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Santa Monica Sunset-14_5_fused



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Behind The Lens

Location
I took this photo in Santa Monica on Ocean Ave overlooking Santa Monica Bay on the bluffs above Pacific Coast Highway by the Santa Monica Incline. This is one of my favorite spots to go for sunrise, daytime, sunset & night shots. I stroll along the sidewalk at the Bluffs and try to find the right spot. This is one of my favorite spots.
Time
I was at that spot to take some sunset pictures and was still there at twilight. I was noticing how interesting the car lights were on Pacific Coast Highway with people exiting the beach and Santa Monica and heading to unknown places. I decided to try some time exposures since I am a fully self taught photographer and like to try time exposures in many situations to constantly be learning my craft. It was about 15 minutes after sunset during summer.
Lighting
Because I was doing a time exposure, I knew my flash would not be useful as there wasn't any close range subjects I was featuring. All subjects were too far away for any added lighting. So, I depended on the existing last of twilight natural light and the car lights as they passed by, Since I was using a 15 second exposure at F8, I thought it would make the lights of passing cars look like it was streaking. When my pictures were developed, I was excited to see that the effect I was trying to achieve came through.
Equipment
I set my tripod up since I was going to do a 15 second time exposure. I was using my Nikon FM2 at the time, 55-28mm lens. I was using my cable release and had set my watch timer set for 15 seconds.
Inspiration
I had originally gone to the Bluffs at Santa Monica Bay by the California Incline to take some sunset pictures of the sun setting over the landscape. After the sun set, I stayed for twilight and noticed how interesting the car lights were on Pacific Coast Highway as people started turning them on. The more I watched, the more interested I became and decided to continue shooting. It occurred to me that a time exposure would capture the streaking car lights. This became one of my favorite shots.
Editing
I scanned the film into my computer with 3 different exposures ( one under exposed, one average lighting, one overexposed) from one negative using HDR post processing. I used a software program that uses HDR processing to complete the picture..
In my camera bag
I always pack my film camera (Nikon FM2) and my digital Nikon SLR 3200. The lens I always I take are a Nikon ED55-200mm 1:4-5.6G, a 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR, a 12-24mmD 1:4.5-5.6DG HSM, a 2X N-AFo BBAR-MC7 teleconverter. I also carry a Polarizing Filter, a Cokin Creative Filter System, A Nikon Speedlight SB-600 hotshoe and sometimes a remote flash.
Feedback
My best advice is to be patient for the right lighting and do not rush the scene. Let Nature take it's coarse and be ready to capture it. Be prepared for whatever presents itself and enjoy every moment.

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