A Night Photography Excursion

19 04 2008

Last night my old man, Kajo and I went out for an evening of night photography. This was pretty bullish as it had been raining on and off all day and the forecast was pretty lousy for the evening… but then it beats TV!

We decided to head out and shoot an old abandoned plane that another Flickr member Rob Des had done a nice job of shooting.

The first little problem came when we got out of the car… the ground wasn’t just wet, but it was literally a marsh… within 3 steps my shoes were totally sodden.

When we arrived the sky started clearing nicely and we thought we were going to have a great night’s shooting. We started shooting this old DC3 and I grabbed this shot before the clouds closed in on us again.

Night Flight

Shortly after this, we had to take shelter from the rain. Luckily the airplane wing provided plenty of cover from the elements…. We killed a bit of time by playing around with some light painting in the interior of the plane.

Once it stopped raining, we went outside and continued shooting, but without any breaks in the cloud, the night shots just looked like day shots. We decided to do some more experimentation with light painting and strobes and while we were learning a lot more about how strong to make our torch light, without scattered clouds in the background the shots just didn’t have the punch that we were looking at from night photography. We waited about another 30 minutes discussing everything from the merits of various noise reduction plug-ins to lens recommendations… however finally we called it a night and headed home.

Even though we only got about 20 mins of shooting in ideal conditions, the outing was a lot of fun and pretty educational.

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Putting the creativity back to the camera not photoshop

3 04 2008

Lately I’ve been going “retro” with my photography. I bought a spot meter and a creative filter kit for me camera. It’s all part of my deliberate effort to slow my photography down and shoot less shots that are higher quality.

Getting into filters again has been interesting. I decided to go with the ZPro size Cokin filter holder because it allows me to use my ultra-wide lenses without vignetting.

After a fair bit of research I decided to go with the Singh Ray Graduated ND filters which I love! I also decided to buy a Cokin 3 stop ND filter. I figured that even though Cokin are cheap filters I couldn’t go too badly wrong with a simple ND filter…… Wrong!

When I started shooting I noticed a kind of candy pink colour cast coming out in my shots (you can see it clearly in the shot below.

The Old Boy Being Swept Away

I was perplexed by the pink sky I was getting but didn’t get a chance to diagnose the source. About a week later I was shooting some sunrise shots and I clearly saw the pink cast again come up on the camera LCD, so I did a simple test… I pulled out the Cokin ND and left in the Singh Ray filter. Here’s the results…

Cokin's NOT SO Neutral Density Filter

Now whether you like the pink sky or not… the fact is that it SHOULD be neutral (the colour on the right). If I want a coloured sky then I would add a tobacco filter or colour it in post production. But I didn’t.

I have taken my Cokin ND back to the shop I bought it from and I am trying to get a refund. I am paying the extra money for Lee ND filters which have come highly recommended.

Moral of the story… You get what you pay for… filters aint filters.

BP