Stellar by Starlight

Here's your scenario: You are assigned to shoot a wedding on a beach. Brief ceremony - about 10 minutes long.

Oh, and did we mention it's at night? With no lights at all? And when we say 'no light' we mean that the bright part of the night sky reads (at ASA 400) f/2.8 at twenty seconds.

The goal: General coverage of the event and one stunning photo.

Matt Adcock gives us the rundown on how a couple of fellow Atlanta wedding photogs handled this nightmare assignment over at


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Blogger Susheel said...

that's a brilliant quick solve while managing to get the ambiance too... but really, there was no other option... nice picture anyway...

June 08, 2007 2:36 AM  
Anonymous esotericsean said...

Their result is absolutely incredible!

June 08, 2007 4:14 AM  
Blogger MRaiford said...

Ohh, man.

I was hoping this wasn't the lighting 102 assignment. I don't have a beach available where I am. I suppose I could drive 4-5 hours to get to one.

I was thinking of those pictures when I saw the post title. Stunning, Absolutely stunning!

June 08, 2007 7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How as he able to achieve a 10 second exposure with no motion blur from anyone in the wedding party? It is a very cool image!

June 08, 2007 8:35 AM  
Blogger Caleb said...

I'm impressed. I had to shoot a wedding in the dark in Mexico once. It was quite a challenge. The results here are quite stunning! I had a few decent images, but nothing as amazing as his.

June 08, 2007 9:41 AM  
Anonymous matt adcock said...

Mark Adams and the entire LaCour team are quite the amazing group of photographers. I LOVE their work and creative ideas!


June 08, 2007 9:46 AM  
Blogger Leann said...

I <3 LaCour images -- they're always so moving and beautiful, but this "lighting an after dark wedding on the beach" shot is nothing short of genius.

On top of that, the FabFour of LaCour are so nice -- they're always willing to hang out and chat like old friends even though we've only met 3 or 4 times.

June 08, 2007 9:50 AM  
Blogger Jürgen said...

This is an excellent example of working under time pressure and added difficulty of no available light. The result is absolutely impressive.

June 08, 2007 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not working for me... too harsh.

June 08, 2007 10:04 AM  
Blogger Mark Adams | LaCour said...


Good question about motion blur. In this particular frame, it just happens that everyone was tanding pretty much completely still for the entire exposure. There's a smidgen of ghosting near the back of the grandmother's (seated) head, so it looks like she must've moved her head up at the very tail end of the exposure. A couple of the other frames I made had quite a bit of motion as people were moving around more. Take a look at one of those frames, which I made earlier than the image included in this blog post: You can see that I was closer to the grandmother and that they were moving more, as well as the woman in pink - it looks like she was actually walking around - but the rest of the people didn't seem to move much. I knew that being closer to the subjects would magnify the smallest bit of motion blur, which is one of the reasons I moved back (plus I liked the composition better) and shot a few more exposures. The photo included in the blog post just seemed to work at the perfect moment when everybody was remarkably still. Hope that helps.

June 08, 2007 11:47 AM  
Blogger Mark Adams | LaCour said...

Also, thank you, Strobist, for noting our photo and it's story on your blog. It was indeed a tough assignment - one of those that really makes you stretch out of your comfort zone.

June 08, 2007 11:51 AM  
Blogger maiike said...

I think they call it "second curtain" magic ? :)

June 08, 2007 11:54 AM  
Blogger Sigivald said...

Why, of course, you'd use a wide-open Noctilux and 3200 speed film and tell everyone not to move very fast.

Nobody's going to move that much in half a second, right?

The photos would be memorable, at least!

June 08, 2007 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Andrew Baber said...

does anyone else find themselves checking strobist almost as obsessively as their cell phone or email?

this is becoming dangerous

June 08, 2007 5:38 PM  
Blogger SoulJah said...

You know, I thought that said 1/10seconds. I'm thinking the underexposing helped in not getting any blur from the guests. And there will be minimal movement anyway.

June 08, 2007 8:54 PM  
Blogger Brock said...

Well, I'm with anonymous up there before me that noted it was "too harsh" for his (or her) taste.

At first blush it looks kind of trick, but the more I look at it the less I like it and for just the reason stated above. To me it looks like someone just blitzed them with a big ol' flash (or in this case, a little ol' flash at 1/1).

Nice save, I'll agree.

June 08, 2007 10:28 PM  
Anonymous John F Abruzzi said...

hi discover this great photographer on flickr ; what you think about his work??

June 09, 2007 11:01 AM  

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