Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.
– John Wayne
This is an image from a job the company took before we left for Africa. I once had someone give me the advice: “if you really want to learn how to be good at lighting in all situations. Try lighting a black bowling ball on a reflective surface.”
It’s true, it’s difficult and teaches you all the angles, leaves you no room for failure or minor mistakes. We however uncovered another good teaching tool through experience.
Try lighting a glass bowl on a black backdrop, with carvings on the bottom that need to be visible.
Shockingly simple: take a picture of a bowl. Fast forward three hours later to a broken glass bowl.
[just kidding, totally in tact]
Long exposures can be frustrating, time-consuming and technically challenging shots to get right. But worth it in the long run. Being able to accurately portray where you are and what you are seeing isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Funny enough, the more beautiful the place or face, the more difficult it is to do it justice.
So let’s break this one down.
Camera: Nikon D3s
Lens: 17-35 mm f/2.8 Nikkor
(consider this, anything longer than 125th of a second might start to show motion blur from either the subjects motion, or your hands and body moving as you try to hold the camera steady. You can still get a sharp shot at that shutter speed, but to help steady yourself, try bracing your camera on something, or if nothing is around, brace your upper arm and elbow against your ribcage, breathing in and exhaling completely. At the end of the exhale, take your shot)
Exposure: 30 seconds at f/2.8
(What a lot of people don’t consider is that adjusting the f-stop on your camera doesn’t only let in more or less light, it creates a variance in the images depth. f/2.8 for instance is wide open and only keeping a small portion of you image in sharp detail. Closing it to say f/22, lets in far less light, but also keeps everything in focus AND can give you richer colors. Your sky can come out bluer or your forests greener.)
Focal Length: 17 mm
(The higher the ISO, the more light particles of a landscape are picked up. The term comes from film days, different films have different speeds. The higher the number, the more silver particles are coating the film and thus able to record information onto. However, the more particles, the more visible they become. This is where you get film grain, or that pixelated look in dark spots of your image, you start seeing all those extra coatings of silver. We also call this “noise”)