Full moon over Station Square

Almost made it to the Duquesne Incline but, not quite…

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So, for those of you who have not had the pleasure of business travel, let me tell you that this is NOT the best way to go somewhere for photography opportunities!  While we had a successful business trip, I was disappointed that I didn’t get many chances to try to capture more of Pittsburgh while there.  One evening after a full day of working with our customer, we tried to make a trip to the Duquesne Incline.  You see the little blue lights going up Mount Washington in the distance?  That’s it but, this is as close as I got.

Station Square is a shopping complex across the Monongahela River from downtown Pittsburgh on the land that was previously the  Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Station.  You can see the railroad tracks running in front of the buildings here.  These are still in use and we saw a freight train pass by as we were eating dinner.

Unfortunately, the group was too tired to go up the incline by the time we got done with dinner so, I guess I will hope to try again the next time.  From what I can see, this is the ideal spot to see downtown Pittsburgh from.

Station Square
125 W Station Square Drive
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
16mm @ f/3.5 – 1/40 sec – ISO 1600

Pittsburg panorama

A night-time view of the city of bridges

While on a business trip to Pittsburgh, I had to get a few images of this beautiful old city.  This one is from the riverfront at Station Square.  In the “City of Bridges” I had to get at least one bridge included.  The Pittsburgh area boasts over 400 bridges!  Having lived in another river city – New Orleans, where there is only 1 bridge this was quite a sight.

I need to go back when I have time to really appreciate this place.  It is full of neat old neighborhoods, amazing churches and fantastic architecture.  A great place to visit.

Pittsburgh Riverfront
Station Square
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
2-shot panorama
16mm @ f/3.5 – 1/3 sec – ISO 1250

Go ahead, jump in

Not too inviting but, you can go if you’re brave enough.

It took a while to get the hang of light painting.  I got more ugly stuff than good but this is one that I thought was neat.  The broken window was something that I noticed right away but initially, I couldn’t get it lit the way I wanted.  As it turned out, I got the light on that by accident.  The light coming from behind the glass is actually another member of our group who was light painting in the background.

I did my job to get the rear-end of the car lit the way I wanted and someone else (without even knowing it) added the touch that I think made this special.  I will take a happy-accident anytime!

Roswell Photographic Society
3-day Workshop with Roman Kurywczak
Old Car City
3098 Highway 411 Northeast
White, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD
17mm at f/4.2 – 14 sec – ISO 160

#OldCarCity #AutoGraveyard #junkyard #night#darkness#ClassicCar #NightPhotography Old Car City USA Roman Kurywczak Roswell Photographic Society #3DaySummit Discover Atlanta Explore Georgia

Remember the Steven King movie-Christine?

This might be Christine’s grandfather

Pretty spooky, huh?  This is what you can get if you go to a classic-car junkyard at night and wander around in the woods.

The hulking front-end and heavy chrome bumpers made this old Cadillac a great subject to try out some light painting.  In this case, I got an added bonus of an eerie red glow in the background.  That was actually caused by a street light out in front of the wooded lot where all the cars are.

I tried several different approaches on this car but, this was my favorite.  It was quite an education learning how to do light painting for this type of image.  Let me share a few of the things that I learned:

  1. FOCUS
    The hardest thing to do in the dark is focus.  If you are doing stars – everything is pretty far away and you don’t need to change your focus.  You do need to find the right spot on your lens where the “infinity” focus point is.  It’s not the same on every camera or lens.  When you’re setting up for this type of shoot, set up your camera when it’s still light out.  Focus on a point around 30 feet away and either mark that spot or tape your focus ring to stay at that spot.

    If you are shooting subjects that are closer to the camera (like what I was doing above) you need to re-focus as you move around.  The best I could come up with for this is to set up your camera (yes, you need a tripod for this!!) point your flashlight at the subject and manually focus the best you can.  It’s not easy to do this, especially if your flashlight is not super-bright but it worked well for me.

  2. SHUTTER SPEED
    You can do your light-painting by setting a specific shutter speed for some number of seconds and play around until you find a level of exposure that works for your image.  I found it easiest to use a cable-release and set the shutter on Bulb.  I started the capture in the dark, opened the shutter with the cable and then turn on the flashlight to start painting.  I actually did some exposures where I painted one part of the scene, turned the flashlight off and moved to another area and painted a different spot with the shutter open the whole time.  I also played with getting that ambient light from the street light more pronounced by leaving the shutter open for a while but not painting anything during that time.

