Rodney Campbell's Blog

Lighting the Bunkers…

by on Sep.27, 2014, under Life, Photography

Having just finished light painting the first of the WWII Bunkers on North Head I convinced Gerry to explore a little more and check out the second bunker further up the coast.

Things got very tricky getting to this second bunker – after scrambling down half a cliff we finally made it to this more awkwardly placed bunker placed partway down the side of the hill.

This one was far less interesting than the first bunker – it was much smaller, had very little interesting graffiti, it was essentially just a half open concrete box.

Still we’d scrambled here so we figured we’d make do. Time for some more light painting.

This shot is pretty simple really – a single take super long exposure (486 seconds), some red light inside the bunker (for part of the exposure) and both of us providing some EL wire flow coming down the rocky path from the bunker towards and under the cameras. First take and we’re done…

Fire in the Pit

Fire in the Pit

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 486 sec at f/8, ISO 100

and another take from exactly the same position. This time blue torch inside the bunker along with Gerry adding some selective directional light from the side. Had to do a number of takes on this one – the first was way overlit and the second almost worked – third is a charm – top work mate…

Blue Eye

Blue Eye

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 309 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

Standing there waiting for our stuff to finish tho gave me time to look around and what was starting to interest me much more was the funky stuff going on out in the sea. We were setup precariously close to the edge (it’s pitch black so we can’t actually see how bad or high it is – I’m sure during the day it would be more “interesting”).

Out in the water you could see these white lines everywhere in the water but even more interesting right up close to the shore where the water was crashing into the rocks underwater it seemed like the point where the water was hitting the rocks below was literally lighting up. It was like some sort of underwater bio luminescence. Gerry was trying to convince me that it’s just due to the water churning up and bubbling more air but I was thinking some sort of microscopic bioluminescent organism being churned at the edge because it appeared to be lit from within and emanating light briefly.

So we climbed up onto the roof of the bunker and shot down into the ocean below. This shot is the last of the night – an unusual take to be sure…



NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 18 mm, 184 sec at f/5, ISO 1250

One it was composed pretty much on luck… I couldn’t see at all through the viewfinder so I simply pointed my camera in the right general direction, ensured it was horizon level using the camera’s built in electronic level and pointed downwards appropriately by feel 🙂

Secondly it’s a very long exposure (over 3 minutes) but shot almost wide open (at f/5) and at high ISO (1250) with no filters at all and it was still about four stops underexposed – shows you how very dark it was out there.

Of course in my long exposure you can clearly see my band of blue bioluminescence 🙂

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