Gonzales Solstice

Gonzales Solstice

Last night the winter solstice was marked in Gonzales Bay with candles set on the beach and into the water. People from the adjacent neighbourhoods just arrive with the materials and get to work lining the beach, pretty much from one end to the other, and in many places along the tide edge as well as higher on the beach. Naturally I went down with camera and tripod to see what could be captured, and was not disappointed. In fact, I was very surprised what my camera could pull out of what to my eyes was a dark scene.

I think the top shot is my favourite view of the evening but I have had time to process just these three images, so I expect others will appear and could displace favoured spot.

The small beach house above was featured in one of the photos in my recent blog Down to Gonzales Beach. On that visit the small string of red lights was not yet lit on the porch, or I probably would not have used black and white for that photo.

The erratic below has a satisfying glow that seemingly comes from the candles, though perhaps it’s from more distant street lights that cast light on the beach in some places.

Gonzales solstice

Taking these pictures involved quite a lot of waiting for people to be still or to leave. Especially those carrying a lit flashlight which I was not much interested in photographing last night. The image below has Port Angeles glowing in the distant background, and my partner in the foreground has a moon shadow, which adds a nice touch to the solstice experience.

Gonzales solstice 3

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Canon 5D MkII, Nikkor-N 24mm/f2.8 lens, ISO1000, f2.8, 3 brackets, top: 8 seconds +/- 2.0 E.V.; middle: 2.5, 10 and 30 seconds, bottom: 3.2, 13 and 30 seconds.

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30 thoughts on “Gonzales Solstice

  1. The picture with your partner’s moon shadow is extraordinary. It’s perfectly exposed to the point it almost looks surreal. What a grand view with so much to enjoy in it. It’s also a wonderful record of that particular moment in time. In years to come, you’ll look at it and it will reawaken the scents in the air and the breeze on your cheeks.

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    • Hi Doug! And thank you. These are among my favourite pictures and I am sure I will go on enjoying them for years to come. And I meet even recall the associated senses as you suggest. It is a very nice place that I quite often visit. It’s only a 10 minute walk, or less if one is brisk.

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  2. Great photos! A tripod at night does produce some great photos. I agree that it sometimes appears that there is much more light than the eye can see.
    Are the ‘lights’ candles inside a paper bag? It’s such a great and simple effect.

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  3. Pingback: Gonzales Solstice with Drain « burnt embers

    • Hi Howard – welcome to my blog – thanks for commenting, and following too!
      To some extent I lucked out. It his is really my first try at night time HDR, and one of my first at night time photography too. It was quite dark, but not full blown night time – a bit of a moon in one direction,and street and house lights casting faint light onto the beach. These are all maximum 30 second exposures, with the 0EV in the 1/10 range mostly, ISO1000, with f1.4 or f2.8, depending on the lens, so there was in fact a fair bit of light around.
      Frankly, when I saw the first frame I shot come up on screen I could not believe that I was getting such bright results, and could see so much. For me one lesson was that low levels of ambient light were probably a good thing. I did not process the images before running them through photomatix (with tonemapping settings rather than fusion), other than a bit of sharpening and possibly straightening, but I did play with all of them in Lightroom afterwards.

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  4. You must have a great community spirit in your neighbourhood. A special occasion well captured. I agree with your choice of the first one as being the best, so far. I look forward to the second edition!

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    • Hi Andy – it is a great community which is one of the things that makes the area a great place to live. The second edition is out, a couple of days after this one. I hope you like it.

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  5. Pingback: Gonzales Solstice II « burnt embers

    • Thank you Karen. It is lovely! I think something like this would work really well in a snowy place, possibly using Ice Lanterns (as Lee Valley Tools would call them). Someone had placed two or three of them on the staircase down to the beach – I wish I had taken a photo of them, but they were out when we went home. We love to have them outside in winter when we are having people over in the evening, lighting the door step.

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    • Hi Ken. We would have loved to have run into you there, but we might not have recognised you in the dark. There was quite a bit of people coming up to us and inquiring who we were, then realising it was us when they got really close. It was a perfect night for this – it brought lots of people out and the candles stayed alight much longer than they would have in poor weather.

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    • Thank you Helen. I think it a ‘new’ one, in terms of the candles coming out of doors and being shared by many people. I don’t remember these kinds of events from 20 years ago, though possibly I was not paying attention.

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  6. I like the first one a lot, especially the movement of the clouds and the red light on the porch. But the more I look, the more I like the second shot, because I like the candle right there in the foreground. Very nice tradition; thanks for sharing it with us.

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    • Thanks Melinda. I like the processing of the second one better, it was hard to duplicate in the third one and not going to work in the first one. But, that red porch light and the trees against that sky really felt right when I was composing the shot. Composing being a loose term for trying to line things up in the near dark.
      It feels like I am up late, and I know you are three time zones ahead of me. I hope you get some sleep!

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