The Lake Wildwood fountain 3 (as is)

Lenny La Rue, IPA

Sacramento, United States

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Artist's Description

I’ve driven past this fountain for over 7 years and twice before attempted to take photographs of it – once during the day and once at night. The daytime shots were OK and basically showed the fountain in its setting: a large and pretty golf course. I tried to isolate the fountain but its location pretty much prevented that. The nighttime shots were a bit different and hid the greens and fairways of the golf course well while actuating the fountain. Unfortunately, I wasn’t anywhere near up to the challenge of capturing the shot until last week.

The difference this time was the combined usage of NO ISO boosting, proper aperture, and much slower shutter speeds. I pulled up the shutter time to a full 29.1 seconds by using the “BULB” setting instead of a preset shutter speed. The D80 will make a 30 second open shutter but I tried it for about 30 minutes and was never satisfied until I found the “sweet spot” at a touch over 29 seconds manually.

To offset that much light coming into my Nikkor 18-35 kit lens, I set the exposure bias (what I always call the ‘offset’) to -5 and the camera automatically upped that to -6, tho I don’t know why or how. LOL! Finally, the aperture was set at f/36, much smaller than I’d ever tried before. But the slower shutter speed mandated constant light for a long time so I shrunk the lens opening quite the opposite as I would have with shooting the moon or nighttime buildings.

It took a bit over 1 hour for me to eventually get the settings the way I wanted them, lock the tripod down as securely as possible, and use the remote trigger to trip the shutter release. (Using my hand, no matter how carefully, caused shake that blurred the image enough to see.)

One other important thing of note: my focal length was 42 mm because I used the 18-55 mm “kit” lens, the wide angle Nikkor that came with the camera. This made the fountain a LOT smaller in the finished shot instead of filling the frame as I used to do using a telephoto lens. The difference there was the PhotoShop Elements 3 program I used to make the shot large enough for Red Bubble but do absolutely nothing else. I had been trying to get the largest shot out of the camera and enlarge less in post-shoot processing. I now know that putting a smaller but better image into the software is far preferable to putting in a large image that sucks anyway. LOL!

I hope some of this makes sense to the budding photographers new to DSLR shooting. And as usual, I give enormous credit to the work and comments of oastudios, a master of getting the balance between water and light perfectly. SEE HIS STUFF!

Artwork Comments

  • midzing
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  • Jonathan Dower
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  • Jonathan Dower
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