5 thoughts on “Something very large fell from the sky (like a safe in a cartoon)

  1. Yeah… very cool. Call me a neophyte, but I like this way better than the previous entry. I get the feeling that it’s dark outside, rather than the weird combination of “daylight” colors from Rush Ranch. What are the exposure details for this one?

  2. The moon wasn’t up yet when this image was taken — the moon is the orange glow rising behind the highway sign. So everything in the foreground was lit with a flashlight. The way I light painted the image leads to a contrasty look. The lighting for this image was complex — it’s lit from 3 different places. I did 4 different attempts, and ended up making a multi-exposure composite for the finished image. Exposure was 4 minutes at f/8, ISO 200.

    I did a demo of this process at a workshop last night — if I can get Captivate or some other screen capture software I’ll try to get a demo online. Occasional compositing can be a real life saver for productivity in the field, and make a good image into a portfolio shot.

    The previous image from Rush Ranch is almost entirely lit by the moon — a much bigger, more diffuse light source. The “day for night” look of this type of image can provoke an “it looks like daytime” reaction. The explanation is actually pretty simple — moonlight is reflected sunlight. When the moon is full it’s about 6% as bright as daytime. So if your daytime exposures are 1/125 at f/8 (ISO 100), then a moonlight exposure of 8 minutes at f/8 is about the same amount of daylight. Because the exposure takes 8 minutes (or in the case of the previous shot, 20 minutes with film due to reciprocity), the light source is moving — which softens the shadows. The star trails and light painting added to the shadows are the indicators that this isn’t a normal daytime image.

    Thanks for the feedback — these are very important topics for night photographers to consider!

  3. This is an awesome shot, Joe. I love the shadows cast by the dirt on the hood of that one car. Unlike the previous commenter, I’m usually not a big fan of shots with black/very dark skies/majority of the frame dark shots, but this one works so well!

  4. Thanks, Cody! There is some tonality in the sky on my home computer, but at work it’s almost black. Damn monitor variances. Hoping to make a print of this one soon, too.

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