I almost threw this image away. I was at Hospitals Point (or is it reef? someone please name this place!) yesterday and started the morning off using a 10-stop B&W ND filter. I decided also to use the iPhone app with the built-in table of exposure times for various ND filters. This exposure called for over 8 minutes, or so I thought. I read the readout wrong and severely underexposed the image. My base exposure was 1 second which actually calculated to a 17 minute exposure! However, my input to the chart was erroneously 1/2 sec. so I set the clock and walked around for 8 minutes while waiting for the Nikon to do its thing. After waiting another eternity for the camera to run the noise reduction process and write to disk I decided I wasn't going to spend all morning waiting for 8 minute exposures so off came the 10-stop and on went the 6-stop. I may be a lazy photographer but I made more images and we can argue if they were better or worse for the shortened exposure.
As I was making more and more long exposers and using the iPhone app for timing I noticed that many, if not all, were underexposed, not a lot but noticeable in the histogram. For some reason the app wasn't giving me enough time. By now I'd recognized my problem of inputting the wrong base time so that was not the problem. Anyway, for the last few frames I just mentally added more time to each exposure and worked with that.
When I got home I popped in the card to the reader and began the longish process of downloading 30 or so images to Lightroom. I made coffee and oatmeal, yum. The first thing I usually do after loading the images is to take a cursory peek and delete all the obviously bad frames; underexposed, blurry, overexposed, pictures of my feet, and so forth. I don't know why but I left this one alone. Either I recognized it was the only one of this composition or that there was enough there to see that it wasn't a total loss (i.e. blacked out). But, for whatever reason, it remained in the catalogue until this morning when I decided to have a look. I didn't expect much but I cranked up the exposure and ran the shadow slider to 100 and was much surprised that what I had was salvageable. A dip in the noise reduction app, a visit ColorEFX, and a few more touches in LR5 and I ended up with an image I'm quite happy to present to you, the reader.
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