Low light levels, mid-grade attempts
Above/featured: Comet Neowise (C2020/F3), from Burnaby Mountain, BC – 16 Jul 2020 (UTC); more details below.
One of my first lessons in photography was: covet as much natural light as possible. I’m the first to admit I’ll chase that light very hard, especially during winter conditions when days are often grey, dull, and short. Sometimes, sacrifices have to be made to get “that light.”
But diminishing light offers different challenges and opportunities to the variety of ways a person might think about a scene or situation before them. Getting the desired effect might require opening the aperture wide, upping the ISO level, lengthening exposure time, or adding light with an artificial flash. If a person’s journey goes down a “dark” path, what might a combination of internal ability and intuition mixed with external planning and happenstance create?
I made all photos below between 2008 and 2021 with these devices: Canon EOS450D/Rebel XSi (450D), Canon EOS6D mark1 (6D1), and Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime (X70). I used no artificial flash for these pictures. For each image, I’ve provided camera settings: exposure time, aperture, ISO, and full-frame focal length. Where two focal lengths are listed, they are the APS-C number (Canon crop factor 1.6, Fujifilm crop factor 1.53) and the full-frame equivalent.
With the creeping light of dawn behind me, I have this west-facing view on a late-winter early-morning from Cerro Pachón near the southern edge of the Atacama desert. Visible from top to bottom are: the setting “Belt of Venus” in purple; the setting shadow of the Earth in dark blue; the setting full-Moon reddened and flattened, respectively, by atmospheric scattering and refraction; and lights on the ground from copper and gold mines next to the town of Andacollo. Región de Coquimbo, Chile – 15 Sep 2008. 450D: 1/5-sec, f/14, ISO200, 53/85mm.
Southern-hemisphere night sky over Cerro Pachón in Chile: at left is the dome enclosure for Gemini Observatory South; at centre is the constellation Orion; and at right in the constellation Canis Major is the bright star, Sirius, visible to the naked-eye. Photo, 24 Oct 2010 with 450D: 30-sec, f/4, ISO1600, 18/29mm.
Blue Swallow Motel on Route-66 (highway US-66): Tucumcari, NM, USA – 7 Oct 2018. 6D1: 1/400-sec, f/8, ISO20000, 24mm.
Comet Neowise (C/2020 F3) with visible nucleus and tail, at altitude 12 degrees and azimuth 335 degrees (north-northwest). Also labelled are stars in the Ursa Major (UMa) constellation, high-altitude noctilucent clouds over the northern horizon, and lights atop transmission towers on Mount Seymour. Night sky from Burnaby Mountain, BC, Canada – 15/16 Jul 2020. X70: 2-sec, f/2.8, ISO6400, 18.5/28mm.
Acknowledgements to Sofia for LAPC no.186 during the week of 12–18 February 2022. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-mpD.