I had been told that the river Roding would be really high Thursday night, and I though it might make a picture. I picked up my Nikon D7000 with a Nikon 17/55mm f2.8 lens, my Nikon 10/24mm and Nikon 70/210 zoom lenses and popped them into a small Lowepro bag With my Nikon SB900 flash on the camera I grabbed my Manfrotto unipod pulled on an extra sweater and a warm coat and off I toddled.
I headed to the bridge carrying the A12 over the river to see what I could come up with, I had a half formed idea in the back of my mind. My idea didn’t work out but I’m not going to say what it was, I’m keeping the idea for another day to try it again. I decided to shoot the river in a straightforward way with flash to try and give the picture a news feeling. Setting the aperture to f5.6 with the flash in TTL mode and the shutter speed at 1\60th of a second, it wasn’t a bad picture. It definitely has that ‘news’ feel that I was after. Of course though at a 1\60 of a second at f5.6 at night only the area covered by flash light showed up everything else was black. Ok, but what if I slowed the shutter speed dramatically, I tried a 1 second exposure at f5.6. Better, it started to pick up a bit of ambient light as well, it needed to be even slower though.
Now I was really beginning to wish that I had brought a proper tripod rather than the unipod, although the unipod was crucial to my original idea. Taking a deep breath I changed the shutter speed to 4 seconds, kept the aperture at f5.6 the flash in TTL mode. I really didn’t think hand holding 4 seconds was ‘do-able’ but with nothing to lose I gave it a try. I gripped the camera very firmly in my right hand, rested the base on the bridge parapet and pushed down hard on it with my left hand. I held my breath and gently squeezed off a frame, not great, a little camera shake on the first one but after half a dozen tries I got a sharp frame. It’s not a bed picture either, changing the shutter speed to 4 seconds certainly worked. It picked up some nice ambient light plus the lights of buildings in the distance. So the motto is “even when you thinks it’s impossible, it’s worth a try”.
Technical info: Nikon D7000 with a Nikon 10\24mm zoom lens set to 10mm. The flash was a Nikon SB900. The exposure was 4 seconds at f5.6 and the ISO was 1000.