Pushing Lowlight-Photography Limits: The Atta Terrace Hotel at Night
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, f/7.1, ISO 2000 — map & image data — nearby photos One-Second Exposure, Handheld Hotel Bar  ·  the Atta Terrace Hotel  ·  Okinawa Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1 sec handheld (braced), f/7.1, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
One-Second Exposure, Handheld
Hotel Bar  ·  the Atta Terrace Hotel  ·  Okinawa Japan

After getting my Nikon D700 and putting its low-light capabilities to the test (see: “Impossible Photography: No Light, No Tripod, No Hope. D700 and a 50mm f/1.2” and “A Few More D700 f/1.2 Night Shots”) I quickly expanded my understanding of the lighting conditions in which I could do handheld photography. In exploring this new territory, I often pushed too far and ended up with poor results, but surprisingly often I got results that would have been considered impossible just a couple of years ago, such as Anthony blowing out birthday candles, or riding his bike at dusk, or doing silly dance play with friends in the dark.

These new capabilities allowed me to continue a story into night (such as “The Real Shougunzuka Kyoto Overlook” or “Mountain Drive to Hiyoshi Dam”), or do nighttime shots on the spur of the moment without a tripod, such as “More From the Eikando Temple Foliage Lightup”.

Such was the case last weekend during our jaunt to Okinawa. As I posted the other day in my In the Ballpark of Hope: Okinawan Grave In the Dark, I was able to get a reasonable spur-of-the-moment shot under a dark clump of trees, at ISO 6400 at 1/5th second. The low-light capabilities of the D700 increases dramatically the range of situations where I can at least hope to get a decent shot.

Later that evening before dinner, I took a stroll around the grounds of our hotel, The Atta Terrace Club Towers snapping pictures. I didn't have my tripod as I did when we visited Miyajima, and would still need one to get a rich evening shot like this, but for an unplanned spur-of-the-moment stroll, I came back with a lot to show for it, I think...

, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image data — nearby photos Path to The Pool from the rooms -- Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 45 mm — 1/40 sec freestanding handheld, f/2.8, ISO 6400map & image datanearby photos
Path to The Pool
from the rooms
, f/4.5, ISO 6400 — map & image data — nearby photos Pool and Restaurant The restaurant is the first floor; the second floor is the hotel lobby. -- Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 38 mm — 1/30 sec handheld (braced), f/4.5, ISO 6400map & image datanearby photos
Pool and Restaurant
The restaurant is the first floor; the second floor is the hotel lobby.
, f/5, ISO 2000 — map & image data — nearby photos Reverse View with the room towers in the far background, and the library/lounge/bar just behind the pool ( pretty freaking amazing results for 0.4sec handheld ! ) -- Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 0.4 sec freestanding handheld, f/5, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Reverse View
with the room towers in the far background, and the library/lounge/bar just behind the pool
( pretty freaking amazing results for 0.4sec handheld ! )
, f/6.3, ISO 2000 — map & image data — nearby photos Poolside Lounge -- Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/4 sec handheld (braced), f/6.3, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Poolside Lounge

The middle three pictures from Japanese Attention to Presentation were taken here – you can see the little arrangements on each table.

This next shot looks down the corridor between the pool and the lounge, and is much more along the lines of what I expected to get (that is, it's much lower quality)....

, f/5, ISO 3200 — map & image data — nearby photos Awaiting the Evening Crowd -- Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/13 sec handheld freestanding, f/5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Awaiting the Evening Crowd

I include it here mostly as a point of comparison to the others, which generally came out just as you see them (although ones that were “handheld (braced)” generally had to be rotated a bit, to compensate for not being able to set the camera level when bracing it against a wall). The one above, though, was severely underexposed because the candles completely dominated the exposure. Even though I used spot metering away from the flame, and added +2EV in exposure compensation, everything but the candles came out really dark. I brought it back a bit in Lightroom, but you can see how mushy the result is.

