Every now and then you can just point your camera out your car window and take a great shot.  But not often.  Usually you have to really work for a great shot – exploring different angles, exposures, artistic effects, etc.

That is under the best conditions.

When you have very little light, and what light you do have is mixed (ambient plus tungsten plus sodium vapor and who know what else), and when your main subject is bobbing gently up and down, things get really difficult.

So it was in this Moroccan harbor where I came upon a small fleet of blue wooden fishing boats. . . . .

Hmmm.  What to do? Go back to the hotel and eat dinner, or give it a go?

At first I tried it with my wide angle lens and shot the overall scene.  To get the boats remotely sharp, I had to with my 16-35mm lens wide open, at f/2.8m with an ISO of 4000 and a .3 second exposure. Not exactly ideal. That lens is not incredibly sharp at the edges wide open, and that does not give much depth of field, but what the hell, let’s try.

Fishing Boats

I tried all different combinations, including longer exposures of the same scene. Looks ok, but I am not sure it works.  What do you think?

Fishing Boats

Having done the best I could with the big scene, I tried to isolate more intimate details.  Zooming in a bit, let the shutter drag for everywhere from 1 to 30 seconds.  I like this 30 second expsoure the best.

Fishing Boats

As the dusk light faded to black, I tried to get a sharp shot with little success until I remembered that I had just bought a new Sigma 50mm f 1/4 prime lens. It is sharp, and very fast.  Shooting wide open, and using my Live View to focus on the boat named  “AAOUNIA”, I was able to get a (barely) fast enough exposure and a completely different image.  It was a lot of work, but I got at least four shots I like from a really difficult situation.

Fishing Boats

Fishing boats, Essaouira, Morocco. Canon 1Dx. 50mm. ISO 3200. 1/20 sec. at f/1.4. 

Do you have a favorite?  I’d be curious to know.