| GEO photo |
and compare the results with and without the filter.
For this type of photography with infinity focus, long exposure times and a wide variety of possible exposure settings, you can afford to be very experimental. For this reason, it makes sense to adopt a manual approach to all of your settings: aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance. With a zoom lens and exposure times of several seconds, you could also try the ‘zoom burst’ effect, whereby you turn the zooming ring to alter the focal length and angle of view of your composition while the shutter is open. This results in a blurred but balanced image of even-length light streaks spreading from the centre to the edge and corners of the frame.
SCENERY SELECTION If a west-facing coast isn’t a prospective location, try heading to a higher elevation before sunset. Mountains and hills often provide a 360° view from the summit, so the view west to the twilight zone (or east if you fancy camping overnight and setting the alarm for an hour before dawn), should provide the perfect vantage – weather permitting.
City skyscrapers, bridges, look-outs from tall buildings or scenic mountain roads also all have superb potential as attractive locations for photographing the sky and surroundings at twilight. The elevated position offered by these viewpoints will also give depth and scale to your compositions. Man-made structures that break the horizon – such as bridges, tower blocks, church spires and domes – may also provide additional shape to your composition, even when rendered as silhouettes.
In urban areas, consider making a modest climb to higher ground with a view over streets and buildings. As night falls, streetlights and neon lights switch on to provide a dynamic element of foreground illumination to complement the changes in the sky. This mix of natural and artificial lighting can be manipulated further for photography by altering your white balance setting. Neon, tungsten and sodium lights all have different colour temperatures, as does sunlight at different times of the day, so manually altering the camera white balance will change the tone and saturation of a light source. The more different light sources there are in a scene, the greater the variety of effects that can be rendered by changing the white balance setting. Again, experiment and shoot as many images as possible.
TIMING AND CHANCE There can be no questioning the notion that successful twilight images require an element of chance because many factors remain beyond the photographer’s control. For example, bad weather and heavy cloud cover may remove all possibility of a successful outing. However, experimenting with changes to white balance settings and a variety of exposure values can – by chance – lead to brilliant and unrepeatable images.
That said, should weather conditions and location be favourable, the time available to you for a productive twilight shoot is very brief. Therefore, make sure you arrive at your destination with time to spare to set up and check that everything is ready for the twilight show. And when you start to shoot, don’t waste a moment.
Dos & don’ts of photographing at twilight
Get to your viewpoint early, before sunset, in order to set up your camera on the tripod, compose the scene and have the remote release ready to fire Use the camera self-timer if you have no remote or cable release to fire the shutter. Exposure times will be several seconds, even longer Take as many pictures as possible at diﬀerent exposures and focal lengths – a zoom lens is a good choice to avoid time-consuming lens changes
Use autofocus. Switch it oﬀ. Instead, focus manually to the infinity setting Stick to the metered readings for all your exposures. Use manual mode for setting exposure, and experiment with exposure times and compare the results Release the shutter by pressing the shutter button with your finger as this will cause camera movement and vibration, even on a tripod
NEXT MONTH: P H OTO G R A P H I N G S TO R M S
RECOMMENDED READING TWILIGHT: PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE MAGIC HOUR
by Martin Barnes, Merrell, hb, £35 NIGHT AND LOWLIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY:
THE COMPLETE GUIDE by Lee Frost, David & Charles, pb, £14.99
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO DIGITAL NIGHT & LOWLIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY by Tony Worobiec, David & Charles, pb, £14.99
S E L E C T I O N S
Clothing option SNOW BOOT It’s winter, and chances are that you’ll encounter a snowfall soon if you haven’t already. What you need is a pair of boots that give you grip, ankle support and warmth, and are completely waterproof. The Jack Wolfskin Snow Trekker Texapore (£90) meets all of these criteria, with the high ankle particularly noteworthy. The Texapore 02 waterproof-membrane lining and synthetic-fur insulation combine to keep feet snug and dry.
Camera option COMPACT AND INTERCHANGEABLE By getting rid of the mirror box that allows for through-the-lens viewing, cameras such as the Sony NEX-5 (about £500, body only) are now so slim that they can slip into your pocket. In fact, the NEX-5 is the world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable-lens digital camera, yet it’s still big enough to feature a three-inch tiltable LCD monitor. A 14.2-megapixel CMOS sensor delivers a crisp image and the camera can shoot at up to seven frames per second.
Accessory option GPS MAPPING Unfolding a map in blustery conditions can be a trying task. Time, then, to let a GPS satellite do the work for you. The Memory Map Adventurer 3500 (£320) is a new waterproof and lightweight GPS reader with a 3.5-inch full-colour touch screen that makes it easy to read that makes it easy to read detailed maps in all lighting detailed maps in all lighting conditions. If you own an iPhone or iPod Touch, simply upload the Memory Map app (from £12.50) to enable GPS navigation of Ordnance Survey maps and charts.
navigation of Ordnance Survey maps and charts.
Clothing option: www.wolf-paw.com Accessory option: www.memory-map.co.uk
Camera option: www.sony.co.uk
76 www.geographical.co.uk JANUARY 2011