In a couple of weeks I plan to go out to the desert for some low light/night time photography. I haven’t done a lot of that yet, so I felt I needed some practice.

My sister Liz & Brother-In-Law Randy run Symphony Pools, a respected Southern California pool designer/builder. This is the pool they built in the backyard of their home in Simi Valley.

I wanted to shoot their pool for obvious reasons — it’s fantastic! Look at that thing! This photo only captures about half-their backyard, but in that photo you can see the grotto, which turns in to a jacuzzi when the waterfall is turned off, there’s a fantastic water slide to the right of it, the incredible “beach entrance” in to the pool and you can’t quite see it from this angle but there’s a walk up bar at the end of the beach entrance — yes, just like at your favorite resort!

Taking these photos wasn’t easy — composing the shot was difficult with so little light. Looking through the view finder, it was hard to see anything, especially with the wide-angle lens. Randy had to stand behind me and focus his flashlight on areas of the backyard just so I could find my shot. Something to keep in mind on future shoots.

Also, the 8 MM shot I posted above was actually a test shot to see if the scene looked good, thus why it was shot at ISO 3200. Unfortunately, none of the ISO 100 shots turned out quite as nice, so this photo is a bit more grainy than it needs to be, and not quite as crisp. No problem, I’ll go back and try again using better settings next time.

The 18 MM lens shots above look good, but the composition isn’t great. I like the one with the 2:05 exposure better, but will go back again and get a better shot using a 2:30 exposure. That should work out nicely.

A great learning experience. I can’t wait to go back and stage the backyard a bit and then nail these photos!

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One thought on “A Beautiful Southern California Pool at Night”

Looks great! I don’t see the grain at all. Did you do some noise reduction in post? Also, what aperture were you at? Judging by the starburst light effects, I’m guessing you went with a bigger number to keep everything in focus? Maybe cheating by a stop might have made everything less noisy in the alotted time.

The best thing about long exposures in cases like this: That silky smooth look the water gets. Check out those waterfalls! The reflections look great on the pool AND you can see all the way through to the floor of the pool.

You might also be able to cheat the highlights slide down a little bit to minimize some of the blown out spots, but those are lost for the most part. Nothing you can do about that, short of HDR. Oooh, this is a PERFECT candidate for HDR photography. 😉

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Jonah Weiland

Jonah Weiland

Entrepreneur & founder/former owner CBR.com. World traveler. Photographer. Electric Car Enthusiast. Clippers fan. LA native. Dog owner. Home base: Los Angeles

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