The Japanese have a custom of watching the first sunrise of the year. My first year living in Japan friends took me to a Buddhist temple at midnight on New Year's Eve and then to a beach at sunrise. I really like this custom. So this morning shortly after 7am I took my camera and tripod out onto the frosty ground and watched the sunrise over an Iowa cornfield. You can see five jets already streaking to far off destinations so early in the new year!Read More
These fireworks were not the first flashes of light in the skies over Cape Coral on 4th of July 2016 evening. Those were from the lightning sparking horizontally through the clouds. Still, Red White & Boom 2016 started sharply at 9:30pm with only a very light sprinkle. Toward the end the rain did start coming down a little harder and you can see the water droplets that got on my camera lens in the lower right corners of the two photos below.Read More
My after dinner twilight walk with Kiki was thwarted this evening by rain and lightning. So after going back inside I mounted my Nikon to my tripod to see if I could get lucky and capture a few bolts. Of course the lightning was striking much more frequently when I was out with Kiki than when I was actually out with my camera, but with some patience I finally got enough lightning in a shot to fill the frame. The image above is a slight composite of two images to add just a bit more lightning.
I received a phone call last week from 360|Forged about photographing a Nissan GT-R in Tampa owned by one of their clients. They make custom wheels and wanted a shoot of the GT-R focused on showing the wheels. They saw my Lexus IS F shoot and liked that Ybor City location so the whole GT-R shoot came together quickly. (view Part 2 night strobist images)
I had done three previous car shoots at this particular Ybor City location that I found on my own during a scouting trip a few years ago for the IS F client. I never like to repeat myself when I go out shooting, but having already made close to three dozen car photographs in this spot, I had to really look to find some fresh angles and backgrounds. Luckily, there were still plenty of new setups to mine from that Ybor City location as the above shot I had never done before. I utilized the ONE WAY sign in the shot, pointing in the opposite direction of course to create a more rebellious nature to the look of the image.
I knew for the photo above I wanted to make just a front quarter panel composition of the Nissan GT-R in a long shot using an 80-200mm lens. I shot from downhill to further exaggerate the angle. Quite a bit of distraction was cleaned up from the backround leaving just the white Nissan GT-R on red brick framed by white clouds.
I often shoot with a lot of extra space around the intended subject. This was the case in the above photograph. In the uncropped version the sky was visible as well as the intersection down the street. I liked that shot as it was, but I decided to crop in and put more of the focus on the car and the red brick background.
Thank you to the GT-R's owner and his friend for assisting in lining up the car for these shots. This collection of Nissan GT-R photos is just part one, all in daylight. Part two will feature strobist twilight images.
- Inquire about fine art prints and commercial license usage for these St. Petersburg skyline photographs
Each time I go out to the top of The Pier to make waterfront skyline images like this of downtown St. Petersburg Florida, I think it may be my last since The Pier is scheduled to close in May 2013. As you can see, its closing will be a great loss for photographers and anyone who enjoys a great vantage point for looking at the sunset over a cityscape.
The Pier is five stories tall with an open roof allowing for the making of clean shots (i.e. not shooting through window glass). It is often a quiet spot, especially on a weeknight, providing an opportunity to watch the sunset in peace as twilight then night takes over.
Walking back to my car after photographing New Year's Eve 2012 Fireworks in downtown St. Petersburg I saw a double decker bus making a very awkward 3-point-turn down the road. I still had my Nikon on my tripod over my shoulder so I quickly set up on the curb thinking I had a rare chance to make a light trail photo with a tall, lit subject, not just the usual low cars.
Fortunately, it was more of a 10-point-turn so I had plenty of time to get in position and even make a few test shots before opening the shutter for 17.7 seconds to capture the image above.
And to think, making this photograph will not even be possible in a year's time because the location I shot this from, the roof of The Pier, will be demolished. I certainly hope the structure that replaces it will offer similar or better views of the downtown St. Petersburg, Florida waterfront, otherwise there will be no more photos showing its beauty at dusk, twilight and sunset.
I had the opportunity to make these photos only because I was teaching a DSLR Photography Lesson focusing on tripod usage. Otherwise, I would have been home and never witnessed this amazing view. In fact, both my student and I had just earlier remarked how gray the sky was and how we would not be able to get any keepers this lesson, but at least I was able to teach him the technical aspects of using a tripod for long exposure photography. I told him since there is so little color that I would shoot thinking to convert the images to black & white!
Then all of a sudden a hint of orange light appeared reflected off the low clouds, as the sun had already actually set. We took immediate notice and thought, at least we got to see a touch of color. Then as the sun slipped further to the other side of the Earth, the dusk sky started to explode in color and as we adjusted the length of the shutter speed on our DSLRs, we were able to pull more and more color back over the horizon and into our lenses. The photographs above are actually posted in reverse chronological order, with the above orange image the first I took. Each was made almost exactly five minutes after the other. That is the power of putting your DSLR on a tripod and using shutter speed to create an amazing long exposure image finding light and color the naked eye cannot see.