I finally got out last night to try something I’d been
planning for a while.
So, if you were “exceeding speed guidelines” on the M1 last
night and saw someone standing on a bridge with a fluorescent jacket and a
tripod mounted device, don’t panic – it was just me and my Canon*
What I was specifically out to try was playing with the
manual and shutter speed settings of the camera. Up until now (with the exception
of a disastrous day at a RCC race), I’d purely used the aperture speed setup
(or automatic) on the camera. But, since seeing them on the web and in DSLR
magazines I’d wanted to try my hand at those “Rivers of Light” shots.
I found this to be very much a case of trial and error.
After getting the camera rigged up on the bridge, I played with a series of
settings and shutter speeds ranging from 1/250 up to about 30 seconds and
briefly into bulb mode (oooh look at me).
At 1/250 my picture of the black object in the black night
surrounded by black stuff was…erm….very dark.
At 27 seconds, things were much prettier…
f/8, manual, focal length – 24mm, ISO – 100, 13/11/07 18:40)
Interestingly, I also tried the same shot using aperture
priority and it came out like this after 30 seconds (camera set) exposure.
f/8, manual, focal length – 24mm, ISO – 100, 13/11/07 18:43)
It’s noticeably darker (to me anyway). This confused me
briefly until I realised that all the light in the shot is provided by the
traffic and as a result completely dependent on the number of cars, the
brightness of their lights and the speed of their travel.
If you live near a bridge or busy road, this is a good experiment
to try yourself. Though, I warn you – you will look like a loon running backwards
and forwards trying to see how much traffic is coming and when to press the
*Though the least you could have done was waved hello.