Getting it right
The process of taking a shot, analysing it and understanding how you could improve it is a very important process for me. I’m always trying to improve and never more so when I’m working in a genre I’m not comfortable with. Last night, my night shots of San Francisco left a lot to be desired, so tonight I was determined to try and get it right, or certainly improve!
My biggest mistake last night was camera shake. Initially I blamed this on my gorilla pod, but after some tests this evening I discovered it was actually down to the balcony of the hotel. So realising this, I set the camera on timer (I don’t have a shutter relase cable… it’s now on my list), composed the shot, set the aperture and shutter values, set the focus, clicked and then walked away. No more camera shake By the time the camera was taking a shot, I was in the hotel room, enjoying the view and drinking a beer. Landscape photography is hard work
The clouds tonight also helped. Last night the sky was crystal clear where as tonight the light was far more mixed. But with shutter speeds of 30 seconds turning moving clouds and water to milky masses, they helped enormously. They also helped diffuse the moons immense brightness.
One other thing I did differently was to turn off the noise reduction in the D3. Last night it would take an image (let’s say a 30 second exposure) and for the same length as the exposure, it would take a “blank” image. The purpose is to generate an image which is created solely due to noise, primarily from the sensor heating up. It would then subtract the two images from each other, effectively reducing noise. For me, I was far more concerned with the time involved. Every image was actually taking 2x the exposure time, so this evening I went with straight exposures without noise reduction. Obviously I haven’t printed them yet, but on screen I’m not upset about the decision