Long exposures at night are fun. Building up and exposure with multiple light sources is easy. Here is a quick tutorial from a recent shoot.
I had the great pleasure of going out to shoot with my friend Gabriel Biderman and Joe Scalamoni at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown, NY with photographer and tour director Jim Logan last night. Yes, this is the very same Sleepy Hollow of legend that Washington Irving published in 1820. You can even visit his modest grave in the same cemetery.
After taking a tour around the 90 acre cemetery with Jim, we started shooting during magic hour near the large monuments:
© Matt Hill
© Matt Hill
And then moved into the older part of the cemetery where soft, marble headstones and sculpture were showing signs of wear. Great subjects! Let’s get started.
First off, I locked in my D700 on the PHQ1 + CT214 legs. Next, we put a speedlite on 1/16 manual power on a 15′ telescoping painter’s extension pole with a PocketWizard Plus II Transceiver set to receive. Standing in front of the statue and holding the flash as high as possible above, we made one exposure to test the flash power.
© Matt Hill | ISO 400, f/5.6, 52 Seconds
Next, based on previous exposures, we chose a 5-minute exposure to bring out sky detail and star trails.
© Matt Hill | ISO 400, f/5.6, 5 Mins.
The background is a bit dark, so after exposing our main subject, We used the speedlite and multiple pops exposed some of the trees and gravestones in the rear. Um, whoops. If your radio trigger and speedlite have blinking lights, walk behind the tripods
© Matt Hill | ISO 400, F/5.6, 5 Mins.
It was not enough, so we jacked the speedlite to full power and tried again.
© Matt Hill | ISO 400, f/5.6, 5 Mins
Nailed. Since the background got exposure, you know this statue lives among headstones. Otherwise, it could be anywhere. One final touch – I took the final image out of Lightroom and into Nik’s Silver Efex Pro and added some special sauce, including a control point to bring down brightness on the tree in the background that got a little too hot. NOTE: For consistency, always use a flash meter!
Voila. Build your own soon! And be sure to bring your tripod
Many thanks to Jim Logan from the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Historic Fund for allowing us to roam and shoot. If you are local or visiting, give him a shout – email@example.com. He and Rob Yasinsac will be having a photo tour this Saturday, 9/4 – Introduction to Night Photography.
Gabriel Biderman will be having one titled, “Night Visions ~ Seeing the Unseen Beauty of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery” on 9/18 – 5pm-midnight.
The massive cemetery is full of some amazing interments – check out this list – including Andrew Carnegie, Elizabeth Arden, George Jones (co-founder of The New York Times), William Rockefeller and many, many more. Take a tour, and bring your tripod!
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery on Facebook
Gabriel Biderman Fine Art Photography
by Matt Hill (Twitter)