It’s late and I just landed in Houston for my Lightroom seminar later this morning. Having finished the same seminar yesterday in Boston (Thanks! You guys were awesome!), I thought I’d share one of the photos I took while there (click the photo above to see it larger).
The Sun Rises WAY Too Early in Boston
I never realized how much further east Boston is than Tampa, FL. The sun rises there nearly an hour and half before it does in Tampa (5am vs 6:30am). Needless to say I got myself up way too early to catch sunrise. I’ve always liked this view of Boston though. It’s kinda the “gimmee” shot for people who visit there, but I thought I could make my own version of the photo unique. One of the ways I figured I’d do it, was to get there for sunrise. You typically see this view at sunset or at night. I noticed the sun sets behind the buildings though. So I asked one of the security guards in the area if he knew which direction the sun rose and he pointed out over the water behind me and to my right. So I knew that (at the right time) the sun would just light up those buildings, and make ’em glow.
My Camera Settings
I borrowed Scott Kelby’s Nikon D800 once again. I’m probably going to break down and buy one sooner or later because I just love this camera. The detail is amazing. I never knew I wanted this much detail until I saw it. I also rented a Nikon 16-35mm lens from LensProToGo.com. It’s the second time I’ve rented the lens and I really like it for my wide angle work (more so than the revered Nikon 14-24, but more on that in another post). Camera settings were:
• Focal Length: 19mm
• Aperture: f/16
• Shutter Speed: 4 minutes
• ISO: 100
Did You Say 4 Minutes?
Yup, you read that right. I used my Lee Big Stopper 10-stop ND again here (read about my previous time out with it here). That was another way I thought I could put my own spin on the scene. See, the sun was going in and out behind some clouds – and the clouds behind the buildings were nothing great. Plus, the water was choppy. But the long exposure lets all of that smooth out. It almost looks as if there’s a reflection in the water. To me, the long exposure gives some movement to an otherwise still photo. Plus, the long exposure effect in the sky and water, really tend to make any other details in the photo (like the skyline) pop out. I gotta say, I’m digging’ the long exposure stuff.
I Did Take the Night Shot Too
I figured I was there so I took a night time version of the photo. This one was shot at f/22 and a 70 second shutter speed.
(click for a larger version)
So there’s a little bit of the story behind my fun (but really quick) trip to Boston. I was barely there for 24-hours but the fun and engaged crowd at my seminar TOTALLY made it worth it. Now… on to Houston. Sadly, I’ll be there even less time. I don’t even think my camera (sorry, Scott’s camera) will make it out of the bag, other than at the seminar. Have a good one, and if you’re in Houston today make sure you come up and say hi!
Thank you for every other informative blog.
Where else may just I get that kind of information written in such a perfect approach?
I have a challenge that I am just now operating on, and I have been at the glance out for such
Matt, I am getting a lot of value form your “Story behind the Picture” series. In this one I found the answer to one of my long standing grumbles about shooting under clouds. The long exposure is a great way to average out the light falling on the subject. I am resisting using ND filters because of the Sherpa Issue. I just don’t want to schlep a bigger bag around to hold the filters. Is there a work-around to get a longer exposure? I do have a polarizing filter and have used it to some effect in longer exposures- mostly to darken the sky.
Great shot. I am loving long exposure too. I recently got a 9 stop ND filter.
Buildings in first pic looks almost toy like and the inclusion of the cable really makes it a fantastic shot!!
Hey Matt. Cool Pics! Question: Would hdr work for long exposure shots like this?… Say 3 min, 4 min, & 5 min. exposures?
They would. But you’d have to do a lot of manual blending. Not sure the ghosting features would work that well.
Love the pics.
Great shot, Matt. I really like your composition on this one!
Great shot and thanks for all the tips. My eyes play tricks on me when I view this. The buoy things in the water look to me like they are holding up the city scape.
Good job leveling the camera and keeping it perpendicular to the buildings. Did you eyeball it or some leveling device to get it right. Sometimes in long exposure, like 4 minutes, there’s “color noise” – looks like the D800 nailed it.. Love to hear more on the Nikon 16-35mm lens vs. Nikon 14-24.
