I have found that in the development of my photography technique, as well as technical proficiency in general.  One constant always remain true no matter what. I need to cut down on the “uncontrollable variables.” The first main solution I have found is deciding on a “SPOT” or “SPOTS” that way you can see the differences in the light as a variable not the ever changing challenges of the landscape. I have 2 spots, the places that I worked out the kinks in my “Nightscapes.”  This first location that I am sharing with you is over Lake Murray in San Diego right next to where I live.  I have found that it is important to have a “spot” near your home, it helps on the nights when you don’t want to drive around but you do want to make a few frames.

Finding a spot can be tricky and challenging. You want to find a spot that has challenges that you can learn from. For example, this first spot overlooking Lake Murray presented a variety of different elements. It has a; mountain, lake and suburban lights. I knew that depending on the day, the light could become very hard to capture. The first night shot I got at this location was on the night of a full moon. I was having a hard time shooting the scene without getting the city lights blown out. The shot was meant to be a test shot for my “What the Eye See’s” project.  After looking at the first frame I decided that it was a great image on its own.  I quickly made three more frames double the time and the aperture value and came to the conclusion that I would revisit my original idea later with these images.

“Bad Moon” 15 seconds @ F8 ISO 500

Photography by: Douglas Lee Coon

This was great and many of my night photography friends loved it.  So a month ago I revisited it and decided to create a large “What the Eye See’s” version with the remaining 2 frames that I shot. The result was amazing.

“Bad Moon” 3 images merged together to create what I actually saw in standing there.

Photography by: Douglas Lee Coon

After seeing the first version of “Bad Moon” I started in with the Bulb setting. I knew this could be done at an extreme with more color and definition. I went back and recaptured another image this time I let the light in a bit more and I got what I call  midnight blue.

“Blue Moon”

– (f3.5 at 30 seconds)-

The Photography by: Douglas Lee Coon

This is just a sample; I have now shot over 2,000 images at this location at night and during the early morning at around 3:00am.  I started to think I could use this spot to create great daytime images, the challenge for me was to make it look just as dynamic and colorful. I thought it was funny that the result from my next shoot at sunrise left me with an image that looked more like a night time shot than my night shots. And of course then I came back at mid-day and shot an image with the noon sun.

“Lake Murray Sunrise”

Photography by: Douglas Lee Coon

“Del Cerro (Rain Storm)”

Photography by: Douglas Lee Coon

My First cell phone Pano

Photography by: Douglas Lee Coon

I love this spot because I don’t have to toil over how to compose I just work the light. I will also say it helps that it is a 2 minutes away from my house.  I will say it again this is the most important spot because you will work out your style here.  The next spot I found was at the beach and it had a whole set of new challenges and discoveries. Having just one spot can be limiting and I wanted to get a whole new set of challenges.  The water in the lake didn’t move much and I wanted to find a spot that created a dynamic look with movement becoming my new subject.

2 thoughts on “The Importance of finding “A SPOT”

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