Illuminating Circles

So for those of you who follow me on Instagram, I posted a photo Sunday night of the display screen of my camera, showing a photo I had just taken.  Well, here is that photo processed--a shot of the Golden Zephyr at Paradise Pier making circles of light.  It's a shot I've seen several other photographers take and share on Instagram or various sources online, and I've always thought to myself, 'Why don't I try that shot, and why haven't I ever thought to do it before?'  Well, I finally did.

The Golden Zephyr creates a beautiful swirl of light when the shutter is left open.
The trick to a shot like this is long exposure.  Simply put, I set the shutter to be open an extended period of time in order to expose this continuous movement of light created by the twinkle lights on the chains the suspend the Golden Zephyr carriages and the lamps on the carriages themselves.  A tripod is a must for a shot like this, and I also have a remote to trigger the shutter without having to touch the camera, which eliminates miniscule shaking caused by contact.  In this photo, the shutter speed is 15 seconds, with an aperture of f/10, all at a very low and clean ISO of 100.  Shooting in RAW gives me some leeway in nailing the exact exposure, and after some Photoshop processing, voila! This is the shot!


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