A sea of mountains at sunset. Mt Matier, Joffre Peak, and Mt Rohr sure make for a pretty skyline.
One of the things I love about hiking in the mountains north and east of Pemberton is the wonderful “sea of mountains” effect as ridge after ridge of peaks fades into the distance. On our second night at Twin Lakes, a cloudless day turned into a subtly golden sunset with the snow fields on Mt Matier catching the last of the light.
When I took this shot, I exposed for the brighter portions of the image to keep the shutter speed manageable for a hand-held shot in the darkening dusk (the lower half of the photo looked almost completely black). Adjusting the shadows in DxO afterwards revealed a surprising amount of colour detail had still been captured despite being underexposed by at least one stop. Not bad for a camera from 2009! Now obviously, looking closely at the image shows that it’s smeary and lacking detail (plus the blacks still look crushed flat), but for posting on Instagram and Flickr, it has turned out well enough for me to let other people see it.
It’s photos like this that justify carrying the weight and bulk of a digital SLR, and they ensure I will always have a camera of this class, though whether it’s an SLR or mirrorless remains to be seen. I wonder what Nikon has in store for us…
Turns out that standing still for 30 seconds isn’t as easy as you might think… I have a new-found appreciation for those portraits from the early days of photography!
While I was taking photos of moonlit meadows I suddenly had the idea of taking a moonlit self-portrait, just for fun. I sat down on a rock and set going a 30-second exposure. Looking at the result I laughed at how I’d moved my head several times enough to blur out my face.
Thinking I could do better, I opted for a standing photo for my next attempt, and wondered if holding my breath would keep me still. So I pressed the button on the remote shutter release and held my breath. I made it to about a count of 26 before I had to let go, but I thought I’d held still. Alas when I checked the photo I found out that I wobble when standing.
OK one last attempt – I sat down again, and held my breath again. With my lungs bursting after 25 seconds I gradually let the air out and breathed in again. This time I’d held still enough that I wasn’t smeared out – yay! But I was too close to the camera, and the lens was focussed at infinity, so I was still blurry…
Meadows by moonlight – the view from lower Twin Lake on a balmy evening. It certainly was a braw bricht moonlicht nicht the nicht.
When out backpacking, I like to take a night-time photo that includes our tent lit up from within. On this trip, the moon was so bright that it lit up the surrounding landscape, giving me even more options than usual. In particular, I loved the way a 30-second exposure revealed the meadows and the stars, and I couldn’t resist trying out a few shots to get a composition I liked. I was happy with my tent and lake shots, but it was the meadows and stars that I really liked.
But what a palaver…. I’m going off my Gorillapod as it often sags during a long exposure (one or more of the joints is much looser than the others), and it’s simply not that stable when using the telephoto lens. Plus having to crawl around on my front to peer through the viewfinder is getting old. Could be time to invest in a decent hiking tripod.
I also had fun taking a few long-exposure selfies but that’s a topic for another post (for a preview of the results, check out my profile pic on Instagram or Twitter).