669 – The Night Comes On

Tuesday I’ve been at work till after 8pm, and that’s the time when light fades away, evening falls.

You know, I have all sorts of funny rituals, and one of them is, that I use any new lens for quite some time exclusively. Sure, I may be forced to change for a shot or two, especially when someone asks me for a particular image and it is simply impossible with my current lens, but apart from that I pretty much stick to my rule.

Why? It keeps you creative. You are forced to try all sorts of things, and while doing so, you discover funny ways to work with your lenses, ways that you would not have gone otherwise.

In this case I found that it is an interesting problem to use a 70-300/4.5-5.6 in low light. Normally I use this lens with an Auto ISO threshold of 1/100s, and that means that the camera automatically raises ISO as soon as the shutter speed would go below 1/100s. Now, in low light that would almost always mean ISO 3200, and so I decided to try if VR on this lens is worth it. Well, it is.

The first image was shot in twilight at 70mm, ISO 1250 and 1/15s. Ouch! Still, it came out perfect. What I did in post-processing was only related to color. Basically I have combined two versions with different color temperatures and then added saturation, tweaked contrast, etc.

The next image, the train and the ghost of a man, was a tad more daring. 300mm, ISO 2800, 1/15s and me leaning to a lamp post. Wow! Did work.

The final image, the Image of the Day did cost me some effort. I crouched on the sidewalk, leaning on some support as well, and shot a series until I got the lines where I wanted them to be, plus the street with a nice distribution of people and a car. That’s the most unnerving thing about long lenses: There is so much potential for distractions, that you sometimes have to wait for a long time until your perspective is clear. 300mm, ISO 1400 and 1/15s, but in this crouching position the lens was much harder to hold steady.

It may not be apparent from the size displayed here, but in post-processing the Image of the Day I ran wild and applied some pretty graphic effects. Here is an 800×800 crop at full size.

The Song of the Day is Leonard Cohen’s “The Night Comes On” from his 1985 album “Various Positions“. Hear a sound sample at last.fm and see a very nice cover version by the Avalanche Quartet on YouTube. And they have more Cohen covers on YouTube. Well worth to be checked out. I did and have just ordered their first CD at fazerecords.

4 thoughts on “669 – The Night Comes On”

  1. Your highly stylized image at the end is a particularly impressive creation because it looks so perfectly composed to fit the square format. Did you pre-visualize it that way or was it a result of discovery in the PP process of epiphany?

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