    The only time I actually used a pre-set shutter speed was when I was trying to get stars in the sky.  For that type of image, I was going with the settings used for Milky Way or night sky (High ISO, Aperture wide open and Long exposures like 20-30 seconds).  I opened the shutter and did some light painting but usually not for the whole time of the exposure.  The rest of the time the shutter was open to get those distant stars.

  3. BRUSH STROKES
    Don’t leave the beam of the flashlight in one spot too long (unless you’re going for pools of light at a point) and don’t move in straight lines with the light.  Short, wavy “brush strokes” are better than long-straight ones.  I also found that if you are close to your subject, a lower powered beam is better.  If the beam doesn’t give you enough light, paint longer.  A strong-beam close up seems to blow things out very quickly.  Save the big flashlights for subjects that are more distant.

Roswell Photographic Society
3-day Workshop with Roman Kurywczak
Old Car City
3098 Highway 411 Northeast
White, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
24mm at f/4.5 – 12 sec – ISO 160

Light Painting at Old Car City

Night-time at the Auto Graveyard

Last night, members of the Roswell Photographic Society went up to White, Georgia to do a workshop on night-time photography with Roman Kurywczak.  If you have never heard of it before, Old Car City is the worlds largest known classic car junkyard.  It was featured on the CBS Sunday Morning show several years ago and has become a mecca for photographers since then.

We got to practice the techniques that were explained earlier in the day at this very interesting location.  It was still pretty warm out and the bugs were buzzing around but with the help of lots of flashlights and insect repellant, we were able to explore the junkyard in the dark and get some good images.

Old Car City is always an interesting trip and I got some interesting images both before and after sunset.  Will share more in the days to come.

Roswell Photographic Society
3-day Workshop with Roman Kurywczak
Old Car City
3098 Highway 411 Northeast
White, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
10mm at f/4 – 30 sec – ISO 160

Can you see the shooting star?

Perseid meteor shower was at its peak this weekend

OK, so I am going to have to accept that I live in a large suburban city and the sky is never going to be truly dark.  None the less, we went out on Saturday night to try our luck at seeing the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. We got lucky in that, the clouds which were covering the sky earlier cleared but we just couldn’t get everyone in the city to turn their lights off.

There is actually a meteor trail in this shot in the lower section between the trees.  Joyce saw one bright one streak across the sky (of course, I missed it) but that was all the show that we got.  Still, it was a beautiful night and other than a sore neck and a little lost sleep, we enjoyed seeing the stars and wondering at the vastness of the universe.

Nikon D7100
Tamron 10-24 Di II LD SP AF
10mm at f/3.5 – 13 sec – ISO 2000

Milky Way over the Blue Ridge

A little hazy and cloudy but still a good sighting of the Milky Way

Since our mountain trip with the  North Georgia Photography Club was intended as a night-time star shoot, I had to post one Milky Way image.  I almost gave up on our chances here due to all the clouds that came close to covering the sky at sunset.  I decided to make my way back down to the parking area where Joyce had decided to stay with a few others.  We had a good view of the Milky Way from there on our previous visit but I really thought this was when we would be saying good-night and heading out.

The small group that was waiting in the parking area were more positive than I and they convinced me to wait it out for a while.  As it turned out, the sky cleared up mostly but it was still hazy and clouds crossed over the Milky Way at times.  We also got a fair amount of light pollution from Blairsville, Helen, Young Harris and Hiawassee in the surrounding areas. All that said, it was still amazing to see all those stars and we could actually see the Milky Way with the un-aided eye.  Joyce also saw several shooting stars but I always seemed to be looking the wrong way for that.

It was pretty cool when the sun went down which was a great feeling compared to the sweltering weather back in Atlanta.  Have to keep this place on the list for night-shots and find a time of year when the skies are more likely to be crisp and clear.  Really enjoyed the outing and meeting up with my NGPC friends.

Milky Way over Blue Ridge
Brasstown Bald Mountain
Towns and Union Counties, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
10mm at f/4.5 – 30 sec – ISO 1600

#MilkyWay #nightphotography #stars #galaxy #Georgia #BrasstownBald #BlueRidge #Appalachian #mountains #southern #photography #WithMyTamron #Nikon