Day 232 – Southampton Docks at Night – Chasing the Dark

It is August – the month of sunshine and summer holidays … actually more like overcast skies and rain, juggling three teenagers and discovering the best time to go out and get my photos is at night – no rain, no heavy traffic, no interruptions and I am not freezing to death in the dark as after all it is summer!

Earlier in the year I visited an area of waste land which had a great view of Southampton Docks, I heard of another great spot – down at Marchwood and I wanted to check it out. I didn’t have my tripod with me – a total failure for nighttime photography, when long shutter speeds are needed so I resorted to resting my camera on a wall, and increasing the ISO to ensure the shutter speed was not too long.

ISO400, F3.5, 0.3secs
ISO400, F3.5, 0.3secs

I started thinking of the leading lines in this photo – a shallow aperture meant that I could start with a relatively low ISO.

ISO400, F5, 0.6secs
ISO400, F5, 0.6secs

Increasing aperture – increases the time the shutter is open. The increase also meant that the lights gave off a more starlike effect.

ISO400, F5, 1.3secs
ISO400, F5, 1.3secs

The longer the shutter was open, the brighter the reflections on the water and the bigger the starbursts from the lights.

ISO400, F5, 0.6secs
ISO400, F5, 0.6secs

Moving and changing angles also created a different effect with the lights.  I like the fact that with a short shutter speed you get to capture all the texture in the water.

ISO800, F4, 1/5sec
ISO800, F4, 1/5sec

It is amazing how just moving a little bit adds something to the image that you are creating… above you can see the side of the container ship which is being unloaded at Southampton Docks, below the side of the ship has disappear but there is added interest in the foreground with the silhouette of a buoy.

ISO400, F4, 0.5secs
ISO400, F4, 0.5secs
ISO1600, F4, 1/6sec
ISO1600, F4, 1/6sec
ISO6400, F4, 1/30sec
ISO6400, F4, 1/30sec

The three shots above – are all a very similar composition. The same aperture but with different ISO’s and shutter speeds – for online use, which is all I plan to use these images the really high ISO works fine.

Below is a different angle completely – these cranes are sat waiting for the next container to arrive, which also highlighted to me that I was lucky with my images tonight as there was a container ship in port being unloaded … there might not have been – so when I plan to revisit, I really should check if there is a ship in port – and I have found this great web site which would help with those details – Live ship map, which shows where various ships are around the world – you can then search further and see a live view of the ships in port – how useful is that. Ships in port in Southampton.

ISO1600, F4.5, 0.4secs
ISO1600, F4.5, 0.4secs

I want to go back and revisit – but I need to find a photography friend, who is willing to walk miles for the perfect shot carrying all sorts of camera gear, whom can offer me some tips and new ideas and whom is happy to go out at night!

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