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Doane Cemetery, Hawley MA. March 9, 2013

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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2 comments

My housemates went up to the Maine Coast this weekend for some night photography, reminding me that it was a New Moon ’round about tonight and tomorrow night.

Well, I can’t get away, but thought I’d find something closer to home which might make a suitable subject for taking advantage of a clear, moonless night.

I headed up into the hills to get away from cities, towns and highways, but you know, there’s nowhere really, really  dark in Massachusetts. The best I could manage was to get to a high meadow in the hills, find something worth shooting and work with the ambient light.

I settled on the Doane Cemetery in Hawley, beautifully situated on a dome of farmland off of Forget Road. The faint glow of distant Pittsfield tainted the horizon, and I knew that with a long exposure to get the stars, it would be a compositional element. So I looked for a foreground element with enough presence to stand up to the background light.

I settled on a tall monument, which I lit with about five seconds of “light painting” from a small LED flashlight. It was a bit clumsily done, but with the camera a foot off the snow, evaluating the image meant laying in the wet snow, which I could only do a couple of times before I was soaked and had to call it a night.

Next time, it’s full gear and a foam pad for this old boy!

Anyway, here’s the best of several images – taken with a 16mm lens, ISO 6400, f/8, 30″ exposure:

Blog Doane Cemetery

I was surprised at how little of the sky I got with my 16mm lens; seems to me it looked somewhat grander when I last took night shots up at Acadia National Park in Maine this past autumn.

Oh well, I like the image anyway, and without buying a wider lens, that’ll have to be good enough! 😉

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Evening Light. February 9, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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8 comments

Here’s a shot not of the warm light of evening when the sun comes to us through lots of atmosphere and the red wavelengths predominate, but rather of the reflected atmospheric light which characterizes the half-hour after sunset:

This is taken looking out across a meadow in high Shelburne, with southern New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock visible on the left skyline.  It’s worth noting that this expanse of exposed ground is entirely atypical for Western Massachusetts in early February.

If one has a tripod and can snag a long exposure (this one was 2 seconds,) the camera will often pick up more of the Earth-shadow/pink-band effect than is obvious to the unaided eye.  Here I used a hand-held 3-stop graduated filter to balance the weight of the sky and ground, though it cost me the “shadow” part of what was happening on the eastern horizon.

Oh well, you give a little, you get a little…