I regretted leaving the DSLR at home

I noticed the colour in the sky as soon as I walked out the door. I hesitated momentarily, making the quick decision to continue without my camera. I was running a bit late and didn’t want to get stuck behind the school bus. I regretted my decision.

"Carnegie Lake" Winter Sunrise iPhone vividHDR Princeton

I pulled into the parking area near the small boat house. I shot this one on my iPhone 6 using vividHDR. The one below was shot using the native iPhone 6 camera app. I also did some minor editing in Adobe Lightroom Mobile.

"Carnegie Lake" Winter Sunrise iPhone Princeton

I had stopped carrying my DSLR kit with me because with winter, I expect the weather to be bad. I also know that I will be well on my way to work when the sun starts to rise. I know I will be driving home in the dark. I know that the area where I work, it is unsafe to walk around with an “expensive” camera.

The Rock Brook in December

I shot these as part of one of my Arcanum Cohort assignments to level up.

While I wanted to use the technique of using polarizing filter as shown in Lisa Bethany’s video, I don’t own a polarizing filter. But I do own a 9 stop Neutral Density (ND) filter which I’ve used a few times before.

I watched a lot of videos (about 30 minutes) in the Grand Library but few of the techniques were useful given my limitations of time and weather. In the future I will need to choose my videos more wisely.

It rained most of this week and all day yesterday so the brooks and streams in my town are once again flowing with water. I revisited the Rock Brook along Hollow Road in Skillman, near the foot of the Sourland Mountain Range. A month ago the brook was dry with only a few pools of stagnant water.


Image by :Khürt L. Williams. NIKON D5100 (35mm, f/8, 10 sec, ISO100)

I setup my tripod on the very edge of brook and focused and composed my shot. I set the camera to aperture priority mode and set the lens aperture of the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 lens to f/8. My Nikon D5100 has an APS-C sized sensor. It’s smaller than a 35mm sized sensor which means that the FOV is smaller. The images will appear as though they are cropped. The Nikon APS-C crop factor is 1.5. That means that my 35mm at f/8 has the field of view and aperture of a 52mm (35 x 1.5) lens at f/12 (8 x 1.5).

I took note of the shutter speed and entered the values into an application called PhotoPils. PhotoPils helps computes the proper exposure time when using ND filters. Once I had the proper exposure computed I turned off the auto-focus on the lens, set the camera to manual, dialed in the correct exposure, set my camera to use the remote-trigger, and fired off a few shots.


Image by :Khürt L. Williams. NIKON D5100 (35mm, f/11, 20 sec, ISO100)

Camera shake is the enemy. To help reduce that I made sure to use the Live View feature on my Nikon. It looks up the mirror before exposing the sensor. This helps reduce vibration in the mirror box.

Despite having some decent sunlight it was very cold outside this morning. Air temperature was about 2ºC (~36ºF). I got frostbitten.

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