About Me

Wells, BC, Canada
Richard is a working photographer and writer in B.C. His camera focuses on natural history. archeology, travel, and documentary photography. His photography blog may be found at: http://richardtwright.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

D800 night shooting - HDR

Night lights, D 800 HDR and Spot News

Every year I have the opportunity to stay at the Hills Health Ranch at 108 Mile in B.C.'s Cariboo country while I work as a locum editor for the local paper. Time for shooting is limited but I knew there would be some opportunities, in this case right from my porch.
The first evening I shot this photo of the 1871 Lodge, the dining and pub area. D800 24mm f2.8 with auto exposure.  Not bad, but not quite what I wanted. I did not like the black hole on the upper segment and the upper right.

So, the next night I went onto the porch a little earlier and set the camera to HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode, where the camera takes two shots at two different exposures and blends them. I tried 1 EV, 2 EV and decided on 3EV range, so we get the building, lights and the sky. Now, if we just had some Northern Lights!

This has minimal post production, just a little vibrancy.
An interesting note is how the exposure shows the shadow of the railing in the bottom right and the snow covered area on middle right. The tree is better defined on left. There was a little light in the sky for this shot. I shot a several over half an hour but the best was this one, just before full darkness set in. Overall a smoother exposure.
No doubt the D800 is superb for night time shooting and the HDR mode adds a whole new way of visualizing.

Two weeks goes by with my butt pasted to the editor's chair, sending others out to do what I like best, reporting and shooting.  I love the rush of spot news.
On this Friday I literally had my jacket out, ready to call it a week and head home.
30 minutes before my two-week shift ends the scanner crackles to life. There is a report of a vehicle traveling at high rate of speed. Seconds later an unmarked police car has him in sight. It passes 108 Mile Ranch at 171 kph in a 100 kph zone. Passing on double line. He won't pull over. The RCMP back off - too fast and too dangerous for the sake of a speeding ticket. Out of sight. Other cars come on radio. They will set out a spike belt. 
MVA at the entrance to town! He has caused an accident. I dispatch the only available reporter with camera as it is only 3 minutes from our office.
"Smoke", squawks the scanner!  "Will need the rescue squad and fire brigade." Where has the speeder gone? Driver has been ejected."
That's it - I'm out of here. I grab my D7000 and head for my truck.
Two minutes later I am on scene.

 A vehicle has missed the turn entering 100 Mile House - goes through a fence, takes out a power pole and carries it 300m to Bridge Creek, goes through a second fence and flips into the creek. When I get there I am elated to see that it is the speeder that has flipped, not someone he has forced off the road. 

When I seen that the rescue crew is about to move him I backtrack to the ambulance area. An RCMP officer has asked who I am with, as if it matters, and tells me to stay back of the fallen wire - which in fact is a hunk of wire that has been carried 300m and is no longer live or even connected. I position myself against a telephone pole, blending in to avoid anyone else questioning me, as the gurney seems to be draped with a blanket. In fact, he is alive, his neck is braced and they load him up.
He is taken to hospital. No one else hurt. 
Half an hour later my photos are downloaded and I am on my way home, though driving a little slower than normal.
The end of two weeks.

An update - Wed Nov. 7th - 2012
According to the 100 Mile Free Press the driver crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic coming down the hill into 100 Mile House, causing northbound drivers to take evasive actions.

The driver lost control after crossing the raised meridian and careened through two lanes of southbound traffic. He was not ejected from the vehicle.

Police and emergency crews arrived on scene within five minutes. The driver was transported to 100 Mile Hospital for treatment of a scalp wound, and then he was released.

“The driver was extremely fortunate to have survived that crash,” said RCMP Sgt. Colwell, adding police believe he was wearing a seatbelt, which contributed to his lack of injuries.

One count of dangerous driving under the Criminal Code is being recommended to the Crown against the driver, a 31-year-old male resident of Prince George.

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