From a distance, the Bay Bridge turns into a shimmering dancing sculpture after dusk. Have you spot the passing traffic, the moving clouds, and the shifting weather in the light pattern racing across the span? It’s hard for me to resist capturing this beautiful light patterns painted with 25,000 LEDs, even if it involved making a trip up to San Francisco among traffic and coming back home an hour and half past midnight.
To get it right is a bit tricky and I want share a little bit my thoughts to you if you ever want to visit the Bay Lights and have some pretty light patterns taken. It’s a different ballpark in terms of night photography. Night landscapes are usually shot with a relatively slow shutter speed accompanied with small aperture and low iso. But if I apply the normal ways of shooting night landscape, the Bay Lights would then turn into a bunch of boring white straight lines. So in order to freeze the motion of the light pattern, the key is to start with a faster shutter speed such as 1/30 to 1/20 second, still on the tripod though, then try to find a balance among the trade-offs between wide aperture and high iso (in plain words: between what’s in focus and digital noise). Fortunately, with a little post noise reduction, these pictures turned out not too bad, plus the grain looking residue noises make the black and white photo look a little vintage-ish.