Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Photography while driving at night

I've been thinking about doing this for years.
These shots are from my drive from Everett to Issaquah at 4am last Thursday. At first I had the tripod in the backseat so I could get the dashboard lights in the frame. I pulled over at the first exit to check the lcd and decided to move it to the front seat to get the lights to fill more of the frame.
It's hard to set up a tripod in the backseat. The front two legs were half extended to the floor and the third leg was horizontal and short to hit the back of the seat. Next time I'll use a small tripod.
In the front seat it was similar but the legs didn't have room to spread out very wide so it would lean and fall over when I took corners too fast.
Before I left the parking lot I determined what exposure I wanted with some test shots. When it was in the back seat I couldn't see the lcd and wasn't tempted to think about it. I just hit the button on the cable release whenever I saw something interesting. When I moved it to the front I checked the exposure a lot at first and changed the settings (yes, while driving, no, it wasn't very smart). It's good to know the equipment well enough to do that without really looking.
I did plenty of cropping, instead of zooming. And changed the colors by changing the white balance.

Tips on shooting from the car at night:
Use a short tripod.
Clean the windows, and fix the cracks.
Cover the dashboard in black to avoid reflections in the windshield or shoot out a side window.
Overhead signs are the best.
Tunnels are great.
Have someone else drive while you shoot.
Use small apertures and wide angles.

See the rest of the photos HERE

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