15 December 2015

Friday Night Light(Houses)

"Timey Wimey Stuff" The progression of time represented in a single photograph from Nauset Light, Eastham, Cape Cod, MA. This image is a composite of images of the motion of the stars as the Earth rotates and images of the rotation of the light beam from the lighthouse. Canon 7D, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens,  ISO 400 (6400 for light beams), f/2.8, 30 seconds (x261 images) for the star trails (1/4 second for each of the light beams).

So many things to post! I have more #OptOutside photographs from my Black Friday trip to share, but I just couldn't wait to share this image. I made a quick photography trip to Cape Cod this weekend, with the express purpose of doing some more night photography. The weather looked a bit iffy, but Friday night ended up nice and clear in most Cape locations. So instead of resting from the long drive Friday night, I drove up to Nauset Light and spent the rest of the night (and a good part of early Saturday morning) trying to get some good lighthouse and star trail images.

It wasn't easy to find a good angle for a quality image of the lighthouse. There was a huge flood on the front of it, which drowned out the stars, and a huge plywood wreath was slung across the front. The wreaths seem to be somewhat of a tradition for Cape Cod lighthouses, and while it might be cutesy, from a photographic standpoint they are butt ugly. After working the angles for a while, I found that photographing from the backside shaded me from the offensive flood light and gave the best stars (I had to give up on getting concentric rings around Polaris). Then it was just a matter of waiting around about 3 hours on the cold hard gravel while my camera took 261 consecutive thirty second exposures using an intervalometer.

Despite the chill and the profound lack of sleep, it was a fabulous night to sit under the lighthouse and stare up at the star-filled sky. Every few minutes or so, I was treated to a Geminid meteor as well. It was an incredible experience, and given it was my first attempt at night photography in a long time, and my very first attempt at integrating star trails and a lighthouse, I didn't expect much more than a great experience and some photographic lessons learned.

As it turns out, looking at my camera back at the end of the night, I was hopeful that I really had something. Now that I've had a chance to process and put the images together, I'm really pleased with the results. It's gratifying to know that all that time in the field (and sleep deprivation), plus the hours of processing on the computer, paid off in more than just lessons learned.

I hope you enjoyed the image and I'll be back with more from Black Friday and my Cape Cod trip.

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