I had a great weekend at the cottage. I got to hang out with some great friends, consume a lot of beer, and eat some delicious food. The weather was even nicer than I expected. It was a bit chilly, but the sky cleared up enough for me to do some night photos, and there was very little wind. The conditions were, in fact, perfect for what I wanted to do. I was able to set up my camera on the dock and get some 30 second exposures. The dock is partially floating, and I was worried about movement during the long exposures. But the water level was low, and the river was extremely calm, so it didn’t turn out to be a problem.
I was actually surprised how dark it was out there. The first ones I took forced me to use the largest aperture on my wide lens (f4.5) and longest exposure possible (30 seconds) at ISO800. I was a bit concerned about noise, especially since the colors are so uniform in this, but it worked out ok.
After a few hours, and a number of bottles of beer, I went out again. The sun had risen above the trees behind me, so it gave me a bit more light to work with. I was able to step back down to ISO400. I really wanted a photo with the boat house, and the boat in the foreground, but it was too dark to resolve them. I grabbed the big flashlight from the cabin and painted the boat house and the boat during the 30 second exposure. It took a lot of experimentation to get it right, but I’m happy with the results. 🙂
Normally I just process to JPG and sRGB, but that didn’t give me great results with this gradient-heavy image. The sky looked blotchy and ugly, even at the best JPG settings. I processed to 16-bit TIFF and AdobeRGB instead, and that smoothed things out. It was more work, but the results are worth it I think.