Light In The Hills, Part 2

A few days ago I said I was hoping to get a shot of late evening across the valley with more lights. I took this photo 25 minutes later than the one I took on the previous evening, trying to catch more lights but keeping some illumination from the setting sun.

Lights in the hills just before full dark

This was taken with a 4-second exposure, f/5.4, at ISO 640. The earlier shot only required a 1-second exposure at f/22 and ISO 200. It was substantially darker by the time I took this photo and more folks had turned their lights on.

The lights could be a little sharper. We had a touch of haze in the air that I heard was from the California wildfires, so that may be part of the reason. I’m sure I could improve my focusing and exposure skills, too. I’ll give this another shot later in the year when the air may be clearer and try some alternative techniques.

The next morning my camera was still on the tripod and I realized the full moon would be hanging over the hills just before dawn. The photo below was taken a minute or two before the moon slipped below the horizon. Not as many folks are awake at dawn as at sunset, if the lights are any indication. The moonglow also suggests that there is some haze in the air.

Lights in the hills just before dawn moonset

This was a 5-second exposure at f/5, ISO 200. I also needed to zoom out to a wider lens so I could get the moon on the left and the lights on the right into the frame.

2 thoughts on “Light In The Hills, Part 2

  1. shoreacres

    Lovely. A tripod certainly helps with shots like this. I know a few nature photographers who always carry a tripod, and set it up to capture images of everything from landscapes to grasshoppers, but I guess I’m either too lazy or not sufficiently dedicated to get involved with that.

    In the first photo, just above the hills, about a third of the way in from the right — is that a tower, or a planet? I think it must be a tower, but I’m not sure.

    1. Charles Prokop Post author

      That is a tower. When we first moved in up here, in early 2003, the only tower we could see was the tall TV tower on the left. The others have been put in as cell service has expanded around here. It’s good for communication, not as good for the view, but they really don’t bother me much. We really need the cell service. We had a landline phone for a few years but we got so few calls on it and it was down so often that we got rid of it. It was impossible to know if the lack of calls was because no one called or the service was down, and until they put the new towers in our cell service was just as spotty.

      I’d have to get a lot more dedicated to haul a tripod around with me wherever I went, but I took these shots from my driveway so it wasn’t much trouble. The hardest part was remembering what all the little adjustment knobs did.

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