Back from a week in the mountains, I headed to downtown Buffalo to do some street photography and capture a mixture of natural and artificial light from neon lights at twilight. It was mostly a scouting night for a shoot when the conditions are perfect. As such, I wrapped up quickly and headed home.
On the way home, high up on Skyway, I looked to the right (west) and saw a scene I could not resist. A nice crescent moon was low enough in the sky to have a chance to include it in a photo along with the Buffalo Main Light. So I turned around and headed to the Erie Basin Marina and sure enough, the moon was sitting right over the lighthouse.
There were some last hints of blue in the sky that I captured in the first few photos but the sky turned black pretty quickly and there was also a layer of clouds on the horizon threatening to eat the moon in minutes. I did some somewhat long exposures to stay at low ISOs while keeping the moon mostly static (it always amazes me how quickly the moon moves and even at wide angle, 30 seconds result in a significant move), and also preserving depth of field to have a sharp moon outline.
Then this sailboat showed up and I wanted to incorporate it. That changed my strategy, I cranked up the ISO to 800, opened up the aperture and went for the shortest time I could pull off, which ended up being 0.62s. With the wide angle and darkness, that sufficiently kept the sailboat in place. I also used the sail to cover up one of the lights illuminating the lighthouse, thus eliminating a the strongest light and also backlighting the sail a tiny bit.
Since there was no color left in the sky I planned to and converted to black and white, which nicely simplified the scene by eliminating the various color casts from the different lights. It also allowed me not to worry about noise so much since (in my opinion) noise is much less of an issue in black and white photography. However, at ISO 800 my camera has some hot spots that I'd need the camera noise reduction on for, which I did not activate. As a result, these random dots showed up and more densely than I expected. However, they only looked distracting in the ground and water area. I thought they were fine in the sky and make it look like some stars got captured in the dark sky.
For comparison, the second photo is a longer exposure, lacking the made up stars but showing some moon movement.
Have fun with whatever nature throws at you!
Using my links or this search box costs you nothing and keeps me going. Thank you!