This photo is unique for a number of reasons. First things first, this photo was taken at Jervis Bay in NSW, Australia. This was the first night we set up camp and had no idea what to expect. By showing up after sundown, we really couldn't see much past what the light on our phones could show us and the stars above our heads. We hiked down to the beach and found this cave where we made a camp fire.
I decided to wander off and check out the stars since I don't get to see much of them at home in New York. We ended up taking some photos and I had an interesting idea that I've done once or twice before but never really came out the way I wanted it.
For this trip I wanted to pack as light as possible since I didn't know where we were going to end up or what we were going to be doing in all the countries I planned to visit. I went from jumping sand dunes with my camera bag on my back in Dubai one day to camping on one of the most isolated beaches I've ever been to on the coast of Australia another day. I didn't want to bring my big and heavy DSLR with all my Canon EF lenses with me, so I bought a Panasonic GH4 right before I left. Including all the lenses I brought, it was at least half the size and weight of my Canon gear. It came at a price though since the GH4 is horrible in low light. I really wish I had my 6D, but the best camera is the one on you, right?
Since I was packing light, I didn't bring any flashes either. I had to compensate by using the only source of light that I had, my cell phone. We found a spot that looked cool by the water with the cliffs behind Justin. It was pretty much pitch black out so it was extremely hard to set everything up. Composition was probably the hardest, it was a lot of trial and error with long exposure shots. Eventually I found what I was looking for and went for a 50 second exposure while I ran around Justin with the flashlight on my cell phone. I would point my phone where I wanted the light, turn the flashlight on for a second of two at a time, turn it off and run to another spot. It seems easy but it was a lot of running since the camera was a lot further than in the picture above. It was tough being able to do all of that work within the 50 seconds the shutter was open for. I missed it a few times prior.
Another factor was the tide. Since it was pitch black we couldn't really see where the water was, we could only hear it. While setting up the camera I hear justin screaming that he just got soaked from the waves and I managed to pick my camera off the sand a second or two before the water came up to my ankles. We then decided to head a few more yards away from the water.
The shot isn't perfect but I like how it came out and I like the story behind how it was made. The GH4 is garbage in low light so the noise is insane at full res, but you have to do the best with what you have. I had to take advantage of the location despite not having a full framed camera. Even if I had a point and shoot I still would've tried to get something similar to work. I don't really like that 7-14mm either. I'm a huge wide angle fan but this lens was too slow, gave me way too much flare and is way too expensive.
This was a good way of making the best with what you have and I feel like I did a decent job of it.