Photo of the Week — “Snowy Blues”

Posted by lwpetersen | January 1, 2015 | photo of the week, photo-blog
Winter in the Alaska Interior is all about the extended "blue hour". We have over 3 hours of twilight on either side of the sunrise and sunset. Recent snow has been caked to all the branches.

My last “photo of the week” for 2014 . . . I’m crazily excited to see what 2015 will bring!

The “blue hour” – that period of twilight before the sun rises and after it sets; there’s still enough sunlight scattering in the air overhead to drown the forest in blue hues. In the evening the planets and stars start to slowly appear and twinkle in the sky. The southern horizon glows white as the blackened northern horizon slowly starts to take over the whole sky. In its own, more subtle way, this time of day is just as special as any sunset.

We’ve had a little bit more snowfall recently, now with some warmer weather and freezing drizzle the snow is really frozen onto all the branches. Great for aesthetics and beautiful walks in the forest. Not as great for power lines, but we haven’t had any issues so far (knock on wood).


Technical Details

I almost always use a tripod for my photos, but every once in a while I don’t bring it along, as was the case when I took this. Night and twilight shots become particularly tricky without a stable tripod or surface because a lower shutter speed will almost always lead to motion blur. Increasing the ISO setting and opening up the aperture (lowering the f-stop) allows for faster shutter speed, but with increased noise from the ISO and possibly chromatic abberation or vignetting from the aperture.

To help compensate here I used a slightly higher ISO than I would for daytime shooting, a fully opened aperture, and I sat on the ground using my elbows on my knees for better stabilization. I shot in a burst of 3 photos, giving a much better chance that one would be absent of any visible motion.

Nikon D7000
sigma 17-50 mm f/2.8 ex dc os hsm
Focal Length:  17 mm
ISO:           640
Aperture:      f/2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/50 sec

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