Hello all. We are back from our photographic trip to the Seychelles islands, from La Digue island to be more precise. A gorgeous granite outcrop sticking out from the middle of the Indian Ocean, where luxuriant tropical vegetation grows under vast skies and where time stops and problems tend to fade away... After a massive use of both the panoramic 617 and Nikon cameras, we are now submerged under some thousands of digital images and almost 90 rolls of 120 velvia film. I will be working on the images in the following weeks, but here there is a first post of one image from the very end of the trip. This is one of those images I had previsualized before leaving. Taking a look at the tides I saw that by the end of our stay we would have low tide coinciding with the sunset time. Add to that a half moon lighting the landscape (and highly reflective coral sand beaches) and you get the perfect cocktail for a striking night exposure view of the shore from within the ocean. A few days before leaving, I decided to sip that cocktail. I set the tripod at some 40 meters from the shore, and I waited till the twilight gave way to the tropical night. After a couple of hours standing in the water, and looking at the clouds drifting over the beach with the only noise of the waves crushing against the reef, we got home with some images and one of those memories you know will never leave you.
Technically speaking, to take this image I chose an ISO of around 640 and an aperture of f3.2 to let the camera "see" more stars and reduce the time exposure to a maximum of 25 seconds. Leave the shutter opened for more time and, depending of the focal length you use, the stars will have "time" to move around your frame leaving a not totally circular shape against the sky. In terms of focusing, I did have to focus the camera before the light levels were too low...even if I could have focused on the moon itself, providing the landscape was really at the infinity.
The low light you see illuminating the rocks and palm trees come from the half moon itself, being also bounced back by the sea water and the white beach. A nice balance of moon light and sky light level is needed to come with an image of this kind. Come a few days later and the light of the moon will be just too strong to let you see the stars (in the moon is crescent). Come a few days before and the moon light will be too low, rendering the beach as a murky brown dark thing if you want to keep the exposure time to "freeze" the stars. As always, nature provides narrow windows of opportunity where things are just right, and planning helps to seize them!
The big bonus of this image was, however, difficult to plan. The clouds. Nice booming cumulus in the background growing bigger as the exposure took place and drifting clouds quickly moving across the frame leaving some nice diagonal lines which mirror perfectly the diagonal created by the land below. And then, those clouds to the right of the frame "jumping" literally" over the granite boulder and another cloud just behind the central palm tree. I would say clouds here are as essential elements to the image as they could be. Leave them out and the depth and interest of the image will fall apart...
I will be posting soon some more images from this dreamy place, along with some comments about Seychelles, the photographic opportunities there and travel advices to visit this blessed corner of the planet.
Take care, thanks for reading and great light to you all,
Note: click on the image to see it bigger!