Water Park Holiday Lights

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the Family Aquatic Center at Osage Center (AKA to me as the Water Park) was all lit up for the holidays. I was already in the left lane to turn toward Kingsway, so I didn’t even slow down.

I should have stopped that night. It wasn’t 25 degrees and the grass didn’t crunch under my steps.

I had planned to do a piece on the Occupy Cape Girardeau movement, but Jim Stone and I spent most of the day roaming and visiting, so I didn’t have the energy to do it justice tonight. I was looking for something quick and easy to post. (Click on the photo to make it larger.)

How did I shoot the photo?

  • It was dark, so the camera autoselected an ISO (“film” speed of 1600. The high speed, plus the dark areas resulted in about half a dozen red and blue spots of “noise” that had to be edited out in Photoshop CS5 Extended.
  • It was darker than dark, but my fingers were too cold to fiddle with a tripod, so I grabbed my monopod to take at least a little shake out of the photo.
  • I was shivering and the cold made me need to pee, so I backed up against a utility pole to give me a little more stability (and to finish up as quickly as possible).
  • Frames that were given more light also required a slower shutter speed, which made them less sharp. Frames that were grossly underexposed showed the lights and were sharper, but lost the nice curvy lines of the empty pool. (The light color wasn’t ice; it was light reflecting off the walls of the pool.)
  • This compromise was a .625-second exposure @ f/4 at 26mm. I could have zoomed in tighter. When I went to edit it, I cropped in from all four sides to emphasize the lights. When I shot it, I thought I’d like the lights surrounded by more darkness, but that wasn’t the case.

4 Replies to “Water Park Holiday Lights”

  1. Beautiful shot, Ken. Well worth staying in MO a little longer and postponing a trip to the bathroom…
    And thanks for the photography lesson. Maybe one day I’ll have a camera good enough to take advantage of it…

    1. There’s nothing extraordinary about the equipment in this case. The key thing is having something to support the camera during the long exposure.

      If I hadn’t been shivering, I could probably have hand-held it or just braced myself against the utility pole. A tripod would have been better than a monopod, but I didn’t want to dig it out and set it up.

  2. Ken, last Thanksgiving I made CD’s of our Cape Central football games in the fall of 1973 for the class of 1974. I probably still have 25 of themn left. I owe Patty Christensen one, and someone else but can’t remember who. If you would like one of the remaining 25, contact me and I’ll send it your way. My home address is Jeff Hutton, 3504 West Margaret Place, Rogers, AR 72756. Your’s for the asking. Please send $2 for shipping and handling. And make sure your name and address is legible, please. Thanks, Ken!

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