Here's another image I took while walking around central Amsterdam in the early morning hours. I was only here for a week so I made the decision to stay on North American time. That meant I was still wide awake very late which works well for night photography. I could capture the lights reflecting on the still waters of the canals to my heart's content.
A couple of times I left my tripod back at the hotel. To get these long exposures without shaking the camera I would make due by balancing it on a bike seat. All of the little bridges have bikes leaning against the railings. All I had to do was pick one with a relatively wide seat and gingerly set the camera down. I used a wireless trigger so that I didn't need to touch the camera to activate the shutter.
That little system worked quite well and to be honest, it's a technique I've used in many other places as well. I don't always want to bring a tripod especially when shooting street scenes at night. For that I'm grateful for the high ISO performance of Sony cameras, it allows me to do things that were unheard of just a few years ago. For street photography you want to travel light and be able to react quickly.
Yet when I'm out walking around I'll invariably see something like this scene and I wish I had a tripod. Then it becomes a little game of figuring out what I can use to stabilize the camera. I use all manner of things like balancing on a fence railing, stabilizing the lens with the camera strap, even placing the camera on the ground and shooting up.
As a result I'm hard on camera bodies. They get scratched quite a bit. But for me the scratches on my camera body are like notches on a belt. It's funny but a scratched up camera feels to me like a comfortable set of well worn shows; we've seen a lot together.
I took this shortly after sunrise as our cruise ship entered port in Nassau. As yachts go this is pretty big, I'm not sure if this is a government craft or just one of the many super-yachts of the Bahamas.
It got me thinking about why people own these. Personally, I don't think I would want one. I've been on rough seas on a big cruise ship and I certainly would not want to go through that on a small boat. The sea does not care how fancy a yacht is, it will be tossed around like a toy.
I had the same thought when we passed other big yachts near the Atlantis Resort and Casino. Maybe the people that have these only sail in fair weather and remain close to home. That I could understand. They are awesome to look at but I think they are no match for the wrath of the sea.
My hat is off to fishermen who work the seas for their livelihood like the guys on The Deadliest Catch. Watching that freaks me out a little. How they manage through storms is beyond me.
I think this attitude of mine comes from a fear of falling into the ocean and drowning. It might stem from an incident when I was an infant and almost drowned. Although I don't remember it, I was apparently face down and sinking in a lake.
Anyway, I have nothing against these high-end boats. If I did have one I'd be having fair-weather parties on it all the time. However at the first sign of a storm you'd find me firmly on land. In the meantime I'll just stick to cruise ships and buy crab legs from a store. I'm not really in the market for one of these anytime soon.
This is Bradenton Beach under the light of a nearly full moon. I was taking pictures with a friend and everything was illuminated by the glow from the moon. Coming to the beach at night is an experience that is completely different from daytime. For me it's a meditative experience. The overwhelming sensation is the sound of the waves.
If possible I try to take pictures of people in night scenes like this. That's not always possible but with a moon glow and a high enough ISO it sometimes works. In this case there are people with a lantern at the end of the pier. Generally taking pictures of people during long exposures is not possible because when they move they appear invisible. To appear invisible is an oxymoron, but I digress.
Also when shooting at night around urban areas I'll get those light streaks in the sky from aircraft. Normally I don't notice them at the time but afterwards the streak is obvious. I suppose you could calculate speed based on the distance of the streak and the length of the exposure. Nevertheless these also occur with moving boats on the water.
Taking photos by the beach at night is a lot of fun. If I didn't have to get up the next morning I'd probably stay out all night. However I'll usually leave in a relaxed state of mind with the sound of the waves faintly echoing in my head. After that I have no problem falling asleep.