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Thread: Cape Byron Lighthouse

  1. #1
    PhotoByTrace's Avatar
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    Cape Byron Lighthouse

    On my recent holiday to South-East Queensland I ventured over the border to Byron Bay for an afternoon shooting at the Lighthouse. I also thought I'd experiment with night photos, and while I wasn't happy with the outcome of any of those, I learned more about how quickly star trails form in long exposures at night; so did some reading on that. Also learned that if I don't want trails that I may need a faster wider lens (or some flash) to capture the lighthouse the way I'd like to at night. Or, stick to twilight when there is still some ambient light.
    Here are some of the photos from my afternoon/evening.
    1. (42s f/8 iso200 31mm)
    Cape Byron Lighthouse

    2. (64s f/8 iso200 48mm)
    Cape Byron Lighthouse

    3. (30s f/8 iso200 18mm)
    Cape Byron Lighthouse

    4. (20s f/8 iso200 36mm)
    Cape Byron Lighthouse

    And one of my eerie night failures (122s f/6.7 iso500 18mm)
    Cape Byron Lighthouse
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 29th January 2012 at 02:16 PM. Reason: added EXIF data

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Cape Byron Lighthouse

    Goodness me, you're on a highly creative streak at the moment.

    A high quality set of images. It's silly to pick one of from the bunch, but this did take the breath away. The light on the building is spectacular.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoByTrace View Post
    Cape Byron Lighthouse
    You seem to have got just the right location for each of these.

    Wonderful. Well done.

  3. #3
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    Re: Cape Byron Lighthouse

    Everything about the second shot appeals to me! Beautifully done, Trace!

    #1 works well. The base of the lighthouse in #3 blends in with the clouds and looses some definition but you often can't wait for the clouds to move at sunset. I like the composition and 'light' of #4 but I feel that there should be either more (or less) haze.

    For #5, I would try getting multiple exposures so that you can get sharper definition in the 'light'. Another technique is to mount the camera on a tripod and shoot while there is still light, then again after dark to get the lit-up portion of the image, then blend in post processing. This technique is also used to get building window lights in cityscapes.

    Overall a very nice set!

  4. #4
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    Re: Cape Byron Lighthouse

    Lovely shots, nicely composed. Well done.

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Cape Byron Lighthouse

    Great series Trace, an inspiration.

    I added the shooting information by each, as it makes them far more educational for us, I hope you don't mind.

    I don't understand the low contrast lighthouse in #4, was there sea spray in the air?
    It may, by separately treating the building, be recoverable in PP.

    For #5, I also wondered whether a short exposure shot at night of the lighthouse could have frozen the rotating lens and shown the single beam, to be blended, along the lines of Frank's idea in PP with the longer exposure(s).

    Best regards,

  6. #6
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    Re: Cape Byron Lighthouse

    You've captured the essence of the lighthouse's purpose in #1. The converging lines (cliff, path & water horizon) lead the eye to your subject. Love it!

    Not sure how I feel about the clouds. With such a long exposure (42 seconds?), perhaps take bracketed shots, to enhance the detail in the clouds, while bumping up the details below the lighthouse. That being said, the shot still works for me.

  7. #7
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    Re: Cape Byron Lighthouse

    Thanks all for the lovely comments and constructive feedback.

    And thanks Donald! That is a wonderful compliment... "this did take the breath away".... thank you.

    Thanks Frank... I may do some burning around the base of 3... appreciate that feedback. With 5 my intention just after sunset was to take a photo while still light and use it to blend with a night shot. I was set up and had the photo when the lighthouse keeper came down to let me know that he was about to lock up the carpark for the night and that I would need to shift my car to the lower carpark past the gate. I was shooting by myself so couldn't leave my gear set up, so packed up, shifted the car, came back and set back up in the now dark. So unfortunately I missed that opportunity.

    Dave, I don't mind at all, it certainly helps decipher how the photo was taken. Yes, in 4 and 5 there is low fog/mist/haze hanging at the top of the cliff. The wind dropped back on sunset and the mist appeared. I do have a version of 4 where I've increased contrast and it has recovered it quite well, though when comparing the photos I decided I liked the low contrast misted version. It was not recoverable in 5 due to the light reflection. And yes, there are lots of things I'd like to try again with the night one given the opportunity, not sure when I'll get back to the location though. I've found that there is a actually a working lighthouse at Cape Cleavland near Townsville but it is only accessible by boat, so that is a challenge for the future too.
    Last edited by PhotoByTrace; 29th January 2012 at 09:39 PM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Cape Byron Lighthouse

    Quote Originally Posted by sstracke View Post
    You've captured the essence of the lighthouse's purpose in #1. The converging lines (cliff, path & water horizon) lead the eye to your subject. Love it!

    Not sure how I feel about the clouds. With such a long exposure (42 seconds?), perhaps take bracketed shots, to enhance the detail in the clouds, while bumping up the details below the lighthouse. That being said, the shot still works for me.
    Hi Steve, I realise my surreal version of events with the blurring and clouds won't appeal to everyone, and I appreciate that. Though I enjoy it; both in the field capturing the longer exposures and in the final print . But, here's a compromise for you, I also took and developed a short exposure of number 1... though I didn't clone out the lightkeeper's lodging on the left and didn't bump up the details too much either as that doesn't usually appeal to me. It didn't quite make my "final cut" and in revisiting it to post up feel I probably need to adjust my highlights on the lighthouse a little. However I suspect you might like this one more . Cheers!

    6. (1/250sec f/8 iso200 31mm)
    Cape Byron Lighthouse

  9. #9
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    Re: Cape Byron Lighthouse

    Very nicely done. I agree with you about the highlights on the lighthouse. A beautiful location!

  10. #10

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    Re: Cape Byron Lighthouse

    Beautiful shots.

    For non-streaking stars -

    "To obtain a natural looking starry sky the exposure must be less than the time it takes for the stars to noticeably streak. How long is that?

    Divide 500 by the focal length in 35 mm terms to get the maximum number of seconds of exposure without noticeable blurring. A 28 mm lens on a 1.6 crop factor camera yields: 500 / (1.6 * 28) = 11 seconds.

    That is a relatively short time. If that same shot is zoomed in to 200mm streaks begin in 1.6 seconds - a very, very short time for a night exposure."

    So the "failed" shot, which is still good to me, would be 500/(1.5 * 18) = 18 secs. Assuming you are using a Nikon DX

    Btw, I did not invent this calculation. All from here
    http://theamusing.com/photography/st...html/?w=flickr
    Last edited by Bobobird; 30th January 2012 at 08:08 AM.

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