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Going The Extra Mile

Like I said, I already have taken a couple of shots here so there really are but 2 possible outcomes when taking another picture: Either the picture I’m about to take will be worse than what I already have (and the chance of that happening gets higher every time I visit) or it will be better. In order to get a more pleasing picture I have to reflect on what is still missing in the previous pictures or where I messed up before. I then have to put that into practice, which isn’t always possible, because actually being on site makes you realize that your assumptions may have been flawed and there is no better way to do what didn’t work last time.

For the location in question I wanted to

  • capture the scene in a single exposure, no focus stacking, no exposure blending
  • make the lights on the wind turbines stand out
  • have no twigs or shrubs intruding the frame
  • make the most of the actual S curve

Into Darkness

It had to be a night scene, because the daylight sky had been rubbish the days before and that wasn’t going to change anytime soon. Of course, it was pitch dark and there was no light except for the light coming from the cars themselves. That made framing and focusing rather tricky, so I cranked the ISO all the way up to 25600 and started taking shots at f/2.8 and 1/3s shutter speed, slowly building up to the final composition.

Image composition the hard way

When that worked out I waited for cars to pass by and illuminate the scene so I could set the focus. One of the goals for this picture was to emphasize the lights on the turbines, another one was to get the picture sharp front to back without stacking. In order to get enough trails in a single exposure I had to expose for a couple of minutes anyway, so f/16 was my best bet. Sounds crazy to shoot at f/16 in pitch darkness, doesn’t it? Did I mention that I reset the ISO to 64? Madness!

2 thoughts on Going The Extra Mile

  1. nice job Thorsten this does get me thinking about the fact that i need to stop relying on PS to get the job done. Just get it right in the first place…in camera!

  2. Thanks Joseph! If there’s anything you can do in camera you should, because Photoshop may get close but you hardly ever get exactly what you intended, there’s almost always a compromise to make and that can quickly turn into a mess if there’s different issues you need to address.

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