Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Scouting for a good night shot (in Tampa)

Last week I was in the Tampa, FL area for the first time ever,  to join Scott Kelby live on "The Grid". It was really fun to be on the show and to share some of my Olympic stories with all of you.

We went live at 4pm EST and were done by 5:30pm.  Scott and I went to dinner the night before and he was busy on this evening. As I drove away from the studio I thought to myself "What should I do now?" I had the rest of the evening available and did not want to just hang out in my hotel room in Oldsmar, Florida.

I looked at my iPhone and noticed that sunset was not until well after 7pm, which gave me plenty of time to find a good location for a night shot. The only problem is, when I packed for my trip back in CA I broke my own rule and decided not to pack my Gitzo travel tripod. So I needed to find a good location with some ledges or something for me to rest my camera with no movement. I brought just my Canon 5D MK IV and one lens, the Canon 24-105mm. That would have to do the trick.

I got in my rental car and drove the half hour to Tampa. I drove around the coastline to see if I could find a good shooting location. I stopped and parked at the edge of (what I now know is) Hillsborough Bay.

I shot some images in the late day sunlight. Definitely nothing special here!

As I walked around I saw the setting sun reflecting in the Wells Fargo building and grabbed this shot.

I walked across numerous bridges in search for my night shot. As I crossed this bridge, I looked and saw my long shadow on the roadway. I quickly turned and took this shot and got out of the way of oncoming traffic. I looked across the bay and figured that I would get a good view of downtown from the back side of the Tampa General Hospital.

I walked over to the hospital and saw this view of the city, and the colored lights that were starting to show on the bridges and buildings. I also noticed that there were cement posts every 25 feet where I could rest the camera for long exposures. That would work just fine.

I knew that these varying colors (red, green, blue...) would reflect well on the water with a long exposure. I walked up and down the pathway behind the hospital shooting images and looking at the different angles.

I turned and saw the end of the sunset behind me. Having this large building right in the middle of the shot was not optimum, and a small part of me was bummed that I did not get to a good location for the actual sunset.

But my decision was made and I went back and waited for the sunlight to fade, and the "blue hour" to start. I switched the camera to 2 second timer mode (so that I would not get any camera shake from hitting the shutter button) and got this first long exposure shot of the last of the pretty sunset reflecting in the Wells Fargo building.

I determined that this vantage point was the most interesting, and took numerous photos from this spot. This one was taken at 35mm to include a little of the fence on the left and shows a smooth reflection in the water. I had the ISO set to 100, an aperture of f/11 and a shutter speed of 25 seconds.

My last shot of the evening was taken from the same cement post, but zoomed in a little tighter to 45mm. I kept the ISO at 100, but changed the aperture to f/14 with a shutter speed of 30 seconds. Even though the exposure time was very similar to the previous photo, you will notice that the reflections are more defined in this photo.

After shooting these images for an hour, I found my way back to the rental car and headed off for dinner. I had a good burger and while sitting and eating, I was content knowing that I had captured some pretty photos in a new location for my collection.

Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world.


eportuguesa said...

All these shots are so beautiful, thank you Jeff

Unknown said...

I thought the 24-105 was an interesting choice of lens to use. I've been considering the purchase of the 24-105 or the 24-70, since I have neither lens. Do you use your 24-105 more than your 24-70 with your 5D MKIV?

I've enjoyed following your blog for the past couple of years. Thank you for freely sharing your insights as well as a bit of yourself with us.

Sprogz said...

Great photos, great cause and an informative blog post for us photographers.

Thank you Jeff, I never cease to be impressed with your enthusiasm and generosity.