Don't forget the Sleepy Hollow field trip next Wednesday, December 15. Park along Prospect in Redondo Beach, around Avenue H, next to Tulita Elementary School. We will meet there at 5 PM, and walk into the lighted Sleepy Hollow neighborhood which is in Torrance. Betsy has scouted the territory and this looks like a good way for us all to meet and get started.
Afterwards we can all drive to one of restaurants in the area for some food and fellowship. Four places have been suggested --- the Catalina Coffee Company (for a light supper), Chicago For Ribs (for a really large dinner), or the China Buffet or Mexican Riviera for something in between. We will decide among ourselves which is preferred.
I have been asked about what is the best way to take night photographs of Christmas lights. The first word of advice is to bring a tripod. Last year I went with another group to photograph the Christmas lights in this same area. Here are some examples obtained with my Nikon D100 digital camera. All of these pictures were taken with the ISO set at 1600, the white balance on "cloudy" to provide a warming (red) filter, and an exposure compensation of +0.7 EV. The two photos on the left (UL and LL) were exposed at 1/8 at f/3.2 in manual mode, whereas the LR photo was 1/3 second at f/11. The carolers (UM) and the window display UR were both taken in program mode. The exposures were 1/60 at f/5.6 and 1/20 at f/4 respectively. The photo of the caroling children and their fathers used the flash unit built into the camera. The sunburst shot LM was experimental. Marge Robinson shared with us a technique she had read about. With the camera on a tripod, select a long exposure time. During the exposure change the zoom lens focal length in a steady manner. Viola, sunburst! Of course we all tried several of these. This one was taken for 13 seconds at f/32.
In general, the technique I used for setting the exposure was as follows: select an aperture, then sample the scene in aperture priority mode to see what shutter speeds would be required. Use spot metering for this. Once a shutter speed is selected, go to manual mode and enter the desired exposure. All that is left is to frame the shot, and assure a good focus --- automatic focus works fine.
See you Wednesday.