The Beautiful New Jersey Turnpike

By: Gustav Hoiland

Feb 04 2010

Category: night light

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Focal Length:135mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

Fluid Focus

Following up yesterday’s Philly polo shot, this is a capture from the New Jersey Turnpike the night previous, en route to the games.  Highways present some very interesting lighting – headlights, tail lights, street lights, thousands of twinkles from cities as they pass by, and on and on.  This is all combined with constant motion, both outside the car as the road curves and separates incoming from oncoming, and sitting in the car itself where there’s vibration and ever-present shaking (this becomes much more apparent when you’re trying to hold a camera still).

So embrace it!  Experiment with these conditions for a little while and voila! you get something like this.  Note that this is almost exactly as it came from the camera/no sweeping changes to color or anything have been made with software to achieve this look.

And what’ve we got? In the center some very soft white and blue trails of light. As you pan down these condense into brighter and more three dimensional … well, I don’t know what they are. They’re somewhat flame-like, though I see a definite fluidity to them. Look just above the center moving towards top-right; there’s some kind of stalagmite formations living in the distance which establishes some nice depth here, or at least pixels for thought.  Finally, the orange of the streetlights (notice the distinctive flickering) rounds out the coldness of all of that blue, coming in on both sides as well as some in the thick of it all.

Ahhhh, highways.

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