Long Reef, Sydney’s Northern Beaches Sydney, NSW, Australia
NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 324 sec at f/8, ISO 100 + Hitech 0.9 Reverse GND + Lee BigStopper + Heliopan CPL
Sometimes there’s lightness even in the darkness…
After more than half an hour of lovely pastel colour and some lovely subtle pink in the high whispy clouds overhead the sun finally rose over the low band of heavy cloud on the horizon. The world became a significantly brighter place and changed all that.
I’d just completed a couple sets of images to stitch into a panorama of the scene (just before sunrise). I tried a couple quick images just as the sun peeked over the clouds but once that was done I moved out into the field of stones in the shallow waters. I was looking for my next composition – one which would work with the black glass – the name many long exposure photographers use for very strong ND (neutral density) filters. I have two of these that I use regularly – the Lee BigStopper (a 10 Stop ND) and the Lee LittleStopper (6 Stop ND).
Jason was already using his 16 Stop Formatt-Hitech Firecrest ND (for some insanely long exposures). However I didn’t have hours to wait :) so opted instead for stacking the BigStopper with the 3 Stop Reverse Grad for some exposures more in the five (5) minute range.
Adding these very strong ND filters turns the view to complete darkness through the lens. The ten stop ND allows just 1/1000th of the light to pass through to the sensor. This results in allowing very long exposures even during the day – turning day into night, lightness into darkness.
The tide was now rising rapidly and covering the rocks on the reef, at high tide they would all be completely covered. The light was still good (some low cloud was being side lit and warmed by the suns low rays) so it was time to find another composition and quickly.
Just behind me I’d spotted this very interesting lone rock. It was very unlike most of the other rocks as it was more rounded (whereas most others were more jagged) and it had this patch of very green moss growing right in the middle of the top surface – perfect…
I envisaged this shot in my mind – the moss covered boulder all lightness and glowing sitting in a pool of darkness of the water around it. Then with the filter of darkness applied I waited for the 324 second exposure to run it’s course.