The Mournes at Night

Exploring the Tyrella area of County Down is generally an activity confined to daylight hours. I felt it was time to venture out at the extremes of the day in attempt to see it differently.

Developing my low light technique is something I want to focus on (excuse the pun) in 2014. It is a completely different approach and considerably more unforgiving than I expected.

The Mournes

I ventured out with the Fujifilm X-E2, 23mm and 14mm lenses. Read my review of the Fuji X-E2. Shooting at night is a different type of long exposure photography where you need to have the shutter open long enough for the landscape that is in total darkness to impact on the sensor.

The problem, at the same time, is there can be very bright sources of light that have a major impact on the image when the shutter is open for so long.

Newcastle lights, County down

I had visualised the scene with the Mournes under a sky full of stars but I hadn’t considered the town lighting of Kilkeel and Newcastle running along the base of the mountain line.

It was a great learning experience and there are things I will do differently when shooting at night in the future. I wanted to bring out the stars and mountains so probably should have used my Lee Filter Seven5 system and a graduated filter (with the clearest section at the top) to tone down the lights from the town.

ioshutter

ioShutterSLR

It was my first trip out with the ioShutterSLR that allows me to connect my iPhone to the X-E2. It is a powerful little system that offers timer, bulb, timelapse, sound trigger and shake to capture, better still it offers combination of these features to play together. I am particularly excited about the sound trigger system and suspect I will be playing with it in the future.

Normally, if I need to capture shots longer than 30 seconds (T mode offers up to 30seconds) I would use the ‘bulb mode’ with my cable release and watch the timer on the back of the camera. The ioShutterSLR app allows me to use bulb mode but set the duration of the capture. It is great tool, easy to use and exceptionally useful for very long exposure image capture, it reduces the level of concentrated need for using bulb mode.

Tyrella stars

The one, additional essential piece of equipment that made life easy (and safer) was a little head torch I got free with a magazine subscription. The moon was bright but there isn’t much ambient light along the Northern Ireland coastline.

It wasn’t as clear a night as I was hoping for but the best for a number of weeks.

Links:

The Long Exposure eBook
Fuji X-E2 Review
ioShutterSLR

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Comments

  1. It may not have been what you had pre-visualized, David. But your results are really special. While the lights betray a sense of eerie stars cape, they add their own dynamism. I dig!

  2. which version of ioshutter did you use to hook it up to the fuji xe-2 and will it work with an xpro1? I searched their website but they only list shutter releases as compatible with canon. nikon. pentax. I don’t see one compatible for fuji.

  3. never mind! I found which one… BTW fantastic shots you got there. I’ve used my xpro1 for long exposures both day and night and found your book most helpful!

  4. Hi! Could you please let me know the version of the ioshutter, I only found the one for Nikon or Canon. Thanks.

  5. One thing I’m always curious is how fuji X-trans sensor performs without LENR, have you tortured it to see if hot pixels appear in long exposures, some of cameras have obvious hot pixels if the shutter speed is greater than 1 minute, some with shorter or longer shutter speed, and another important factor is under what temperature you are shooting.

  6. That is easy. I don’t use LENR at all, I was shooting at 5-10 degrees. Also Lightroom goes along way to deal with hot pixels if they become an issue. That said, I haven’t had any issues with the Fujis to date. I do a lot of long exposure photography with the Fuji series, actually every photo in this ebook is Fuji The Long Exposure eBook

  7. At 5-10 degrees, I think the cold weather helps a lot, in my country where I have to shoot at >24 degrees, many cameras that I have tested produce long exposure noise without LENR, so far I don’t get the chance to try out fuji X-Series camera yet and hope to get one soon. It’s always great to see someone putting effort to produce book discussing about long exposure techniques, and like your minimalist approach in term of capturing the scene. Thank you.

  8. David, looking to use ioShutterSLR with my new XT-1. Can you confirm it is the Canon N3 option that is needed?
    Thanks, great site. Really informative.

  9. Perchance, might I offer some money to purchase a copy of the RAW or PDF files of the image with the clouds over the city lights and ocean?

  10. It’s personal, I was hoping to print it for my father in law for Christmas. He is part of the mountain rescue team and he wants a large canvas print of the mournes but he isn’t happy with any of the images he’s taken, I have a canvas ordered but I couldn’t actually take any myself that I was happy with either, but I found this and it’s absolutely beautiful.

  11. Need help… I’m confused if I’m buying the Nikon D7100 or Fuji Xe 2, I’m more concern on image quality, functionality, and quality on print since I will be using it for street/fashion photography. Would like to hear some advice from you? BTW this would be my first pro-ish camera…
    Thanks David

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David

David is a documentary and landscape photographer covering everything from dramatic long exposure landscape photography through to live music. David is a former Official Fujifilm X Photographer.

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