Long-shutter photography at dawn in Bali, Indonesia

I was at Bali for a conference recently, and took the opportunity to put the Fujifilm X100s through it’s paces for the one thing i knew i could expect: great sunrises — the hotel i was staying at is on the east coast of the island.

On the first dawn i was there, i was pretty gung-ho and made sure i was up at 5am and ready to roll. It was pitch dark, and standing on the small pier by the sea gave me goosebumps — i thought that sea monters were going to kidnap me and the only thing they’d leave behind was my tripod!

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The wind was blowing hard, and this led to quite a bit of camera vibration. I practically hugged the tripod while the shutter was open to keep it still.

The Fujifilm X100s (read my earlier review) performed quite well through it all. I used the bulb function to time the exposures; easy because a stopclock appears in the OVF and the LCD to tell you how much time has elapsed. A few quick experimentations with the timing and it was pretty clear how the sensor responded to the extremely low light and the amount of time the shutter was opened.

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It was a bit disappointing to see that the floor ISO is set at ISO200 — i was hoping that it would drop to at least ISO100 (it can drop to this, but not when shooting RAW). With ISO100 i think a little bit more detail could have been squeezed out of the scenes.

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I found the built-in ND filter quite useful. It allowed for shooting to continue even as the scene got brighter. But it’s a really minor cutting of the light, only by 2+ stops. To get really creamy textures and dramatic cloud effects, i’d probably need to install something like a Cokin filter system with hard grads and push it by at least 8 stops. Another experiment for another day.

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