My Best Photograph Yet

A hike around the reservoir was the order of the day, so I took the camera bag just in case, as seems to be the ‘norm’ these days.

We arrived a bit earlier than usual, wary that the evenings are drawing in a bit, and sunset is now around 8.15pm.

We parked the car in the usual spot and set off anti-clockwise on our hike. The light was very low, and under the trees it was almost dark, so it was nice whenever the trees parted and the reservoir was in view.

We stopped at a few of our usual spots on the way round, and I took a couple of shots using short and long exposures, all on the tripod. I am still experimenting with long exposures, but getting better.

18mm – F11 – 1/640 – ISO110
Longer exposure – 18mm – F22 – 1sec – ISO100

We continued our hike, round the North East arm of the reservoir, through the woods, and out onto the clearing before the next wooded section that approaches the dam.

Out came the tripod again, and again I took a series of short and long exposure shots using the ND filter.

18mm – F13 – 1/125 – ISO110
Long Exposure – 18mm – F22 – 10sec – ISO100

I was pleased to be getting the movement of the clouds, as well as the smooth effect on the water with the longer exposures.

I tried a couple of Lensball shots, using a rock balanced on the tripod and shooting handheld, but the light hadn’t quite developed at that point so they were a bit dull.

Dull Lensball – 34mm – F7.1 – 1/320 – ISO160

I tried another series on short and long exposures, as the sun started to drop below a bank of cloud as it set – all the time the light was getting better, and the effect of the long exposures was getting stronger.

Long exposure – 18mm – F22 – 10sec – ISO100
Partial Sunstar – 18mm – F22 – 4sec – ISO125

I decided to have a last go with Lensball, again on a rock on the tripod. I didn’t want to do too many Lensball shots in this scene, as I felt I had done these type of shots a lot before.

26mm – F7.1 – 1/80 – ISO110
26mm – F7.1 – 1/80 – ISO100

I went a bit crazy after this point, and took a few too many photographs, using different lengths of long exposure, some with success, and some not – in particular I found using the auto-focus tricky as it wouldn’t always work in the low light.

I’ll show a few of these shots now and the settings for each:

18mm – F22 – 13sec – ISO125
18mm – F22 – 10sec – ISO125
18mm – F22 – 6sec – ISO110
25mm – F22 – 1/13 – ISO125
18mm – F22 – 20sec – ISO100

The last of that set was a 20 sec exposure – the longest I have managed so far and I was quite pleased – took a bit of editing to get right though.

After this we started our walk back to the car – it had got quite dark quite quickly, especially under the trees – and the insects were becoming a real issue again.

On the way back we passed one of my favorite photography spots, so I got the camera out for one last go.

I managed to get two shots that were usable, and i’m really pleased with both – the long exposure shot might be the best photo i’ve ever taken.

Last shots (1 of 2) – 188mm – f13 – 1/3 – ISO125
Last shots (2of2) – Long Exposure – 18mm – f13 – 15sec – ISO140

We got back to the car at around 8.45pm, having hiked about 4 miles in total, which felt a lot longer in the dark – and I looked forward to getting the editing done to see what I had captured.

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