Ben's Photo Blog

Photos from my various adventures

Posts Tagged ‘night’

Into the Night

Posted by Ben on September 10, 2010

Wow, the last few weeks have really flown by.  I’ve been pretty busy, and unfortunately haven’t had a whole lot of time for photography or blogging.  Classes have been going well, though I’ve got a lot of work in most of them already.  My colloquium this semester is on photography.  Each week we’ll have a sort of prompt to go out and photograph.  This is the one I took for this week’s class, whose prompt was “architecture.”  This is a photo of Burruss Hall on campus.  I went out Monday night after the disappointing end to the football game.  I set up my tripod in front of the building and set the exposure to about 13 seconds.  There was a little bit of editing to this shot, straightening it and darkening it a bit.  I really like the way the lights ended up in this shot, and the way the building seems to fade into the darkness at the top.


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Beneath the Stars

Posted by Ben on June 7, 2010

Let me first apologize for the graininess of this picture.  It underwent some serious work in Photoshop before it ended up this way.  My original shot was almost entirely black, aside from about 5 specks of light from the brightest of the stars.

I went with another group of friends up to the cabin in Sparta.  The first night there, we had some pretty intense thunderstorms, but the sky really cleared up after they passed.  This picture was taken at about 1:15 am down by the lake.  From my previous experience trying to photograph stars (see here), I knew that I needed to use the tripod and as long of an exposure as I could.  Unfortunately, the longest exposure the camera allows is 15 seconds, which was not quite enough to bring out most of the stars.  As a side note, I have since discovered ways to extend this to over 30 minutes, something I hope to get a chance to experiment with some day.

Anyway, like I mentioned above, the picture came out with only a few pinpricks of light.  I decided to load it up into Photoshop in order to play around with it a little.  Using the Shadows/Highlights tool as well as the manual Curves adjuster, I was able to bring out a little more of the image.  Not only can you see many many more stars, but you can also see the silhouette of the trees around the lake as well as the remnants of a cloud in the bottom right.  Unfortunately, doing this is what also introduced the grainy aspect to the picture as well.  I think it’s a small price to pay for all of the extra detail brought out in the process.

I know I’ve said it before, but one of the things that I enjoy so much about going up to the cabin is the feeling of peace and quiet that comes with really getting away from the stresses of day-to-day life.  And I think that this picture, more than any of the others I’ve posted from this location (or plan to post from this most recent trip) really captures that.  It’s one of the few places that I can remember being where I’ve ever looked up at the stars and just been astonished, and the only place I can remember ever being able to see the milky way for myself.

Looking up at this after a mountain thunderstorm, or sitting on the dock a few months ago, seeing the moon through the clouds reflected on the surface of the lake, are the kind of memories I can turn to when things start to get rough and I need a place to escape to for a little while.  I also have the memories of the weekends spent with some of my closest friends from school, which I will always hold close to my heart.


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A Lunar Treat

Posted by Ben on December 2, 2009

I got a call last night, around 11, while I was working on my take-home test for Real Analysis.  It was my friend Caleb calling to tell me to come outside and look at the moon, and to bring my camera.  I didn’t really know what was going on at the time, but I figured I could use a break, so I grabbed my camera bag and headed out the door.  I found him outside, staring up at the sky.  Following his gaze, I was able to make out a ring around the moon.  We headed out to the middle of the drillfield, where it was marginally darker, to get a better look, and here’s what we saw:

This was taken with a 15 second exposure, shorter ones didn’t really capture much of the ring.  I’d have to say that this ranks up there as one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in the night sky.  The name of this phenomenon is the 22° halo.  You can read more about it here if you’re interested.  Basically, the ring is formed when the light reflecting off of the moon is refracted through hexagonal ice crystals present in high, thin, cirrus clouds.  I think one of the coolest aspects of this is that the disk between the moon and the halo is so much darker than the surrounding sky, another phenomenon known as an Alexander’s Band.  The first thing that pops into my head is that it looks like a giant clear sphere with a single light source floating in the middle of it.  Because of the way the ice crystals refract the light, you may be able to make out different colors in the ring.  Once we noticed that, I zoomed in on the bottom edge of the ring to see if they would show up more clearly without as much light from the moon:

It’s pretty easy to pick out all of the colors of the rainbow here, with the red on the inside of the ring and the violet on the outer edge.


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