Thursday, 6 October 2011

Part 4 Light–Project: Available Light - Outdoors at Night

Exercise: Outdoors at night
Objective: To explore the variety of lighting effects and colour in artificial light in a city centre.
I chose to travel to the city centre of Chichester where I knew that the cathedral would be floodlight although I was unsure of crowds on a Sunday night. While I waited for the cathedral floodlights to be switched on, I photographed the Market Cross. Although not floodlit, it is fairly well lit by the streetlights.
8146: 1/2.5s f4.5 48mm ISO400 WB Sodium Vapour Lamps (SVL)
I tried various WB settings, including  auto and incandescent.  SVL  gave the truest rendition of the colours and I have used it for all subsequent photos. The green cast within the structure comes from the lighting within the seating area.

8154: 2s f4.5 26mm ISO400 WB: SVL

8156: 2s f4.5 20mm ISO400 WB: SVL

8161: 8s f5 65mm ISO400 WB: SVL
DSC_8161_edit 01_web

After walking round to the south of the cathedral. I went onto an overpass to take traffic streaks on the ring road and traffic lights. Unfortunately, the traffic was very light and I didn’t get much in the way of dramatic images but I have demonstrated the principle. I may make another attempt from an overpass on the A3 near my home.
8164: 5s f11 80mm ISO400 VB SVL
After this less than successful attempt on the ring road, I turned round and concentrated on the traffic lights at the junction with South Street.

8164:  2s f11 90mm ISO400 WB SVL
8183: 2.5s f16 62mm ISO400 WB SVL

Next, I returned to the city centre to photograph brightly lit shop fronts and an inside scene with people:
8184: 1.3s f16 35mm ISO400 WB SVL

8187: 2.5s f16 35mm ISO400 WB SVL

8188: 1/15s f5 70mm ISO3200 WB SVL

There was no large indoor area in the city centre but I did spot this open fronted restaurant with the biggest crowd I had seen all evening. I racked up the ISO so I could grab a shot from across the street very quickly, hand held.(VR lens)
What did I learn? Sunday is a good evening to be able to work quietly on the street with a tripod. Most people (except a couple of drunks on holiday) and even the police, ignored me. Comparing the colour of the images against the perceived colour on the street, I think the Sodium Vapour Lamp setting on my camera gives a reasonable approximation of what I was seeing. Low traffic density and speed rather sabotaged my attempts to record lights streaking on the road but I have learned that you need about 15-20 seconds to record a reasonably long streak. I will attempt this again before the end of the unit.

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