Monday, December 9, 2013

Night at Home time-lapse (Pigeon Point Lighthouse)

Along with the cold winter nights are the cloudless nights that afford incredible views of the starry universe at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. A relatively windless night helped me to capture a clean time-lapse as the tripod has little or no movement during the process. All 260 shots were 30 second exposures on my wide 15mm Sigma fish-eye lens. The aperture was wide open at f/3.5 and the ISO was at 1600. My Nikon D600 is able to do time-lapse on its own, but not at the largest file sizes possible. It is able to capture timed photos with out external intervalometer being plugged in. I also had the exposure delay working so the mirror would slap up 3 seconds before the shutter opened in order to minimize any shake the mirror might make when the exposure is rendering. I programmed the timer to take the next shot every 35 seconds so the 30 second exposure plus the 3 second exposure delay plus the remaining 2 seconds could have enough time to write the data to the SD card. I purchased an extra battery back-up so I could do these long exposures plus the multiple exposures with out running out of battery power and not have to plug in the camera to an outlet. Fortunately it was just a short walk from my bathroom window so I did not need to camp out next to my camera but could in fact relax in my home. I did have to be careful not to turn on my bathroom light or not to use a flashlight as I walked from my home to the camera as it would have been captured by the 30 second long exposures. I wish I had the power to tell flight traffic control to do the same ;) After about 5 hours I had 270 photos that I could edit one and sync the settings to the rest in Lightroom 4. I then used LR to create a Slideshow with presets for the 24 frames per second that I needed to develop the slideshow. Unfortunately it does not save the photos in RAW 4K but in the lower resolution 1080P. I think its good enough for now but I would like to publish it in 4K. Anyone out there who can point me in the right direction with out breaking my credit card debts would be awesome! Thanks for reading and please do remember to follow. :D Jeff

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Shooting Star over Pigeon Point

Part of a time-lapse I was shooting with my 50mm, f/1.4, 2sec at 1600 ISO.
I was thinking about scoping out the north side of Pigeon Point at night to test out my old Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens on my D600 to see how it would shoot for a time-lapse of the stars, waves/tide, lighthouse lights and occasional airplane flyby. The night was moonless on November 5th 2013 at about 8:30 pm and my old lens aperture is so wide at f/1.4 that I could use less ISO sensitivity and thus achieve less digital noise. The 50mm has relatively little distortion on my full frame sensor as well. The problem was all the lights on at the hostel. I wanted to have longer exposures so I could blur out the ocean waves and still get all the stars. There was quite a bit of lens flair from all the lights that I had to crop out of the frame so it would not look like the Martians were attacking! Actually a red tail lite from a car pulling into the parking lot on the lower left (out of frame) caused the main (red) lens flare directly in the lighthouse beam on the left. It was getting kinda misty and the farmer next to the lighthouse had warned me he was going to spray fungicides that night so I knew I only had a little bit of time to test a bunch of shots. I finally settled on 2 second exposures at ISO 1600 at f/1.4. The flash pattern at Pigeon Point is every ten seconds so the two second exposure on the 6 beam fresnel lens would capture some nice beams in the mist. I was also experimenting with exposure delay and that essentially drops the camera mirror a few seconds before the shutter releases to avoid camera vibration in such a sensitive exposure. That meant I had to delay the time between shots a little longer than I normally would. I also delayed a few seconds for the memory card to write the large amount of RAW data before it could accept the next time-lapse photograph sequence. So with 2 second exposures I had a 5 second delay between photos. I set it for 100 shots and just enjoyed the view while my Nikon D600 took the photos. It was towards the end. Shot 89 I believe, that I saw the meteor enter the atmosphere right above the lighthouse. I thought to myself, I hope I got that shooting star  in one of my time-lapse sequence photos, but knew the probability was iffy because of the delays. I also knew that if I did get the timing right, the super wide f/1.4 aperture and the 1600 ISO at two seconds would be perfect to get it! Sure enough, frame 89 out of 100, there it was! I did very little post production in Lightroom other than adjust the white balance and to crop out the lens flairs from the hostel lights and to focus on the meteor's entry into Earth's atmosphere. Turns out it was the tail end of the  South Taurid meteor shower that peaked on the 4th and ended on the morning of the 5th. Please visit my website to see the largest version. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mercury, Venus and Jupiter over the Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Tripple Planet Conjunction of Mercury, Venus and Jupiter over Pigeon Point Lighthouse just after sunset on Thursday May 30th, 2013 I was aware of the 'Triple Conjunction' of the planets Mercury, Venus and Jupiter on the horizon just after sunset during the last week of May 2013, but the coastal fog had been lingering the past few days and I did not know if I would get a chance to see it. But tonight, May 30th the sunset seemed to have a clear enough sky to melt into the sea with little atmospheric interference to obscure the planets just after sunset. I drove a short distance down south to a farmed area just north of Gazo's Creek State Beach. After bush-waking through tick infested grasses I found a sketchy trail down to the beach, around some flooded rocks and scrambled up a to a rocky point that almost perfectly lined up with the planets I wanted to photograph. I only had a 180mm lens so I knew I could not get too far away or else the lighthouse at 115 feet tall would look too small in the overall composition of the picture. Franklin's Point may have offered a better alignment but I don't have a 600mm lens with f/2.8! A bit of wind reminded me I could not do really long exposure with out camera shake. I was able to keep the ISO down to 50 on my new Nikon D600 with my 70-180mm Nikon lens I focused it at 116mm with an aperture of f/5 and opened it up for 6 seconds after a 2 second delay from my timer to reduce camera shake. In Lightroom 4 I was able to crop it a little bit to my liking and then use the Graduated Filter I could lighten up the foreground oceanscape to give it some context and highlight the beautiful setting without having to just focus on the lighthouse and the sky with the 3 planets. Here is the wide angel scean before the planets became visable earlier in the sunset twilight! Enjoy :D Waiting for the twilight to reveal the planetary allignment of Mercury, Venus and Jupiter just after sunset at Pigeon Point Lighthouse on May 30th, 2013 Thanks for visiting and please leave some comments! Mahalo! Jeff

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pescadero Gallery on February 10th, 2013

Unfortunately I closed my Pescadero Gallery on February 10th, 2013. I need more tome to shoot! Thanks for all my customers support and the support of the residents of Pescadero. It was a great space and experience, but alas my job at Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel and my free time are more important.
Traffic Lights at Pigeon Point. 2 minute long exposure Nikon D600, Nikkor ED 70-180mm at 100mm, ISO 50, f/38, Satechi remote intervelometer
Traffic Lights at Pigeon Point.
2 minute long exposure Nikon D600, Nikkor ED 70-180mm at 100mm, ISO 50, f/38, Satechi remote intervelometer