Photography Times: Corpus Christi at Night

February 13, 2010

My first obsession with the small quaint city of Corpus Christi was when I watched the Jennifer Lopez starrer – Selena, the biographical movie about the life and career of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez. Selena was a Tejano, Grammy Award winning young music sensation whose promising career came to an abrupt end when she was murdered by her fan club president and friend. She was only 23 when she was murdered in 1995 in Corpus Christi. Not surprisingly, the movie was shot in Corpus Christi.

The city is about 150 miles South of San Antonio, Texas, and about as far from the Mexican border. We stayed at the Radisson, just beside the beach and a five minute walk from World War II ship turned maritime museum USS Lexington. Although we had to settle for a room that didn’t have a direct beachside view despite making a request for it in expedia, there was a good view of the adjacent waters and the shoreline plaza.

As the sun starting sinking down the horizon, I got my tripod out to the balcony and placed it carefully, taking particular effort to retain the water as well as the shoreline buildings within the focus of my 18-105mm lens. The shoreline was still quite a distance than I would have liked it to be, and that had forced me to use the maximum focal of 105mm to ensure I don’t get the traffic on the roads or the people walking on the beach.

As of that moment, it wasn’t completely dark yet, and the night view was still a good hour from springing into its glory. The most difficult part of nighttime photography is to determine how much illumination you want to see in your photos. That would decide how dark the night would be, the contrast of the foreground and in this case, the reflection of the lights in the waters.

The one hour or so in the lead up to the time until the natural light became dark enough for the photo was spent in adjusting the aperture and shutter speed a zillion times trying to work out the right combination that would shoot the picture close to how I had visualized.

Despite all the trials, I still had to take the picture about four times, to ensure it had the right levels of lighting. The fourth one, finally, came pretty close to the image in mind.

Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 105mm
ISO: 800
Shutter: 1/1.3 sec
Camera: Nikon D90

Vidhya is an Independent Artist and a student of New York Institute of Photography. Twitter. Facebook. Facebook Photography Page. LinkedIn.
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