Canon Elan IIe, tripod
Sigma 28-105 at 75mm
Fuji Provia 100
f16, 45 seconds

Taking the time


On Route 70 not far from Goldsboro, NC, lies Holt's Pond. The lit gazebo attracted my attention one evening, and I returned to see what I could get with a time exposure.

It was early enough that the building lights were still on, which allowed me some composition choices. I bracketed heavily — there's no accurate way to determine exposure in conditions like this. Thankfully the water was very still.

The long exposure gave detail and depth to the building and brought out residual light from the sky, but overexposed the yard light and the gazebo. But I lucked out — the yard light starburst actually balances out the composition, and the gazebo lights gained more definition in their reflections in the water.

As I was editing the image for the web, I realized how the light behind the trees made them appear quite thin, giving the feeling of a flat wetlands area, kind of like a southern bayou plantation. I liked the effect, especially since this was far from bayou country. All I needed was a couple in white by the gazebo, sipping mint juleps...

On another, very foggy evening, I also tried a long vertical exposure to capture the stars that were visible above the mist, but they were faint enough I had to dodge them in a little for the image at right. You'll note the shift in position bringing into the frame the second light, visible in the first image only as a glow at the far right. You might also note that this time I wasn't shooting in the winter, so the few trees caught by the light actually have foliage.