Friday, March 13, 2009

It’s All Creek To Me

Gold On The Horizon And Pink On The Water

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON



Sometimes you have to react quickly to a brief flare of colour. It was long after sunset this weekend when I noticed something I haven’t seen before. The bottom-most part of the horizon was a pastel mix of gentle orange and gold, while the creek was a mirror for the pink that was much higher in the sky.

I shot this quick sequence without a tripod, choosing my 18-125mm lens rather than the 70-300mm zoom. Why? Because I wanted to make use of the tall trees that stand like silent sentinels on the far edge of the creek. Their silhouettes, I figured, would almost enhance the gentle colours on show.


When you need a long exposure time, your shutter stays open longer, so in this sort of situation the chances are that you’ll end up with a bit of image-shimmer, which looks like an off-focus image. This is simply caused by the lens taking in the slightest hand tremor that takes place while the shutter is open.


In case my images were not as sharp as I hoped they would be, I shot different compositions. Sure enough, if you look at the high-res version of the first image on this post, you’ll notice that the sharpness is compromised. But by using different viewpoints and employing the silhouettes across the surface of the water, the results aren’t too bad.

Here’s a tip, though. If you’re using a camera in very low light, such as this, try propping the camera itself on a fence post or some such object. If all else fails, try and steady your elbows on a rock or even on terra firma. One other trick is to hold your breath – but make sure you don’t run out of puff.


For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.

45 comments:

jinksy said...

Loved the way the first one has a natural barrier across the centre - like the one between day and night.

Miss_Nobody said...

Love the pictures.This is a Calcuttan speaking :)
Take care~

Maggie May said...

The pictures are really lovely. I always like reflections on water.

Sylvia K said...

Exquisite shots as always. Love the reflections and the trees etched against the sky!

Pat - Arkansas said...

Thanks for the wonderful lesson to go along with the photos. Beautiful scenes.

Cheffie-Mom said...

Nature is beautiful. Love the colors.

Muthering Heights said...

Beautiful! Dusky shots like this are so difficult to capture, and you did a wonderful job!

Tracie said...

love the feeling these pics bring out. nice work.

Artist Unplugged said...

Absolutely beatimus!

Janet said...

Those are incredibly gorgeous. Like paintings.

Moannie said...

Gorgeous David. Obviously I am going to have to save my pennies to buy a camera that has such lenses. With my point and click they TELL me I have 3x magnification, but I never know when to use it and anyway it is a tiny dial that you have to put a fingernail in the groove to change.
Meanwhile I shall keep on keeping on.

The Things We Carried said...

Inevr would have thought of propping my camera on an object nearby. Such the amateur I am. GREAT hint! Thanks!

Expat mum said...

Gorgeous. I'm going to have to get the Queenager to read your posts. She's a budding photographer and has a natural talent.

RuneE said...

Very nice work for so long exposures (1/10 -1/20 sec). I hope you didn't run out of puff!

I have just bought A Gorillapod Focus (more robust variety). Do you have any experience?

Woman in a Window said...

HA! That last line made me laugh! I don't know how many shots I've lost because I've been red in the face in need of a breath.

Nice pictures, David.

Cath said...

Breathtaking. In more ways than one!

Just beautiful.

lakeviewer said...

David,
You cause a stir with each post. I love learning about the world, consuming your visuals, and learning about the craft of picture taking, and picture stalking. If only more people shared so generously.

Mrs. Organic said...

Stunning as usual. I love that you share beauty with us.

ArneA said...

Very nice photos and the best with your post is the accompanying text.

Katney said...

My friend (the one I have mentioned to you recently) has offered another way of steadying the camera to an elderly gentleman of his acquaintance who has some tremor in his hands. He has advised him to hold the camera upside down against his forehead. Might not work as well with your larger equipment, but it is a handy idea with a lightweight point and shoot.

Jules~ said...

Hey you are right. Holding my breath does make me less shakey with the camera in my hand. (I find it also helps when shooting target practice too.)
I love te gold and pink combinations. Thank you for blessing us with these photos.

Blessings to you today.

Guy D said...

Fantastic shots as always david, I love the gold colors peeking through the trees.

Have a great weekend!
Guy
Regina In Pictures

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

very serene looking! just what l need!

TheWritersPorch said...

Those are gorgeous David! Good job!

Colin Campbell said...

Fantastic shots given the limited light. I struggle with camera shake in that kind of light. A tripod works well if you have one.

becky aka theRAV said...

Well, I haven't tried holding my breath yet or at least not that I am aware of. I will try that one next time, David. Thanks for the advice. Great shots as always.

bowledover said...

Hi David and thank you for not only the pictures which are lovely with reflection too, but also the explanation on shutter timing and camera shake.

Tranquility said...

Those are so pretty! I especially love the second one - the color reflecting on the water is so neat.

Robin said...

Beautiful, just beautiful. That last one is my winner for sure.

Michele said...

Beautiful photos... the color combination is quite unique!

Mountain Retreat Photos

Craver Vii said...

Not as sharp as you hoped? Sir, you are a statue when you shoot freehand! These pics are gorgeous.

imac said...

Wonders of Nature David, you found them all.

Annie said...

Thanks David, for those shots...isn't it great when these things happen...they seem to happen all the time here out my kitchen window, except my many gum trees are always in the road!!

That second photo is just terrific, with the several different layers of colors ...!!

I had a terrific sunset last night..you will find it at the end of my skywatch post! Annie

ps I hear you are getting a little more rain there...so good to hear!

Mrs Cooper said...

Thanks so much for stopping by from the land down under. Do you all call us the Land up Above???? Be sure to come back.

Deborah Godin said...

Looks like you had plenty puff enough - these are wonderful!

Bradley Myers said...

Good photos I like the reflections and the colors.

Lori said...

I love these - so beautiful and peaceful. It looks like there is a cross in the water in the second photograph.

Stunning...

Deb said...

Nice photos, thank you for stopping by to visit

Doreen said...

fabulous shots! I am learning as I go. Low light is a hard one to shoot. thanks for sharing.

C. Michael Cox said...

I love the last picture with the branches coming out of the water. They look like the fingers of an old hag as she reaches in a final desperate plea - clinging to life before she melts away.

Lew said...

I love the softness you get in low light conditions. Catching the reflected pink along with the golden horizon is great! We often get sunsets here with a softer pastel color on the high clouds, but no water to reflect that color under the golden horizon.

Sunny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ChrisC and JonJ said...

As usual,great photos.I love the pink tint to the water.

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

these are beautiful!

Louise said...

I love the differences in the horizon and the reflection. The second photo really takes my breath away. Beautiful.