Wednesday, November 8, 2017

My equipment drooped

Last night I was itchy to be out shooting night scenes. Some of the people I follow on Instagram and Facebook have been posting these luscious photos of buildings at night. It's fun to go shooting at night. There's all sorts of interesting photos happening if you open yourself to the possibilities.

Firstly, you have to dress for it. I did.

Second, you need to make sure your camera batteries are charged, and you have all of them. I did.

Third, you need a tripod. I did. Emphasis on the past tense.

The tripod has to be sturdy and stable. I was having fun, even though the place I started at didn't see the curves of the road quite like I had hoped. So there I was shooting skyline, and some other cityscapes, when I noticed my lens was starting to drift down a bit. It's common for it to settle a little as the weight of the lens takes up the slack in the ball tightening mechanism. I usually aim slightly high, it settles to where I want it, and I don't think about it anymore.

So I reach around, loosen the lever while putting the lens where I want it, and tighten up the lever again. Whoopsie. Around and around, nothing getting tight enough to hold the lens. I didn't think I reefed on it that hard, but I know a stripped bolt when I run into it. Crap. Turns out the manufacturer's warranty is 1 year, and it's a year and a half old. Sigh. It's just a chance to get better equipment.

Anyone have a sturdy tripod ball head they want to sell? Rated for at least 10 kilos, and preferably with a quick release plate, not the Vanguard thumbscrew thingie.

So that was pretty well the end of the night's shooting. It's impossible to hold a camera steady for the longer exposures needed at night, and there is rarely a good surface to put the camera down on. So home again. It was kind of on the verge of snowing anyways, and the sky didn't really look that nice anyways.

Here's the only 4 shots I thought worth editing. This first one turned into an exercise in manual focus. The camera was absolutely fixated on those trees, and I wanted them slightly out of focus as a frame. The tower looks terrible if it's out of focus.

I was trying to find a long exposure that would capture the airplanes taking off as one long streak that didn't over expose everything else. This is where I noticed the drooping lens while I waited for planes.

In other news, still no entries in the contest, though I've had some commentary on private channels. It's maybe too obscure, and it was suggested that some hints would be appreciated. Fair enough, you are only seeing a few mm of the business end of an object in common use in our house. Any visitors have probably seen it, though probably not paid any attention to it, even if I was using it in front of them. So it's not a sex toy. I know for a fact that many of my readers will have a functionally identical object, even if it might be shaped slightly differently.


  1. These are really fun images, Keith. You maybe inspired me to get out one night this week. We'll see. I've been a serious wuss since the cold arrived so have been hibernating most of the weekend.


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