Monday, June 11, 2012


I am taking a class on night photography.  This is something that I have not had much experience in, so I am hopeful that the class will get me started in this area.  In any event, last week we took a "field trip" along the Milwaukee River as it runs through downtown Milwaukee.  My attempts to capture time exposures of headlights were not very successful--pretty pathetic, rally.  However, as the evening progressed, I started taking shots of the city lights reflected in the river, where my luck was better.

Some of my earlier shots were of larger expanses of the river.  The photo below includes some of the city scene, including a bridge across the river, providing context for the shot.

This was taken at a shutter speed of 1.6 seconds.  I have a strong penchant for abstracts, so most of my river shots wound up being confined to the reflections, as the following photos.

In some ways the second shot is "unbalanced, as there is a bright area on the right but not on the left.  However, I decided I liked it that way.  I also liked the little section of green in the lower right of the shot.  There photos were taken at an exposure of 0.6 seconds.  I also underexposed these (and most of my other reflection) shots by one f-stop because I thought that the dark aspects of the water were fooling the camera's light meter.

 I soon found myself focusing in on smaller pools of reflective light, as in the following shots.

Again, these were underexposed by one f-stop, and each had an exposure of 1/3 second.

Eventually, I found the following shots.  I'm not sure what was creating the reflective lines, but the effect was, I thought, quite striking.

These shots were taken at a wide-open aperture of f/4 coupled with a one f-stop underexposure to get the length of exposure I was looking for (a relatively short 0.6 seconds).  This seemed to be long enough to create the "lines" of light but not too long to "blur" out the effect.  I liked that there was a reflection of red light that was an an angle to the predominant yellow light.  Also, I liked the blue haze on the right of this last shot.  These shots are lacking a bit in depth of field because of the wide open aperture.  My alternative would have been to increase the ISO, and maybe next time I will try that.

One of the last shots I took was of a broader scene that was reflecting the blue lighting that was prevalent in that area of the river..

And finally, here is another broad shot that combines a variety of reflections.

The additional turbulence in the lower portion of this photo was created by a passing boat.

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