All posts tagged light

I guess you can say I’ve gotten myself into the night photography stuff a bit. I know the pictures with the light trails are pretty much as cliché as clichés come, but I always try to look at it from… well… a different angle 😀
I’ve tried that with the images you’ve found here that I took from the window of my apartment. I’ve tried that with for example the dead badger (talking about different angles, if any 😉 although that wasn’t really about the light trails, I had completely different intentions with that one). And I’ve shot a few mushrooms with light trails in the background, so I guess in many ways I’ve managed to get it a bit un-cliché.

My aim is always to not go stand on a straight road. Not to shoot at that “normal” angle. That would be plain boring. I usually try to find a point of view or a location where several roads collide. And then it usually still takes some post-processing, because I think it’s virtually impossible to get light trails to actually visibly cross in one exposure of say 10-30 seconds.


D700, ISO200, 10 sec @ f/22, Nikkor 14-24mm

I mentioned before… I think I also mentioned in one of them that I was waiting for some blue lights from ambulances or fire trucks. Well, I got my wish. At least partly. Usually they always speed by, which would give a nice blue stripe in the picture, but now they were all gathering across the street here.
An extra bonus was that there was a tram coming out of this street, which it usually never does.

And again it’s a whole different world…


D700, ISO200, 20 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm. Bits and pieces put together from six different images in Photoshop.

(In the mean time this is growing into a nice little collection. Exhibition material maybe?).

As a photographer you know that “light” is one of the most essential variables in anything you do.
Living in a country as Finland, and especially in winter, you see funky things happen with light whenever there’s snow around. It may be in the middle of the night, and pitch black, but with a nice pack of snow, it could almost be twilight, because the snow reflects every bit of light.
It’s the same with both natural light and artificial light.

Yesterday I shot a picture of the street down here in daylight, the sky so overcast that it was a perfectly white massive softbox, good for nice and neutral colors.

This morning I set up the camera again, but earlier. It was still (or again) overcast, but there was the shade of this 15 minutes of civil twilight, where everything turns blue for a short while. It was just before 9am when I took the first shots, with the street lights still burning. It’s funny how the street lights seem to absorb all natural light and throw off this funky orange hue.
Below first the colors as the camera recorded it (slightly accentuated from the RAW file) and on second what I turned it into (because I like it better when it looks a bit warmer 😉 ).


D700, ISO200, 30 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 50mm, Singh-Ray VariND, 5 images combined in Photoshop


D700, ISO200, 30 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 50mm, Singh-Ray VariND, 5 images combined in Photoshop

But then, I actually didn’t know this was going to happen beforehand, the street lights switched off. It was in the  middle of one of the 30 second exposures when that happened, so in that particular image (not posted here) you can actually see the after-glow of the street lights. That image ended up somewhat underexposed (salvageable, but not really interesting), but the following exposures gave a nice example of how big an influence the light, its color and the color of the environment influences the image you take.

Below again first the image with the colors as the camera recorded it, and the next one adjusted to how we “know” a snowy scene is supposed to look.


D700, ISO200, 30 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 50mm, Singh-Ray VariND, 4 images combined in Photoshop


D700, ISO200, 30 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 50mm, Singh-Ray VariND, 4 images combined in Photoshop

A few months ago I posted a picture taken from the window of my new apartment. It’s really an excellent place to overview what’s going on “in the world below”.
Now that winter’s finally set in, and we’ve got some snow on the ground, it changes everything. The place is the same, but it looks like it’s a completely different world.

I’ll let the picture speak for itself (starting to think there may be an interesting series in this…):


D700, ISO200, 30 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 50mm, Singh-Ray VariND filter, three exposures combined in Photoshop

They’re a pain in the arse. Especially when you’re in them. But sometimes, when you’re NOT in them, and you have a nice overview of what’s going on, a traffic jam can be a very inspiring thing. When you’re a photographer, at least.

Traffic jam

D700, ISO200, 30 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm, Singh-Ray VariND filter

The cool thing is that you can take a whole series of shots and they all turn out differently. And then you can combine stuff. Take a car from here, a tram from there, some tail lights from a third, etc. etc. And “minor” details like a biker and/or pedestrian from a few others to set the mood.

Now all I’m waiting for is ambulances, fire trucks and police cars to race by so I also get some blue lights in there still. Since that happens pretty much on a daily basis, it’s just a matter of time.
To be continued…? 😉

The way you usually want to see it, but not always (or always not) when you’re a photographer, unless you have something from a different angle in mind. Big bright ball of fire up in the sky, screwing up your exposures and your contrast.
There are going pictures around on the net all the time where photographers are creative with what nature offers them. I found my own little thing the other day when I was out and about with the camera at hand.
Since here in Finland things don’t really get dark anymore around this time, at least not during the times that one is supposed to consciously live it, the street lights don’t go on anymore.
But with a little bit of help from that big ball up in the sky you can make any light switch on 🙂

Street light

D700, ISO200, 1/3000 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 50mm

A little light in the dark…

Lights on a graveyard

D200, ISO100, 8 sec @ f/19, Tamron 28-75mm

Wow, a milestone day… Day 100 and spending it with the Better Half. How nice is that? 🙂
Wouldn’t want to deprive you, my readers, from a post on this remarkable day, though!
And of course (even a tad bit late) use this opportunity to wish everyone an excellent Christmas and a healthy, successful, prosperous and humorous 2011!

Those gloomy days of Christmas… Too little light (even candles), a blizzard raging outside (already for 2 days) and a good book.

Merry Christmas!

D700, ISO1600, 1/250 @ f/4.8, Nikkor 50mm

I’ve been a good boy, proven by the fact that I got my share of presents from Santa, but I also bought myself a Christmas present, which was delivered right in time on Friday afternoon.
A limited, First Edition of Stephen King’s Secretary of Dreams Volume 2 with artwork by Glenn Chadbourne. Had to wait for it for almost 2 years, but it was worth it. Very appropriate on these dark, cold days. It took me a whole of 1,5 days to read the 260 pages. I think I’m going to have to read it again. And again. And again 😉

Secretary of Dreams, Volume Two

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/3.3, Nikkor 50mm, on-camera flash

After today I’m going to take a little break. I’ll still write, of course, but my days won’t be so oblivious anymore, because She’s coming over for a visit (how stupid does that sound? My Better Half’s coming over for a visit).
And so, especially for Her, on the day of Her return, I dedicate an oblivious post to one of Her favorite items (and probably one of my biggest pet  peeves). The Double Bubble (aka Tupla Kupla) by one of Finland’s greatest designers Eero Aarnio. As a fashion item I think it’s a total “onding”. That’s Dutch for, literally translated, “unthing”, which is basically a very appropriate name, even in English 😀
Sure, it’s a financial investment (or so they say), but you know what they say about monkeys and gold rings…
But being a photographer, I think I actually managed to do something interesting with it. A color gel and rotating goes a long way…

Tupla Kupla by Eero Aarnio, in Arno style

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm, off-camera SB800 with green gel

Myeah… when you live up north and most of the day is dark, you get quite some opportunities to shoot during the “night”.
We went to an old part of the railway area and there’s lots of stuff to shoot. If not old wagons or other equipment, it’s old buildings.
This we ran into just before we left. Notice the train that passed in the background during the 91 sec exposure… Happy coincidence at a railway area 😉

D200, ISO100, 91 sec @ f/27, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 91 sec @ f/27, Tamron 28-75mm