Tuesday, July 10, 2012


During my night photography class I took some lucky shots of reflections off the river in downtown Milwaukee.  I returned a week or so later and discovered that getting interesting photos was more difficult than I thought.  On that second night it was very windy and I attributed my relative lack of success to the wind and to a great deal of traffic on the river.

Apparently not the case.  It seemed just as difficult when I returned the other night, even though it wasn't nearly as breezy or busy.  The problem was with the length of the exposure.  Anything longer that 1/2 second seemed to create reflection patterns that were too dense.  To reduce exposure times, I found myself opening up the aperture as far as it would go, underexposing by one or two f-stops, and even increasing the ISO rating.

I took nearly 100 shots and wound up keeping only about 10.  Even so, I liked some of the shots quite a lot, my favorite being the one at the top of this post.  It really makes a great abstract.

I did take, and keep, some wider angle shots . . .

including one featuring a boat that was churning up the water.

However, most of the keepers involved close-up abstracts, such as the following:

This latter shot involved two different light sources.  A close look reveals that the red reflections are solid but the yellow are intermittent.  I really have not figured out what causes the loopy patterns generally.  My guess as to the intermittent patterns is that they involve lights that are pulsating rapidly, but I don't really know.

Here is another shot that I like quite a lot.

And here are a couple of shots of smaller reflections.

For the record, these were shot at f/4.5 for 1/2 second, underexposed 2 f-stops, with an ISO rating of 320.  Again, I have no clue what is creating the doodle-like swirls in the reflections.

As I was taking all of these shots, seemingly by randomly shooting into the river, a fellow came up to me and asked what I was taking pictures of.  I had a hard time explaining that I was taking photos of reflections off the water.  I showed him a couple of the images on my camera.  I don't think he was impressed.

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