exposures?

comment by miklos at 07:59 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2004

riff: I'm guessing slow exposure is anywhere between about 1/25 and 1. whereas long exposure is more than 2 seconds in length :) .. that's just my guess though.

I kind of agree with Jessyel though. Though the colours are great, I'm not sure if it justifies the slight lopsidedness ;)

comment by miklos at 08:00 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2004

hrm, I feel like a retard .. saying "though" so many times. Feel free to ignore at least 2 of the 3 occurances ;)

comment by Jessyel Ty Gonzalez at 08:02 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2004

Oops... after reading my comment, I made a mistake Riff. Instead of slow, I meant long. Sorry...

comment by miklos at 08:04 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2004

Ok then I made a mistake in my interpretation as well! I will RTFM. :)

comment by djn1 at 08:15 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2004

lol: the composition was based on the steps rather than the object, and though it's a little bit off, it's the upper ring of the steps that's centred. As for the bottom step: it's slightly cut off because I couldn't get far enough back to include it. Well, I could have done, but I would have introduced various bits of extraneous crap into the left edge of the frame.

What I might try with this one is re-shooting with a telephoto lens rather than wide angle as I suspect the composition might be a bit stronger in the absence of the converging verticals.

comment by Cameron at 10:00 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2004

...and don't forget to try for just the hand-rail shot... (I suspect you probably have done so already) :-)>
This is really nice, I love the rich saturation of colours. Is it a natural characteristic of long-exposure shots to get these type of rich colours?

comment by m at 10:02 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2004

It isn't always the minute detail that makes a good picture or as some would have it, the minute detail detract from a good picture.
Good picture, good composition, great colour.

comment by peterv at 10:20 PM (GMT) on 27 November, 2004

Yesterday's and today's are two remarkable images. I agree with Jesseyel Ty Gonzalez' comment about the slightly off centre nature of todays' shot.

The thing about long exposure. I disagree the shot would have looked the same at dusk or in the pm- I don't mean the clouds- I suspect the light on the railings on the RH side, for example, would have been from a different less focussed directon.

comment by Rodrigo Gómez at 08:30 AM (GMT) on 28 November, 2004

Cameron: I think that the colors here are because we have full moon this days, and that brings a lot of light (well, for night that is!) and strange colors, and even more with a "modified" white balance (wich, btw Dave, WB is not in the info of the shot).

As for the shot itself... I agree with the others... at first I didn't know this was a night exposure. The colors were strange, yes, but not totally apparent as a long and night exposure. I thought maybe before sunrise or something like that... anyway, I like the picture, the colors more than anything... totally surreal ... it has some kind of "dreamy" feeling.

Just a question... I have just found that I can't do bub exposures with remote capture software, like Canon's Remote Capture and DSLR Remote Pro. I don't know if this is a limitant from the camera itself, or from the software... how do you do bulb exposures? A release cable?


comment by fraxinus at 10:25 AM (GMT) on 28 November, 2004

Although the clouds are interesting and the blue oh-so-seductive, I much prefer yesterday's shot, which had more balance and mystery than this. In that shot you achieved an interesting sense of the whole picture having been conceived and produced using a 3D-rendering program - it looked like it had been drawn and ray-traced.
The shapes in this one are dominant but I find the horizon a bit too 'fussy' and the off-balance symmetry and curvature a bit disconcerting.

...and whilst on the subject of night photography, check out Lost America when you get a chance. You may not like the guy's style (he is a toy designer by profession!) but he really knows his night photography - and on film, with no digital enhancements.

comment by Daaave at 02:51 PM (GMT) on 28 November, 2004

Dave, I've got a question for you about the bulb mode of the 20D. Is it totally unlimited in length? My biggest problem with my little non-SLR Fuji is the max 15 sec limit on any exposure mode. How long could you leave the shutter open before the noise would be overwhelming? I'd love to capture star trails and the like but I'm not sure that many digital cameras could cope. I notice that this pic looks quite noise free so I thought I'd ask.

comment by djn1 at 04:21 PM (GMT) on 28 November, 2004

Rodrigo: I stopped adding WB information as I normally just leave it on auto then correct (or not) with DPP. As for bulb exposures: I use the TC-80N3 wired remote control.

fraxinus: thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

Daaave: my G5 is limited to 15 seconds too, and I think the main reason is that noise probably becomes totally unacceptable at longer exposures. As for the 20D, I don't know. Yesterday's shot was over seven minutes, and I did run it through Noise Ninja, but the level of noise was nowhere near problematic. I'm going to try some longer exposures at some point but would guess that it's probably going to be ok for exposures up to at least 20 minutes.

comment by Turfdigger at 07:23 PM (GMT) on 28 November, 2004

The sky makes the shot for me, compositional elements aside.

And for what it's worth, the 20D's little cousin the 300D/Digital Rebel has a max bulb setting of 2.5 hours when using a remote. That's one long exposure.

comment by djn1 at 07:34 PM (GMT) on 28 November, 2004

Cameron: sorry, missed your comment earlier. I'm going to try the handrail shot tonight as the clouds have finally cleared and there's no sign of rain. It's bloody cold though ;-) Which, so I'm led to believe, is a good thing in terms of image noise; i.e. at lower temperatures a camera's sensor produces much less noise. And yes, as best I can tell, the rich colours with night shots are quite common.

comment by MM at 10:46 PM (GMT) on 28 November, 2004

LOL... i love the humour in this picture. Looks like two monoliths having a face-off. :-)