From dusk till dawn around -20 C
After a very mild winter the temperature finally dropped in the Netherlands. And it dropped like a brick! What’s more is that just before a great part of europe became a deepfreezer, snow was falling as well. If there is ever a great combination to my liking it is a snowy landscape, clear skies with added moon and stars. Probably this is in part because it is so rare in the Netherlands. Mostly the snow turns to slush(puppy) just a day after it has fallen, although over recent years we have had some better luck in this respect.
So a night of sleep was exchanged for a night in the freezing cold. I went out at around 19:00 in the evening armed with my camerabag full and a good thermos filled to the brim with some strong tea. Even at around this time the temperature had already reached -15 and would drop in excess of -20 during the night. I have no idea how cold it really was, but there was a good deal of fog developping with a dew point around the -19, and the -17 the car’s temperature meter showed felt relatively warm.
Everything became freezing cold, and nothing really wanted to be operated in any normal way, stiff and unwilling to move. Forgetting the camera was obviously cold (which was actually obvious as my breath instanly froze to the cama body) I put my nose to it a bit too much. Two days later an interesting spot on the tip of my nose apeared right where my nose made contact with the camera. A reminder to be more careful in subzero temperatures for next time!
The moon was out in the early night, making the snowy landscape visible. Funnily enough the full moon (which in this picture it was not) of this month is apparently called ‘snow moon‘. I think the name is equally applicable to this picture as well!
The image is a composition of 20 separate images that were intended to become a time-lapse. Unfortunately the battery pack I had recently acquired cut this plan short making my D700 show a ‘Err’ message. Back at home It hough, well, lets see what combining these images can do. Normally, using a long exposure to get these star trails (10 minute equivalent in this picture) you would have to stop the lens down, and/or turn the iso to a low setting. Both would have the net effect of reducing the ability to capture weak stars. Not so with this setup! It made the star trails light up, and resulted in more detail than I could normally get into one long exposure image. It also combats long exposure effects like trigger happy pixels and noise problems. While I still have to give it a try it would also allow for ultra long exposures really getting long star trails.
Nikon D700, 16-35/4VR, 30s (each), f8, ISO 1600, ND grad filter
In the early early morning the moon went away and the stars were shining brightly. Closer and closer to the sunrise the colors became purple, pink, blue and finally the early morning orange glows. What a palette of color I had enjoyed. This image shows one of the beautiful colors with which the skies were adjourned. A great way to say goodbye to the night. If you look close enough you can actually still make out some faint star trails. The last pieces of the night in a futile attempt to resist the morning lights.
Image below: Nikon D700, 70-200/2.8 VR, 25s, f5.6, ISO 1600
The early rays of the winter sun may not be very strong, but still after spending the night in the cold every ray of the sun is a welcome sight. The image itself also displays this transition of the cold night to the early morning warmth. While the overall color is a very warm one, the nightly cold is evident, the fog combined with the fridge temperatures resulted in a nice frost complementing the layer of snow already present. What a sight, what a night!
Nikon D700, 70-200/2.8 VR, 1/8000, f5, ISO 1600