Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Playing with George Square’s Christmas lights

Another of those shots you shouldn’t be seeing from me, this time a daylight shot of George Square’s Christmas lights.

Fortunately, there’s  not much Sunlight at this time of years, so I might smoke a little, but at least I won’t burst into flames.

I went there after learning how smart it was to scope out a night shot during daylight, having tried it with the shot trying to get the whole of GoMA and its surrounding lights.

It was quite an education, finding out just how far I had to beck down St Vincent Street in order to get the whole scene in a single wide angle shot. Pity I can only do this with the compact, which has a wider wide than the widest wide of the superzoom I have for the dSLR.

Well, at least the higher quality catch it provides can be stitched, with little evidence of the join.

STILL missed a bit on the left (partly deliberate, as the building was beginning to encroach, but more than I meant to), I have to try harder to remember the compact show and exact view – dSLRs generally show a little less, so you don’t miss edges.

George Square Wideness

George Square Wideness

I went back later, to play with some more shots in the dark – which is not really dark with all those lights!

I arrived at the big wheel, and was irritated to find that barriers etc meant I could not get far enough back (when close) to get any more than 70% in frame, even on the widest setting, in either portrait or landscape views.

So, I had to give up and try the stitching mentioned above, but at least needed only two shots to get this combined view.

Can you see the join?

Fortunately, the exposure was the same for each pic, sometimes it can vary wildly. I was lucky the wheel stayed still too.

I can’t control the distortion in these (much), but really wide lenses do something similar, and there’s not usually much complaint.

George Square Big Wheel Stitch

George Square Big Wheel Stitch

I stepped back, to take some more normal, single, wide angle views of this, showing more of the lights, this time the illuminated globe that was on one of the lawns last year, and fenced off so people could take pics inside. They didn’t seem to bother doing that this year.

Then there’s the Squares Christmas tree, which seems to be really FAT this year.

I took a few of these, all slightly different, but mainly to see what would be caught from the ever-changing animated lighting of the big wheel.

From past experience, I’ve learnt there’s little or no point in waiting for a specific effect (unless you really really HAVE to), and you might as well just take a lot of shots to catch whatever is happening with the lights.

I should maybe add that these pics were taken before… it got cold and wet!

George Square Globe Wheel Tree

George Square Globe Wheel Tree 1

Note the lighting on the tree. In recent years it has been simply draped from the top, in lines.

In days gone by, it was wrapped or wound around the tree.

Both fairly easy to put on – but I’m told that when the light strings were wrapped around the tree, by the end of the season they were a pig to remove, having been worked into the branches by the wind.

George Square Globe Wheel Tree 2

George Square Globe Wheel Tree 2

Maybe they should make up special vertical looms.

The straight drape means there’s a lot of lights together at the top, but they’re sparse by the time they get to the wider bottom.

Two banks of LEDs would be good. One up top, as at present, then another with double density strings for the lower ‘half’.

George Square Globe Wheel Tree 3

George Square Globe Wheel Tree 3

I’m also a little surprised the tree lights are steady, and not animated in some way, which is really easy with LEDs.

Maybe that will be the next set 😉

George Square Globe Wheel Tree 4

George Square Globe Wheel Tree 4

I’m really surprised at what the compact is now delivering with the revised settings I made at the start of the season, but don’t ask me what they are, I’ve no idea what I changed. Actually, it has so many damned settings I have almost no idea what I’m doing with it. Half the phone book (manual) is dedicated to 4k operation, which I’ve never even looked at!

Notable things I’ve learned is that I was right about the smallish sensor it uses. The pics are surprisingly good, but there is the ‘Falling off a cliff’ aspect, where the image quality just disappears below a certain light level, where the dSLR would still be returning decent views.

The other really odd thing is that nearly all the shots are useable ‘Out of the box’, and don’t need processing to raise shadows, or lower highlights. I’ve hardly touched any (none of the above), and those I do need to fix were genuine low light views.

What I’m finding this year is that I’m shooting a lot of wide views, nearly always having to tip the camera back, away from vertical, and have to do a lot of perspective correction. I think I’m lucky I found that tool last year, and got some practice in, or all the above would be very distorted and weird looking.

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06/12/2018 - Posted by | Civilian, photography | ,

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