January 18, 2014

Offshore Series: Dark side

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My last post mentioned some experimentation with nighttime photography and I wanted to highlight some of the resultant photos here. I am offshore, but not technically working yet so I was able to spend a few nights outside attempting to showcase (as a Cancerian, my favorite) the moon. Traditionally astrophotographers avoid the moon like the plague because its intensity drowns out the light coming from stars, but I figured I could use the full moon's output to my advantage. Unfortunately, during the first two nights that I went out to shoot the seas were very rough and it was hard to come up with a decent photo... not that that stopped me from trying ;)

"Torrential" 7.5mm, f/3.5, 4 sec, iso200
"Moonset" 7.5mm, f/3.5, 4 sec, iso200
"Diagonal" 45mm, f/1.8, 1/10, iso200
The third night however, was a charm. Winds were down, the sea was calm and the Viking I was bathed in moonlight. This allowed me to really push the envelope when it came to exposure time.

"Just right" 7.5mm, f/3.5, 12 sec, iso200
"Stars" 7.5mm, f/3.5, 7 sec, iso200
"Swimming" 7.5mm, f/3.5, 7.2 sec, iso200
Overall conditions for long exposure photography on a boat are not ideal. Not only is the vessel moving up and down due to wave action, you are also usually traveling in a particular direction. On top of that, I have no tripod so I had to rely on the boat itself to stabilize my camera. This turned out to be an obstacle in itself because the giant mechanics working on the inside of the boat cause tons of vibrations. In the photos below however, I utilized the lighting from the boat to "help".

"VS492" 7.5mm, f/3.5, 1 sec, iso400 
"Helideck" 7.5mm, f/3.5, 6 sec, iso200
"F" 7.5mm, f/3.5, 6 sec iso200
By the time I took the photo above, I could see the horizon opposite the moon start to brighten with daylight. The following photos are what I took as the sun was rising.

"Concave" 7.5mm, f/3.5, 1 sec, iso200
"Seafaring" 7.5mm, f/3.5, 0.5 sec, iso200
"Dave" 45mm, f/1.8, 1/60, iso200
Of course, most of the photos in this series were taken with the 7.5mm third party fisheye that I have been raving about (see here, here, or here) because I have really taken a liking to it. I also used the 40-150mm kit zoom for the first "close up" moon shot and 45mm MZD portrait lens a bit. I came into the habit of using the live bulb mode on my EM5 to get a "feel" for how long my shutter speed should be and then setting my camera accordingly (usually a second under) for the shot to get a rounded exposure value (ie. 6 instead of 6.8) but this was not done in all instances. Hope you enjoyed at least one of the photos in this set =) It was challenging, and definitely out of my comfort zone but that's what photography is about right!? Until next time!

Sam D.

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