A recent flight home meant an arrival into Midway a while after the sun had set. I had been taking some pictures out of the window as we headed back across the country and decided to try my luck after dark. I had thought about trying out some auto ISO shots as I described in a previous post. However, since I was shooting night scenes, the camera does its best to try and make things look properly exposed and this is not what you need. Instead, I had to manually set the ISO to a higher number and then drop the exposure compensation to between -2 and -3.
The shots came out okay but they weren’t terribly interesting. However, as we got lower, I decided to go for something a bit more interesting and slowed the shutter speed down dramatically. I braced the camera against the window frame and decided to see what sort of light trails I could get. The exposures were a couple of seconds or more so this is rather tricky. While the background is blurred deliberately, I had the top of the engine and the winglet in for reference. Avoiding blurring them was more hit and miss.
I tried a bunch of shots and was pleased with the number that came out well. However, the effect only seems to work in a couple of situations. One is a turn. This puts more ground lights in the frame and turns everything into a nice curve. The other is when you are very low at which point everything is moving past you close and fast. I might try this again before too long but will have to ponder what might improve things. One technique issue I was pleased with was remembering to turn off image stabilization. With long exposures, it causes the image to wander so, when bracing, it actually makes things worse. Unlike me to remember that first time out but sometimes I do get lucky!