This is an impromptu composition that was dictated by the lighting conditions. My intention for this night photography session was to photograph stars in the sky, but the punchy light from the moon and the promenade limited the definition possible in the sky.
Fine Art Photograph taken at night at the Jersey Shore in Sea Isle City
The camera settings here are a focal length of 18mm, aperture at F/5.6 and ISO speed of 400. Increasing the exposure would have blown out the highlights and decreasing the exposure would have rendered the scene too dark for my tastes. I originally started off at a higher ISO but the image looked washed out so I lowered it a full ISO stop. I do not shoot still photos in incremental ISO’s as anything other than native ISO values can deteriorate dynamic range or image quality. Other settings: RAW file format, Auto White Balance, Mirror Lock Up, 2 Second Timer, VC (stabilization) off, tripod firmly in the sand
The composition in this photo is a pretty straight-forward rule-of-thirds setup. The horizon is placed about 1/3 of the way down from the top of the frame and the houses occupy approximately 2/3 of the horizontal length of the frame. Putting those elements dead center in the photo would have killed the dynamics in my opinion.
Went for a walk in one of my favorite nature areas in New Jersey yesterday morning, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation in Jefferson. Optimistically, I had a wildlife lens mounted, and my macro flash unit also ready to go for smaller critters. However, no opportunities like that materialized for me.
I noticed a bare sapling near the mostly frozen stream’s edge, and originally thought I’d isolate the entire sapling against the simple background. I shot a few broader frames, but felt they all lacked any prominent shapes or visual guidance. I zoomed in a bit with my zoom lens and also my tripod to see how this small single branch with a nice diagonal orientation and prominent juttings could possibly fill the frame.
I liked the frame, but the remaining problem was one unsightly rock just barely jutting from the ice’s surface. Next step was locating a leaf in decent shape, and using a stick to push it into position to mask the rock. Little did I know, the now juxtaposed leaf would become my favorite part of the shot. A polarizing filter was also necessary to remove glare, especially since a small layer of melt water was sitting on top of the ice and reflecting sunlight and the surrounding trees.
Branch, Ice, and Leaf
Tamron 18-270mm VC lens @ f/16, 1/20s, ISO 200 on a tripod mounted Canon 50D. Mirror lock-up and camera timer used to maximize sharpness.