St. Michael’s Church, Easthampstead – January 2020

This was a more local event with about six or seven of us turning out on what turned into a bit of a drizzly evening. This was a location that provided a bit more of a photographic challenge – a very dark churchyard but with some good details.

copyright Gladys Perrier
St Michael’s Easthampstead

I had scouted the location two nights before on a clear night – it was very dark, a black sky and a beautiful crescent moon next to the church spire. The cloud cover on our shoot evening however meant we were shooting +2 stops faster and it was difficult to get an exposure without a strange (orange) glow to the sky. In fact the photo I attach looks a bit like a sunset shot (my photo, Mark’s discovery).

Copyright Gareth Fish
Celtic Cross Gravestone

When I looked at my photos the following day I did learn that it is important to wipe the front of your lens in such wet conditions. The soft, out of focus, blurry images I produced will not count towards this season’s Round 5 ICM PDI!

copyright Gareth Fish
Churchill House Clock Tower

This is the second season for the SIG. I’ve personally learnt a lot about this branch of photography and about my equipment. At risk of teaching what may seem obvious to some this includes:

  • In the dark, even if you wear a head torch, you need to know how your camera and, importantly, your tripod work. Practice in daylight then the dark so you are not fumbling around
  • My camera is amazing!!! Left to it’s own devices it like to try and convert night time to daylight – metering to a 18% grey card. So I’ve learnt to use manual and/or underexpose. Shadows can be brought out later in PS/LR/Silver Effex. It is harder to bring back blown out streetlights
  • I bought a new lens with 4 stops worth of image stabilisation . . . this really is a breakthrough. I can easily push to 1600 ISO and combine with relatively slow shutter speeds and still get pretty good quality photos
  • And finally it’s fun . . . I am personally enjoying, when using the tripod, making the most of a slower shutter speed to record movement, ghostly patterns, light trails etc.

Please do join us if you fancy a go – see our schedule in the menu above.  Or ask me for an invitation to join our Flickr group and take a look at the images we are producing.

Gareth Fish
The Darknights SIG