, f/3.5, ISO 2000 — map & image data — nearby photos Flowers and Towers -- Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 31 mm — 1/5 sec freestanding handheld, f/3.5, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Flowers and Towers

I thought I was wasting my time to even attempt shots of these flowers, much less also incorporating the even-more-poorly-lit towers.

I ventured further outside to get a shot of the “grand” entrance...

, f/3.5, ISO 2000 — map & image data — nearby photos Unassuming -- Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32 mm — 1/15 sec handheld freestanding, f/3.5, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Unassuming

When we first drove up to the hotel in our rental car the previous afternoon, guided by the in-car navigation system, a van happened to be parked in front of the little sign with the hotel name – pictured above – and as such, we only saw the gates (at right in the picture above) that look more like where you'll find the trash dumpster than the entrance to a hotel, so we were a bit confused until someone came out to meet us.

It's on an out-of-the-way road, and not one to garner drive-by impromptu customers. Children are not allowed, so all in all, I guess they're taking an understated approach. This differs greatly from the main hotel in the chain, which is 15 minutes up the coast, The Busena Terrace. Driving by, it was hard to miss the Las Vegas style bright and flashy entrance.

Anyway, at our hotel, once you're ushered inside and you look into the lobby, you realize that you're in a classy place...

, f/3.5, ISO 3200 — map & image data — nearby photos Main Lobby as seen from the valet dropoff -- Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/25 sec handheld freestanding, f/3.5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Main Lobby
as seen from the valet dropoff

The main lobby is on the 2nd floor, above the restaurant, and offers a nice view of the pool...

, f/5, ISO 3200 — map & image data — nearby photos Pool and Nothingness -- Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/5 sec handheld (braced), f/5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Pool and Nothingness

Built overlooking a steep slope, the far end of the pool is one of those “edgeless” kind, were the water just ends and nothingness begins. It's a cool effect, but even in Okinawa, it was too cool to swim in January. The lights in the background darkness are of another hotel a mile away. Most of the rest of the blackness in front and beyond that hotel is the East China Sea.

The grounds have various water features that are all lit up at night. Some are shallow pools with plants...

, f/3.2, ISO 3200 — map & image data — nearby photos Rocks · Pot · Water · Leaf · Air in that order -- Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/50 sec freestanding handheld, f/3.2, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Rocks · Pot · Water · Leaf · Air
in that order
, f/7.1, ISO 2000 — map & image data — nearby photos Shimmery -- Okinawa, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 56 mm — 0.5 sec handheld (braced), f/7.1, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Shimmery

All 5 comments so far, oldest first...

Great pictures, all of them, especially considering the shooting conditions (handheld)!

— comment by Gianluca on January 15th, 2009 at 10:33pm JST (8 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Braced or not, that first shot is amazing for a handheld in low light. And you managed to get the waiter just as he was putting that garnish on the drink – something that probably just took about a second – and he’s not blurred. Wow.

It really struck me that only 6 years ago, you were just pointing and shooting with a little Powershot. Now look at your skill level!

I’ve got to wonder whether the bartender held his position for me just a bit longer than he needed. I’d been there for a few moments before taking the shot, and I know that he noticed me before I took that shot. He moved when he was done squeezing the orange slice before I moved after the shot, so maybe not, but having had eye contact with him moments before, in that classy a place, him holding the position a bit is not something I’d rule out. If he did, I certainly appreciate it! —Jeffrey

— comment by Marcina on January 15th, 2009 at 11:11pm JST (8 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Love the low light shots, thanks for sharing!

— comment by Craig Howell on January 27th, 2009 at 3:27pm JST (8 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I love your low light shots! You’re really making me think hard about replacing my D300 with a D700. More importantly though, you’re inspiring me to get out of the house as often as possible and just get on with shooting.

— comment by Doug Wilson on January 29th, 2009 at 1:19am JST (8 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Here is a video pertaining to the light leak through the distance panel of the Nikon 24-70mm, I just thought that I’d share this with you and your readers here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_pg61K-efg&feature=related

— comment by James Tuazon on November 15th, 2010 at 2:32am JST (6 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink
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