For the second consecutive week the Image of the Week is an example of night photography. Sleeping Grain may look like a typical daytime photo, but a closer look reveals it was actually captured well after the sun had set for the evening.
I went driving on a clear Friday two nights before the full moon in search of field to shoot. There was a slight breeze to add a bit of motion to the wheat and a clear sky to allow the moon to light the field. I shot with the moon behind me looking to the west to capture the stars and the last gasps of twilight.
There are some interesting contrasts between this image and last week’s Midnight Light. This image was a 30 second exposure at 200 ISO and ƒ2.8 while the previous was 4 seconds at 400 ISO and ƒ1.8. Both images were captured with the D300. So, why the huge difference in exposure, and why was the image with a bright sky the longer exposure? Seems a bit counter intuitive, doesn’t it?
The key is the lighthouse and it’s bright lens. In Midnight Light I needed to gather as much light as possible from the scene quickly before blowing out the highlights around the lighthouse. Therefore, a slight bump in ISO and the wide open aperture of my brightest lens. When shooting Sleeping Grain I wanted the wheat to be fully exposed which required a long exposure. There was nothing of consequence in the scene that would be overexposed, so a full 30 second exposure was the best choice.
Night photography can open up new worlds of possibilities, but also present some interesting challenges. July is an ideal time to grab your tripod and go play with the moonlight!
- RAW image with Nikon D300 @ 200 ISO
- Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 Pro DX Lens
- 30 seconds @ ƒ/2.8
- Friday, July 23, 2010 @ 22:25
- Verbort, Oregon, USA