This week I spent some time relearning and, hopefully, moving a bit forward in understanding how to use luminosity masks.
I used some photos from Hawaii. It allowed me to immerse myself in warm sunny memories during the dark cloudy days as the winter solstice approaches. It’s almost here: in two weeks the days will start to be noticeably brighter.
My first foray into both going off of auto and night photography, came from a desire to capture the Takae Lantern Festival in Nara Japan in 2007. These were taken with my trusty old Canon A510, using ISO 400 and a walking stick mono-pod.
Stairway to a small shrine.
Fields of lanterns.
Festival go-ers in yukata (summer kimono).
Elaborate lantern assembly.
Since then I’ve moved up, a bit, in both camera and skill, but I continue to use a walking stick/monopod and do not use a tripod. It just doesn’t work for me to carry one around. I am still quite challenged by dark pictures, in part because I don’t use a tripod and in part because I use a “bridge” camera, Nikon P610, which has a relatively small sensor so it wants longer shutter speeds and it gets grainy pretty fast at higher ISO settings.
I keep trying because I think night pictures often give you a better feel for the atmosphere of a place than day shots. People are off work and going about their business.
A few night street scenes in China and Japan:
Street vendor in Weifang China
Street and pedestrian traffic in Tai’an China
Beihai Lu in Weifang China.
Street scene in Takayama Japan.
Street scene in Takayama Japan.
I am often disappointed by the moon. My eye sees it bigger than my camera lens does:
The darkness of the night and motion of the boats in these pictures of cormorant fishing in Gifu, Japan, meant that all the pictures were blurry. I tried a “painterly” effect to make it seem like art instead of just a blurry picture.
I’m not a morning person so I only have sunrise pictures from far away places (where I have jet lag). Here are a few from Kenya.
If you recall we were trouping, somewhat bleary eyed, out of our hotel. We were more awake than many of the others since we had to battle with the alarm on our door.
Watching the sunrise on Mount Tai is, to quote the commercial, “what you do”.
As we walked out of the hotel we were joined by others, and as we walked along toward the viewing area groups of folks who had come up in the night joined the throng. There were vendors renting big army looking coats for 20 RMB and photographers that would take your picture then “photoshop” you into various wonderful, but, in many cases, geographically impossible backgrounds.
I was awfully glad that we had sent James the high-vis hat which made him easy to spot in the dim light and crowds. The pictures are blurry, even with a mono-pod it was hard to stay still in the chilly morning as I tried to keep track of James (I gave up trying to keep up with him years ago) and keep out of the way of more vigorous others (pretty much everyone).
Why were we all there?
The sunrise on Mount Tai is splendid and one of the marvelous spectacles of the summit of Mount Tai and is also the important symbol of Mount Tai. While the first beam of sunlight tears the last beam of darkness before dawn, the east sky turns dull black to grey, to red and then to dazzling golden yellow jetting out rays of morning sun and brightening the whole sky. Finally, one fireball suddenly jumps out of sea of cloud. The whole process is like a peak of perfection which likes thousands of polychrome pictures brought by a lofty magician.
There came a point when both the clock and the amount of ambient light indicated that the sun had risen. But no one wanted to give up and walk away.
Then someone started pointing and others joined in. There it was, the sun.
My son said “sleeping dragon slowly opens one eye…then hits the snooze button.”
We were now free to file out through the “Eye of the Tortoise” and find some breakfast.