Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you…
Long day today at the gallery. The electrician was in all day installing 22 new high intensity lights with floods to better light the co-op walls. But the place has a lot of dry wall dust around and a simple sweeping will not be enough.
I needed to get away…
So at 5 I went home and took the doggy out. She was happy to see me to say the least. I really do not pay enough attention to her. But after a half hour there with her I grabbed:
- Fuji X-Pro 1 camera
- Fuji 18-55mm lens
- 3 stop ND
- 6 stop ND
- 10 stop ND
- Sekonic L758DR spot meter
- Remote shutter release
Please notice that I did not grab my camera bag…
So off we go to the island. I did the Pawleys Island Pier the other night so I headed to the south end and the groin there to shoot some long exposures.
It was nice out, warm and empty of people. Perfect. Got out the Sekonic, dialed in 6 stops of EV to correct for the B+W 6 stop ND, set the meter to ISO 200 and started taking reading off the sky just above the watery horizon. Got several changing values but it was fast getting dark. The first few image captures went very well and I was starting to warm up to the evening on the beach.
Feel guilty being out here tonight, Ellen (my wonderful wife) loves the beach and has been deprived of this for the entire year and to add insult to injury she is working all night at the local hospital. I suppose that i will just have to enjoy this for her.
I got some very nice 30 second shots at f/11 but I was aching for something more meaningful, you know around 20 minutes! So it is time to change things around and go after the really long exposure. I get out the meter again, set it and the camera to f/8 for the best sharpness, check the shutter speed… hmm f/8 @ 8 minutes but this is a metered spot on the horizon and I simply do not want it in Zone 5, so I add in 2 more stops to move it into Zone 7, set the camera and shoot!
Time goes by…
Still going by…
10 minutes have gone by… Why didn’t I bring a flash light? It is so dark that I can hardly see! Gee Mark YOU KNOW BETTER THAT THAT! So I give myself a smack on the head, then shake it in minor annoyance of myself and … HEY WHAT THE HECK!! MY FEET ARE WET!! THE TRIPOD IS SINKING INTO THE SAND! DANG! DARN CRAP!!
Stop the exposure at 11 minutes and move the tripod up the beach to dry sand and wait….
Dang, the in camera long exposure noise reduction takes sooooo looooonnnnggg… Didn’t I tell you that what ever you long exposure is the camera takes the same time after it to do a noise reduction???
I QUIT! I carry the tripod/camera to the truck with it still doing the noise reduction when it happens… you know, the REALLY BAD THING!
The camera quit the noise processing and the image pops up into the LCD panel and it is….
WHITE! WHAT HAPPENED?
I got wet for white? I stood here for 22 minutes for white?
THE EXPOSURE WAS PERFECTLY METERED AND ENTERED INTO THE CAMERA! THIS CANNOT BE MY FAULT…
I am SO STUPID! Look at that, the ISO has been set to 1600 instead of 200. How did that happen? I only shoot at high ISO’s when I am with the grandkids at Disney World! Now I recently got back from Disney and I took this camera and haven’t used it since then…. No, that can not be it, the first 30 second images came out properly as metered…
Hmm, lets see, ISO 200 to 1600, and the image had already been shifted from Zone 5 to Zone 7!
DANG AGAIN! That is an additional 3 stops of brightness.. ZONE 10!
!*:$@!)&$ DANG, (*!#&(^!(@&) DARN )(*&$&#@)$&
Ok, I am calm now, it didn’t cost any film, wet feet can dry and I can go out and shoot it again on another night. ZONE 10!!! No wonder the image was white! !#)*(#*@&(E*Q&R
22 minutes W A S T E D and no ultra long exposure.
OK, what did I/WE learn here?
- BRING A FLASHLIGHT!
- Be aware of the changing tide!
- If you are going to take super long exposures DOUBLE CHECK YOUR EXPOSURE VALUES and do NOT forget to check the ISO! I think someone walked up to the camera in the dark and changed it on me while my back was turned!
- Bring a change in socks!
See, we all make mistakes, even photographers with 48 years of experience!
Got it? I hope so, because I would be so embarrassed to hear that you made so many beginner mistakes, After all we do have appearances to keep up!
Smile, life goes on… and we occasionally get lucky. In the parking lot packing up to leave I see this across the tidal creek…
So the bear won this time but there is always tomorrow night…
I have had a lot of questions about this creek image. Mostly folks want to know how I got a dark blue sky in the deep night! And it was totally black out when I took this image. There was supposed to be NO moon this night. But for some strange reason there was the smallest sliver of it showing under its bottom. I mean so small that it was almost cut with a knife! The clouds below the moon were barely there because for what ever the reason the moon was getting a little light it reflected down and highlighted the clouds. Above the moon the sky took on the deep blue cast (again due the to the strange lighting on the moon). This only lasted about 5 minutes then the moon disappeared totally, the sky turned black and the clouds lost their light and faded from view.
The exposure data:
- ISO 200 (yes I double checked this time)
- 4 second shutter