Let me tell you about my late beanbag. For nearly five years I used the same beanbag made of a packet of dried chickpeas in two sealed ziplocks. It was fantastic and allowed me to do these kinds of really low on the ground long exposures. Sadly, it was confiscated when I went to New Zealand on holiday since it was considered a food import. Oh well, it’ll cost me $2 to get a new one using the same method! Anyway, sunset, a puddle of water captures in the rocks but also the sea in the background, and a great kind of metallic rusty look on the rocks themselves. It was bound to work.
*Bir Hakeim Bridge*
Sometimes you don’t do long expos for specific effects like freezing water or light trails, sometimes you just do them because it’s dark and you want pin sharp focus and low ISO. This was the case here. In fact, looking back, I’m so lucky to have had this shot: this spot is very favoured by wedding photographers and it’s very rare that there isn’t some sort of shoot going on. There was that night, but they were behind me!
*The Quiet of the Blue Hour*
Lately I’ve been revisiting some old photos I never published. This is a very long exposure (60s) from 2011. I haven’t experimented with super long exposures as much as I should have, as this shot proves (I think). Also, the blue hour is really interesting: once the sun has set there’s still some light (depending on latitude) for a while, but it turns blue, hence the name. Quite evident here, the picture looks split-toned but it’s not, these are slightly tweaked colours as they were captured by the sensor.
*The Colors of Dawn*
One of the truly magical things about dawn is how quickly the light changes. I shot this a few minutes after sunrise, and the light was still purple. A minute later, it was a glorious gold. It was devilishly cold that morning (especially for me now that I live in mild temperatures Hong Kong) but really worth the 6 AM trip.
*Shadows of Brooklyn*
I got in early to catch the southern tip of Manhattan in the sunrise. There was a moment just as the sun was emerging above Brooklyn when the shadows of the skyscapers there projected onto the Manhattan skyline. This is what I captured here. I decided to give it a black and white treatment to emphasize these shadows.
Pier 7 on Embarcadero is an old fashioned wooden pier lined with metal benches and lamplights. At night it’s nearly empty and offers a very cool symmetrical perspective which I was quick to take advantage of. I wanted a low vantage point, which was tricky because my handmade beanbag (ziplock + dried chickpeas) was confiscated last time I went to New Zealand. So this was precariously balanced on my photo bag…
*Central Park in Blue and Gold*
I got up brutally early that morning in NYC (jetlag sometimes helps) and made my way to Central Park before sunrise. I had targeted the reservoir, had the tripod ready and was trying to warm my hands while waiting for (hopefully) glorious golden light. I didn’t get it. Since the skyline on the eastern side of the reservoir isn’t all that exciting, I wasn’t happy with the test shots I was getting until I spotted this tree overlooking the reservoir. It allowed me to frame the skyline and add foreground interest just as the sun was rising amidst the clouds.
On one of my two mornings in NYC I headed out to Brooklyn Bridge Park and crossed my fingers for a nice sunrise. When the sun finally emerged above the Brooklyn skyline, I was blessed with a beautiful golden light which I promptly (but slowly) captured.
*Under the Bridge*
I didn’t have much time to walk around Berlin, but I did head out in the limited time I had towards Orianenstrasse. On the way I saw this expressway bridge and loved the metal framework. I didn’t have tripod so I positioned my camera on my backpack for this 20 exposure (or thereabours). It’s not perfect, I wish the car lights were more apparent, but it’s interesting and grimy.
*The Glitter of the Fake Tower*
I love doing long exposure shots and light trails, so when I saw the fake Eiffel tower glittering at night I knew I had to find a spot to do such an exposure. I had to give it six or seven try outs before I got this one (not matter what they say, a gorillapod on a lamppost is not a very stable setup) but I finally got this one and I was happy. Added bonus: unlike photos of the real Eiffel tower lights, this one is probably not illegal.