Blue Hour Photographs

Fuji X100 | 9 sec, f/11, ISO 200 (JPEG output: Astia)

On the way to meet friends for dinner in downtown SF last night, I stopped by the pier to grab some night shots with the X100. It was a surprisingly warm evening. Perfect for a relaxing stroll with the camera.

Left: Fuji X100 | 1/10 sec, f/2, ISO 200 (hand-held) ||  Right: Fuji X100 | 2sec, f/11, ISO 200

At this point the light was falling fast. After a couple of hand-held snaps, I brought out my trusty gorillapod for some long expsosures:

Fuji X100 | 7 sec, f/11, ISO 200 (JPEG output: Astia)

I would normally shoot RAW when doing night photography, but out of curiosity I recorded RAW and JPEG files simultaneously. To put it simply, the X100 puts out a fantastic JPEG file.

Fuji X100 | 30 sec, f/16, ISO 200 (RAW: Processed in LR3)

The built in 3-stop neutral density filter came in handy for giving the water a more glassy look and smoothing out the clouds, though I do prefer the more dramatic sky that resulted from the 7 second exposure over the 30 second exposure above.

I continue to be amazed that such a relatively small camera packs such a serious image quality punch. I feel like such a ninja with the X100. Silent, extremely portable, and incredibly quick to deploy:

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G AFS |  1/125 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600

Tonight I wanted to get a couple frames of the Golden Gate during blue hour. Arrived on site, jumped out of the car, climbed down on the rocks, plopped the small rig down and fired away. I was happy that the fog stayed high enough in the sky to be a sweet element in the photo without completely shrouding the bridge, which is often the case in this very foggy city.

Fuji X100 | 30 sec, f/11, ISO 200 (RAW: Processed in LR3/CS5)

Click on the image above to see a larger version on my City and Landscape gallery.

19 thoughts on “Blue Hour Photographs

  1. Unbelievable photos the lights on the water. The water looks like glass and the clouds in the sky just look like it is all rolling in and you caught it at perfect light…beautiful…

  2. As fantastic as ever….

    wondering how u make the blue sky w/o affecting the bridge color in CS5.

    Thanks for sharing those amazing pics…

  3. Beautiful photos as ever. Is that the smallest Gorillapod? I was thinking of getting one for the x100 too but wanted to make sure it wasn’t too heavy for it as I know there’s a larger one out there for SLRs.

    1. This is actually a large Gorilla Pod with a small Manfrotto ball head. Until now I was using it for my DSLRs, so it’s plenty of support for an X100.

  4. Beautiful shot as always!
    I like the little Fuji, what do you think about using that camera “professionally”? I mean (It’s hard for me to explain in English, I’m Italian and my English..ehm..), do you ever use the fuji for engagement or wedding shots?

    1. I wouldn’t count on it as a primary camera for a hired shoot, but I have used it as a backup. I took around 300 shots with the X100 at a wedding I shot recently, and it performed very well as a backup to my DSLR system.

  5. Hello there Jonathan, i was so amazed with all of your photos taken with fuji x100, i bought one because of it 😀 i want to ask you something, i read one of your reply at your post “Fuji X100: Crazy Dynamic Range” you mention about your camera setting, does that setting also works with your photo that taken at blue hour like this post? or you just have to set it manually?


    1. Thanks for the comment! I don’t really have a default list of settings I use for blue hour photography, because colors can vary so much from one scene to the next. I typically shoot in RAW for low light, long exposure shots like these.

  6. Hey Jonathan! These are simply amazing. I would love to someday accompany you on your night photography adventure. I find that when I lose my inspiration and motivation, your photography and this blog always rekindles my passions. I’m dying to go shooting now! Too bad I’m sitting in class. 😛

    1. How have you been man!? Yeah, inspiration can have peaks and valleys. I feel like I’m in a valley right now myself. Maybe one of these weekends we can take our x100s out for a spin. Stay in touch!

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