No leveling Eric. Eyeballed it and fixed any perspective problems in Lightroom.
Hope you remembered to turn off the long exposure noise reduction for that 4 minute exposure, otherwise it could’ve been an even longer wait to get seeing the result on the LCD screen.
Thanks for letting us see these photos again, Matt. Great shots, and now I have to revisit that site with my camera. Great seminar in Boston, as usual! You never fail to impress me with your product knowledge, patience with all the questions asked during breaks, and humor when things don’t go quite right (like the Map module hiccup). Looking forward to PSW Vegas!
Thanks John! Great seeing you! Vegas baby!!!
How did you determine the exposure? 4 minutes gives you some latitude for the time (eg: using a 4×5 view camera for catalog photography circa 1975) but I am curious how you planned for the exposure with the stopped down lense and ND filter. Thx.
Hey John. It was a mix of using the chart on the Lee Filter website and trial and error 🙂
thank you. I will do some exploring on the Lee website. Both photos are incredible. Just when I thought your church interior (HDR example shown at PHL Lightroom workshop last year) was amazing you pull out these…
Excellent shot Matt. Gald you enjoyed your visit to our fare city of Boston. Your two images reflect both an amazing city to shoot in and an amazing location to shoot at. I’ve frequent this location many times and am always amazed at how different people shoot from this spot. Hope your travels are safe.
How did you select 4 minutes vs 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 3 1/2 minutes, etc.?
The Lee Big Stopper web page has a chart that helps figure it out. Combine that with a little trial and error and I got 4 minutes 🙂
You mentioned asking the security guard where the sun rises. Here is a great website to figure that out: http://www.suncalc.net
Very useful when planning where the light will come from during the day at any given location.
Really like the night shot! The morning shot is great, but I love the lighting and reflections of the night shot! Okay, here’s a question for you. What is the difference between Tiffen’s 10 stop circular filter and Lee’s 10 stop Big Boomer? I’m thinking of getting the Tiffen 10 stop filter. What do you think?
Have fun in Houston! Hopefully you’ll make it to Denver this year … after the fires of course!
Hey Dennis. Honestly, I don’t know. I haven’t used the Tiffen nor do I know anyone who has. If I hear anything I’ll let you know though.
Hey Matt, Thanks for getting back to me. I read some of your other answers to folks, so I think I’ll jump over to the Lee web page and check it out!
Have you ever looked at The Photographers Ephemeris? http://photoephemeris.com/ I have it on my iPad… and just noticed it is on Android, too. May need to get it for my phone. I don’t use it a ton, but GREAT for showing me where sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset are. I also have an app on my Android called Shadowfacts (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.resmass.shadowfacts.) that shows WHERE on the compass/facing sunrise/sunset occurs. I tend to use them both.
I’d love to see one of the tours come through Boise, Id. We’re a long way from Salt Lake, Portland, and Seattle. I’d love to attend one of your classes, but I have never seen one roll through here.
I’ll make sure I check it out.
There’s a similar app for the iPhone and iPad called LightTrac http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lighttrac/id392892355?mt=8
I bought it to plan for the transit of Venus last month, and just used it again yesterday to plan a sunset photo.
Great stuff and I’m very glad to hear you’re coming to Seattle.
By the way, get this for your phone:
That way you’ll be ready if there isn’t a security guard handy.
Matt, It’s not that Boston is further East that causes the longer day and earlier sunrise. It’s that it’s further NORTH. How about bringing the tour to Seattle? In all the years Lightroom has never been taught here.
I dunno, I just figured the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. So the further east you are (which by the way, Boston is when you look at it on a globe and map), I thought the sun would rise earlier 🙂
Should be in Seattle August 24th. Keep an eye out and I’m sure I’ll be promoting the heck out of it 🙂
Nope, the length of the daylight and nightfall are determined but the latitude (that’s why the it stays daylight at the poles and equally stays dark), the earth spins on it’s axis and the farther east you are, the earlier you see the rays of light from the sun. Sun rise happens in Boston before it does in Tampa, every day. If it doesn’t we have serious issues.