An homage to Stephen Wilkes Day to Night images
AuthorTopic: An homage to Stephen Wilkes Day to Night images Read 162 Times
Landscape & Nature Techniqueon: August 31, 2020 at 1:38 pm
So after watching the interviews with Stephen Wilkes I was particularly taken by his Day to Night images. I’m far from a people person though so I thought to try my hand with a lightpainted image at night who’s composition would then then take being transformed to daylight. On Saturday we were promised thunderstorms and heavy rain on Cape Cod, but passing by 2am on Sunday then quickly clearing by dawn. The moon was due to set at 3am and would give me some night light if needed to pick out additional details that I didn’t want to lightpaint. Lastly low tide was at 4am and could give me an interesting foreground. Sunrise was going to be at 6am. I had seen a lobster pot on the beach when kayaking on Nauset Marsh about a week before and thought this might work well if I could make a good composition, although it would be on the wrong side of the sandbar to get the sun at dawn. Still I thought I’d give it a try so my alarm went off at midnight.
I hiked down Coastguard Beach to the entrance to Nauset Marsh and found that the lobster pot was only a foot or so away from an imobile No Dogs sign in the sand. This pretty much eliminated it from a good composition with an UWA lens so I composed a shot and lightpainted it (1st image below) and moved on.
I found a small section of ripples left by the receding tide and captured an image using the setting moon over the marsh to light it (2nd image), but again, not a good composition otherwise.
I walked round to the ocean side and started looking for an interesting foreground. I eventually decided to use a pair of higher sand hillocks that receded into the water. I knew that I would see more of them as the tide continued dropping, leaving a series of ripples that would add interest. This section of the beach also has distant sandbars at low tide, breaking up an otherwise boring stretch of water. I could see Orion rising with Venus to the left in a largely clear sky. Sirius would show up later.
I set the camera up and used it’s interval function to start taking 15 sec exposures every minute. I was using manual exposure so I’d either have to switch to an auto exposure mode as the light changed or adjust it periodically, maybe change to manual exposures. I won’t bother to bore you with night starscape images, they are about as boring as I was bored. I had taken a small 3 legged stool and a Kindle with several library books but I could not get comfortable. I’d taken the images of the lobster pot at 2.15am and the 1st images of what I hoped to be a night-to-day shot at 3am, about an hour before astronomical dawn, so I had a way to go before I would see any light on the horizon.
Periodically I walked around to stretch my legs. I didn’t bother too much about keeping my flashlight or headlamp masked as I could see when the camera was done making an image. I also knew that it wouldn’t make much if any difference if some had my light in them as I didn’t expect to use more than a few of the star images. When I set all my gear up the beach was cleanly washed by the tide but at some point I noticed tracks from a Coyote passing behind me at the top of the beach together with a pause where he had evidently stopped and turned to check out what was on the back of my camera LCD. He must have had sharp eyes. Or maybe not because later on I saw a return set of tracks that had passed by the camera and my stool by only a couple of feet. By that time I had set up a 2nd camera so I was probably elsewhere. Just glad he did not nudge the tripod.
The horizon finally started getting some light and I had to change exposure setting. A large but thin and broken cloud bank rolled in from behind me and towards the horizon and I could see stars above it and colour on the horizon (3rd image). I put the camera back on it’s interval setting and took a 2nd tripod and camera to location far enough from the 1st that it would not be in the scene and set it up for a straight forward set of stills. The cloud continued moving towards the horizon but thinning and bringing in higher broken cloud and I was hoping it would all turn pink as the sun approached the horizon. The last images were taken at 6.15am after the sun had risen but conveniently hidden itself behind the thin cloudbank.
For post processing I pulled in 25 images (from 400 captured) but this is a very simple image compared to anything Stephen Wilkes showed and I only ended up using 7 of them in the final composition. From the dark night sky and stars in the top right we see Orion as we move down to the left. Sirius and his reflection is peeking below the cloud and as we move further to the left we see the dawning light but then the sun itself having risen is behind the cloud. We see some pink in the high clouds but it never developed in the lower clouds. Venus was in all of the shots but I elected to leave her out as she would have ended up in a spot that was very light. I had a few frames with meteors (and some with airplanes) and kept one of them among the stars.
Hope this was not too long and you enjoy the images.
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KeymasterPosts: 552Re: An homage to Stephen Wilkes Day to Night imagesReply #1 on: August 31, 2020 at 2:32 pm
How cool is that?! Well done. Exceptional. I really like the last image. It’s good to see people watching and or reading an article and getting motivated to do something on their own. Thank you for sharing and look forward to seeing more.
CEO & Publisher of PhotoPXL.com and Rockhopperworkshops.com
ParticipantPosts: 25Re: An homage to Stephen Wilkes Day to Night imagesReply #2 on: August 31, 2020 at 2:47 pm
great pictures, especially the last one I like very much and reminds me of our North Sea in Europe.
Re: An homage to Stephen Wilkes Day to Night imagesReply #3 on: August 31, 2020 at 3:41 pm
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by Oliver Ritter-Wolff.
… It’s good to see people watching and or reading an article and getting motivated to do something on their own.
Thanks Kevin, yes, exactly what I was thinking.
Mike Nelson Pedde
ParticipantPosts: 456Re: An homage to Stephen Wilkes Day to Night imagesReply #4 on: September 2, 2020 at 1:59 am
Worth the effort. The last two are well done and I particularly like the last one.
Mike Nelson Pedde
ParticipantPosts: 15Re: An homage to Stephen Wilkes Day to Night imagesReply #5 on: September 3, 2020 at 7:05 pm
Well done, Mike, not too long at all and I definitely enjoyed the images as well as your description.
Website and blog: www.DavidEckelsPhotography.comRe: An homage to Stephen Wilkes Day to Night imagesReply #6 on: September 4, 2020 at 3:27 am
Thank you Mike, and thank you David.
Mark D Segal
ParticipantPosts: 230Re: An homage to Stephen Wilkes Day to Night imagesReply #7 on: September 9, 2020 at 2:37 pm
Hi Mike – it takes a lot of savvy, vision and especially perseverance to do work that good – thanks ever so much for sharing. Really appreciated. Mark
Mark D Segal
Author: Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, published by LaserSoft Imaging AG
https://www.silverfast.com/downloads/92ed080ac1ae274ea6aeed756a504f7a/en.htmlRe: An homage to Stephen Wilkes Day to Night imagesReply #8 on: September 17, 2020 at 2:57 pm
Thank you very much Mark. Sorry for the late reply, no email notification for some reason.
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