A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

Started Dec 27, 2013 | Discussions
areichow Senior Member • Posts: 1,585
A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1
11

I had an opportunity to do a bit of night photography this last Monday (12/23/2013) in Jay Cooke State Park in northeastern Minnesota. The night was cold, hovering around 0 °F (-18 °C). Since my partner and I both had some time off close to Christmas, we thought it'd be fun for us and the kids to stay in a cabin at the State Park and do a little snowshoeing the next day.

It was pretty cloudy when I started out at 10 PM and was almost completely clear by 11:30 when I called it a night. I would have stayed up longer, but with the moon rising around 11:30 and two young kids it didn't seem prudent.

This is the first time I've had a chance to do much night work with this lens - I biffed my last opportunity on my October backpacking trip. It's far from perfect, but given the size and weight I continue to be very happy with it.

C&C welcome. These aren't much more than snapshots, so go easy on me. I'm pretty happy with the first two.

The Road into Jay Cooke

The stars above our cabin

The St. Louis River lit by the distant glow of Duluth

The St. Louis River lit by the distant glow of Duluth

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Dunnlang Regular Member • Posts: 140
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

Excellent shots.  I really like the combination of well exposed foreground, clouds and sky.  Each shot is well framed and has something nice for the eye to follow.

There is some star streaking in these pictures, but I find it unobjectionable.  The clouds and the foreground mask it and at smaller web sizes, you won't see it unless you look for it.

Did you use a tripod for these shots?  If not, your hand held skills are impressive.

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npires
npires Senior Member • Posts: 1,732
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1
1

Pfffft!!! Snapshots?? They're pretty damn good

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Rey66
Rey66 Senior Member • Posts: 1,426
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

wow, excellent shots! stars are visible, must be very cold this makes your photograph of the sky really works well..

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OP areichow Senior Member • Posts: 1,585
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

Dunnlang wrote:

Excellent shots. I really like the combination of well exposed foreground, clouds and sky. Each shot is well framed and has something nice for the eye to follow.

There is some star streaking in these pictures, but I find it unobjectionable. The clouds and the foreground mask it and at smaller web sizes, you won't see it unless you look for it.

Did you use a tripod for these shots? If not, your hand held skills are impressive.

There is a bit, but I found it acceptable. Could be worse, could be better.

Yup, all of these were taken with a tripod. I don't have a nice tripod yet, just an UltraPod II. Works pretty well for $15.

1. UltraPod on the hood of the car
2. UltraPod on the roof of the car, me controlling through the moon roof.
3. UltraPod collapsed (sideways monopod?) braced on the railing of the swing bridge.
4. UltraPod on a support/anchor of the swing bridge.

I didn't like this photo much itself (though the lights are kind of cool), but it does show you the swing bridge. This one was taken from the same bridge support as #4.

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GaryW Veteran Member • Posts: 8,688
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

npires wrote:

Pfffft!!! Snapshots?? They're pretty damn good

That's what I was thinking. Looks good to me!

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Gary W.

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davect01
davect01 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,297
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

Nice work, especially on a mini-tripod.

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Novice photobug, proud NEX-F3 owner
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darklamp Senior Member • Posts: 3,567
Best use of an f2.8 wide angle I've seen recently (nt)
1

No text.

LifeIsAVerb Senior Member • Posts: 1,772
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

These are quite lovely! Love the glow-y, ethereal feeling of the direction-less light, and the subtle colors.

Seems you got the exposures just so to balance the sky and land elements.

One can really feel the cold!

Nice work!

evoprox
evoprox Senior Member • Posts: 1,469
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

The 16f28 certainly isn't the sharpest lens there is, but I've seen quite a few sweet shots taken with one of those - and now some more ... +1

Keep them coming !

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LAbrewin
LAbrewin Regular Member • Posts: 332
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

If these are your snapshots I want to see your serious photos!  Fantastic stuff =]

richiemccaw Contributing Member • Posts: 920
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

Great 'snapshots'!!! 

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OP areichow Senior Member • Posts: 1,585
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

If these are your snapshots I want to see your serious photos!  Fantastic stuff =]

Thanks everyone for the kind words.

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Mel Snyder
Mel Snyder Veteran Member • Posts: 4,088
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

Truly excellent. It is virtually impossible here in the northeast to escape light pollution anywhere near large cities. Fifty years ago, one could shoot images like those even reasonably near population centers. Now you can barely see stars.

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cwood Contributing Member • Posts: 662
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

Very nice. Great feel and exposure. How did you handle the focus? Looks like there may have been enough light to see that but its something I struggle with in the dark with that lens.  I also noticed you were running it wide open which could make it even trickier.

OP areichow Senior Member • Posts: 1,585
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

Truly excellent. It is virtually impossible here in the northeast to escape light pollution anywhere near large cities. Fifty years ago, one could shoot images like those even reasonably near population centers. Now you can barely see stars.

I live in a small city Duluth - technically urban, lots of urban concerns, but our metro area is only 190k. I can even get some stars from my backyard in the middle of town, though getting a darker background is very contingent on weather and the moon.

A lot fewer stars when we visit our family in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I don't know if it's just one of childhood memories that isn't quite accurate, but I seem to recall more stars when I was a kid 20-25 years ago.

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OP areichow Senior Member • Posts: 1,585
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

Very nice. Great feel and exposure. How did you handle the focus? Looks like there may have been enough light to see that but its something I struggle with in the dark with that lens.  I also noticed you were running it wide open which could make it even trickier.

Forgot to say - I do feel pretty fortunate to live in an area where you can still see the stars. This state park is not far from Duluth, maybe a 30 minute drive - and most of that is in Duluth. Go an hour north and you can get even darker skies.

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OP areichow Senior Member • Posts: 1,585
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

Very nice. Great feel and exposure. How did you handle the focus? Looks like there may have been enough light to see that but its something I struggle with in the dark with that lens.  I also noticed you were running it wide open which could make it even trickier.

Wide open, hyperfocal is around 15 ft for the 16mm. Even so, getting the lens to infinity can be tricky sometimes. For outdoor shots like these, I always manually focus. For infinity, I use a bright star, the moon, or a back-lit tree out on the horizon. For stars, I'll often take an underexposed handheld shot or two at ISO 12800 to confirm they're in focus - drives me nuts when you're not quite at infinity or a bit past it and you get a blobby star or halos. Kind of fiddly, but it beats standing still for 60s in the cold only to find out that the focus was off.

For the third shot, I think I may have just used the trick of putting the camera into MF and turning the camera off and on. I've read that in MF the camera defaults to infinity on power on. I'm not sure if that's actually true - at 100%, the distant trees don't look they're quite in focus, but I'm not sure if it was just a bit of wind.

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OP areichow Senior Member • Posts: 1,585
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

These are quite lovely! Love the glow-y, ethereal feeling of the direction-less light, and the subtle colors.

Seems you got the exposures just so to balance the sky and land elements.

One can really feel the cold!

Nice work!

Sorry to keep replying to my own thread, but one note on the exposure - the clouds helped a lot in this respect. I pushed the shadows in LR, but didn't have to do anything more than that, like multiple exposures, HDR, or compositing.

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Sonyshine
Sonyshine Veteran Member • Posts: 8,892
Re: A few recent night shots with SEL16F28 + VCL-ECU1

Stunning shots with that combination!

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