Last night I went out with a new photography partner and he taught me how to use the “intervalometer” on my Nikon. He had already been experimenting with taking photos of the night sky, and advised me to set my ISO to its highest, adjust my white balance, open my aperture as far as it’ll go, and set the speed to eight seconds. Sounds very simple, but it was amazing! The photo below, of the trees on Deer Island, is taken from the beach in front of El Quijote Inn in pitch blackness—my eyes couldn’t even see the island, yet look at that detail and color in the pic!
My partner explained to me that the human eye could actually see this and much more, but our eyes are set to “video mode.” Isn’t he brilliant? The other really cool thing he said is that my camera’s aperture controls depth of field, speed controls flow or movement, and ISO controls graininess. Why don’t photography sites and teachers speak in terms like this? How simple and accurate is that description, I ask you?
Obviously I was thrilled with my camera’s capabilities; there is most definitely a whole computer inside, just waiting for me to figure out how to use it. There was a lot of light on the beach, and a party going on with a laser light show, so that obviously interfered with picture quality (or added interest; your call). I also had some fun taking photos of the lights from the restaurants playing in the waves.
I was so excited that I spontaneously woke up about 4:00 this morning, and set my camera up out on the terrace. Living here on the malecón, there was way too much ambient light to take star pics over the island or the city, so I pointed the camera up at the sky. And, I caught TWO shooting stars! I also made my first time-lapse movie! It’s cool to watch how the stars move over the course of two hours. Take a look, below:
My new mentor encouraged me to make a star trail. I did so, using the very same images as you see in the video above. The photo below shows you the lines the stars followed over two hours:
I then changed my shot to look out over the city, and filmed a time-lapse of the sunrise. I like it, too, and I hope you will. Yes, I now see that my lens needs cleaning; a little late! I could have photographed longer, but we needed to get hiking the lighthouse before starting work!
We are thinking to start a photography club here in town. It would be bilingual (Spanish and English), and we’d take turns being in charge of new techniques to teach or excursions to arrange. If you’re interested, please contact me. Thanks!