Rancho Seco Power Plant, Steam, Long Exposure

ISO100, 32mm, f/4.5, 100 sec
Rancho Seco, Sacramento County, CA

This is the kind of  amusement I have at 1:30 in the morning…on a muddy vineyard road…in 30 degree F temperature.  All you need is a tripod and the camera’s ability for long exposure photography (anywhere from a few seconds to virtually any period of time you want in Bulb mode).  100 seconds for this capture.

(click through the image to see more details of what can be captured at night in 700px)

While I do like the entire-facility-on-fire-look, I had hoped for a more distinct smokestack-like cooling towers instead of the 6-8 low side-by-side ones.  The hope was for distinct plumes rising, combining once high enough into the air, and then directionally moving whichever direction the prevailing winds were blowing.  It was not to be.

What is a bit amazing is that under the lowest lower line and between the furthest right two trees is a faint image of a mountain range.  Those are Sierra Nevada mountain range about 50 miles away.  Think about that.  A overcast evening where I am shooting through a well lit industrial facility.  Yet, a long exposure captures enough light from a dark mountain range 50 miles away.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted metering mode, 32mm, ISO 100, 100 sec, f/4.5

Rancho Seco Power Plant, Steam, Long Exposure. December 29, 2012. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.


7 thoughts on “Rancho Seco Power Plant, Steam, Long Exposure

    1. I had to finally go back to the car and retrieve some gloves! When you can no longer feel how cold it is…it’s not so bad. 😉

      Definitely something to do more of in 2013! It is an advantage to NOT have to deal with ND filters for long exposures at night.


      1. For sure, though I’d have little choice but to get out the remote for exposures longer than 30 seconds. I have mostly confined myself, including with an ND filter, to exposures at 30 seconds or less just because it is more convenient. Not enough dedication perhaps. Another thing to work on in 2013.


        1. A cheap wireless remote I have is worth it’s weight in gold, but I also understand the 30 sec or less “rule”. Sometimes I bump the ISO or open up the lens just so I can get it under 30 sec!


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