Photo Exploration: Navy Pier, Chicago, September 2012

Con­tin­u­ing the series start­ed here, I’d like to select anoth­er image that I just fin­ished work­ing this week.

This was a dig­i­tal expo­sure, with a Canon 5Dmk2 and the 24–70mm f/2.8L lens. 35mm focal length, f/13 @ 30 sec­onds, ISO 200. It is an exam­ple of the cre­ativ­i­ty one can encounter with long expo­sures at night.

This par­tic­u­lar place was a bit out of the way from the main traf­fic towards the end of the Pier. My wife was fond of the Juli­et (of Romeo and) stat­ue and I’d been look­ing for a way to frame a mix of still and motion, so this loca­tion was a stel­lar point to explore. Find­ing a loca­tion in such a busy area where I could set­up for a long expo­sure was cru­cial to reduce vibra­tion and also to be con­sid­er­ate of those around us. With the stat­ue very still but the Fer­ris Wheel in motion it was a shot that near­ly framed itself.

The only main deci­sion I had to make besides fram­ing was aper­ture selec­tion. My first require­ment was get­ting the entire scene in focus via a large depth of field. By uti­liz­ing a hyper­fo­cus tech­nique, I was able to get the entire field of view in focus with an aper­ture of f/8. How­ev­er, that was­n’t pro­vid­ing a long enough expo­sure. By stop­ping down to f/13 I was able to get a longer expo­sure with­out get­ting too far into DLA-land.

Then it was recheck­ing my fram­ing, recheck­ing my set­tings and trig­ger­ing the shut­ter. I did use the cam­er­a’s self-timer to reduce shut­ter shake. A bet­ter prac­tice would have been a remote shut­ter, which I cer­tain­ly would have used if I’d had mine with me.

My long-term per­cep­tion of this piece is still being formed, but my imme­di­ate reac­tion is one of struc­ture, cre­ation and time­less­ness. I almost feel like that wheel has been spin­ning around for as long as that Juli­et stat­ue has been there — with both of them placed at the dawn of Chica­go and will always be there. I think that long expo­sures con­tribute to that feel­ing of time­less­ness. By extend­ing the time cap­tured in the pho­to, we extend the per­ceived time that the sub­ject will con­tin­ue to exist. On some lev­el, isn’t that what pho­tog­ra­phy is all about?

NC Mountain State Fair, September 2011

A vis­it to the North Car­oli­na Moun­tain State Fair — all shot with a 5D and 50mm f/1.4