Burnet at Night - A Revisit

I've posted before about walking along Burnet Rd in Austin at Night. It's not particularly interesting during the day, at least to me. It takes on a different look at night when light is sparse. Things that seem mundane in the daylight become intriguing in the subtle brushes of light from manmade sources. I enjoy the calm and quiet of an evening stroll while observing what the interplay of darkness and light choose to reveal.


Quiet Places


Late Night on Burnet

I met up with my good friend Tony for dinner and a few drinks last week. We didn't really plan on taking any photos that night. It was more about hanging out, venting about some things, laughing about others. Being that we are both photographers we just happened to have cameras with us - imagine that. After dinner we took a brief walk down Burnett road. It's not the most exciting bit of Austin. It was dark and quiet - eerily so in some places. We each found a few things of interest on this mundane stretch of road. The search for something interesting in poorly lit ordinary areas like this is challenging and distracting - in a good way. It takes my mind off of my cares and worries. It makes me happy.

Images were captured with a Fujifilm X-T1 and XF 35mm f/1.4 lens.

A Night on Burnet

I met up with my good friend Tony for a short photo walk right before Christmas. He was flying out on Christmas Day and it was nice to hang out a bit while enjoying a shared favorite activity - walking around the city at night with a single camera and a fast prime lens. We chose a stretch of Burnet road in Austin that has a few interesting businesses and some colorful lights. You gotta have some light coming from somewhere at night after all. It was a fairly calm and quiet night for being just a couple days before Christmas. We walked, chatted, clicked, dined. Due to the holiday business and illness (damned cedar fever!) I just got around to processing and posting these.  

Images taken with a Fujifilm X-T1 and XF 35mm f/1.4 lens. All are camera JPEGs in the new Classic Chrome film simulation with the exception of the Chinese restaurant, which was converted from raw with Astia simulation in Lightroom.

Exposure Latitude of Black and White Film

A while back I took a class in black and white film developing.  The instructor in the class talked about the exposure latitude of black and white film and how forgiving it is compared to other media such as slide film or digital images.  He made a comment at one point that really stuck in my head.  He said, "I'm not sure I'd be able to tell the difference in one stop between exposures."  At the time, I thought he was just kidding with us.

Fast forward a few months and I'm out with some photog friends doing some night photography in downtown Austin.  I was getting a shot of a high dynamic range scene of a lighted stairwell.  After several meter readings of the scene, I decided on an exposure of 8 seconds.  When I'm doing long exposures I usually have the camera in bulb mode and use a cable shutter release along with a stop watch app on my phone.  On this occasion I was using a cable release I'd picked up cheap somewhere and wasn't familiar with its locking mechanism.  I had been using it for a while that night and had no issues.  On my first exposure of the stairwell, I must have inadvertently hit the cable release lock because the plunger didn't release when took my thumb off.  I fumbled with the release for several seconds before I figured out how to unlock it, resulting in a exposure that was about twice as long as intended - a full stop difference!

Assuming I'd just blown the highlights to oblivion (as would surely have been the case with my digital gear), I grabbed another shot with the intended exposure time and moved on.  A few days later I picked up the developed film (Yes, I'm still not developing at home - yet!) and expected to see a mess of a negative for the overexposed shot.  I was very surprised to see that there was practically no discernable difference!  Here are the two exposures as scanned with no post processing:

Can you see much difference?  Neither can I.  The Fujifilm Acros 100 film I was using does a great job at reeling in the highlights and one stop wasn't enough to make any real difference in the shadows.  Had this been a digital exposure I'd surely have lost a lot of detail in the brightly lit stairwell.  With the black and white film, either exposure is workable and there was plenty of latitude in the scanned file.  My development class instructor wasn't kidding after all!

Here is the final image after a little post processing: