Friday, February 5, 2010

Night Photography

Yesterday evening, I was driving home when I noticed another one of those snow-melt puddles that collect all over the road. They make great reflective surfaces, but I saw that it looked even better at night; almost like a perfect mirror. As soon as I got home, I grabbed my gear and headed to the nearest suitable location.

click to enlarge, or see it on Flickr
Aperture: f/4.5
Shutter Speed: 5 seconds
ISO: 80

It turned out really nicely, I think. I completely ignored my light meter; it doesn't know what I want. The composition worked out well, and I'm glad to have a rock-solid tripod to hold my camera for really long exposures like this. Even at 5 seconds, I believe this was "underexposed" by about a stop.

In hindsight, maybe a slightly higher ISO would have worked for this. I really wanted to bring out the texture and contrast between the reflective areas of wet pavement and the shadows in the same pavement. On the other hand, the black would have been way more grainy than I wanted it. Maybe 80 was the way to go, but next time I'll be trying various ISOs.

I did almost nothing in PP. Bumped the contrast up by 3%, and added a somewhat large, but still rather unnoticeable vignette.

Anyway, this is my rebellious "break-all-the-rules" photo attempt. Severely underexposed, the histogram looks terrible, and I added a giant obvious vignette (which doesn't really count as rule-breaking, but it's definitely personal-code breaking).

Inspired by Weekend Reflections.


  1. I like the warm colours and the wobbly lines of the light.


  2. Lovely photo and reflection. The color is beautiful!

  3. haha... "it doesn't know what I want." :)

    I really like this shot, Andrew. I love the golden tones. I think bumping up the ISO would have done this shot a disservice -- you would have lost the glossiness of the water and it just wouldn't have been good. I think you mentioned before that you can't shoot in RAW? Was that you? Are you able to open the file as a RAW? If you choose "open as..." and choose "Camera Raw" you can sometimes get some better adjustments out for times like this when you're not quite happy with the exposure.

    Or if I'm off base and none of that applies to you, just ignore. :-P Either way, I think this is a successful shot. And the "obvious vignette" isn't as obvious as you might think. It just adds to the mood of the single light source beaming out into the darkness.

  4. Great shot! I think it works great just the way it is.

  5. ah - there it is! I saw it on your Flickr photostream earlier today. nicely done! I love that it is a night time reflection! Very cool!

  6. That's a nice shot. I like the way the light and the tree show up in the puddle. My attention was also drawn to the light in the background.

  7. I like how the light looks in the reflection the best. Fantastic work.

  8. I enjoy the interesting cast the photo has, ir is good to be rebellious sometimes! Do your own thing and all!

  9. Nice!!!!
    I always love slow speed photos...
    Well captured... :)
    I think I've missed some of your posts... I have to look for them right now... :D

  10. I like this alot. Love the lights, and the reflection is great. Kathy

  11. It may break all the rules I know nothing about, but I like it! I'd have to jump in there.

  12. Your photo looks pretty good to me Andrew. Light meters lie all the time because they meter for middle gray. I think your exposure came out fine. Nice composition too. I shoot all my available light at 1600 ISO (using Tri-X film) -- 80 is way too low for night shots unless you use a tripod.


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