Clouds of Colored Light

By: Gustav Hoiland

Apr 20 2010

Category: night light

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Aperture:f/5.6
Focal Length:135mm
ISO:100
Shutter:6 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

Backseat on the Highway

While I don’t think this is the most spectacular image, there’s a lot I like about it. First off, I don’t recall having ever made something like this, even in my fairly extensive experimenting with long exposures at night. It was for the most part a complete accident, within the boundaries of a few specific shooting techniques.

  • one second exposure (I had been playing around with everything from 1/10 to 6 full
  • a transition from focused to blurred during the exposure (focusing, opening the shutter, spinning the focus ring out of focus, closing the shutter)
  • … that’s all I remember, and by that I mean that’s what I can tell by looking at the photo

And this mash up of play was performed in the back seat of a tiny car, blowing down some freeway en route to some house in non-NYC New York (where the bike team was staying for the race weekend).

So I like a couple things beyond the uniqueness of it. First is the variety of color in the top, like a big cloud colored by the food coloring of the gods. It’s not entirely smooth, rather it’s fully saturated at points, but then there’s a jerky fading into less and less and then darkness. From yellow to orange and red to a light, white blue.

Not a big fan of the sloppy lightning that has fallen out of there though. They’re too uniform, and not particularly interesting in shape. I guess I’m not against uniformity in general, but shots like this generally move into a higher region of gusly respect when it’s not clear that it’s just a bunch of lights that were subject to a shaking camera, which is what the bottom of this looks like. I suppose it’s redeemed by the fact that there’s the clouds above, mostly separate from this whole other part of the photo.

Night liiiiiiiights…

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