Cappadocia at twilight and beyond

If you get up early enough or stay out late enough, there’s a bit of magic to be photographed in Cappadocia. 

Whether it’s the shining hot air balloons at dawn, the rock formations illuminated by the moon or road-lights, there’s a different side of Cappadocia when the sun’s out. I occasionally armed myself with a tripod (when it was really dark) and set out to capture this side. 

I found a spot from where I could photograph the balloons as they made their ascent, with the lights of the towns of Goreme and Uchisar in the background. Sometimes that’s what it’s all about - finding the right spot and just waiting for things to happen. 

I actually found that spot while coming back to the hotel after off-roading the evening before. I spotted the view above, took a few photos and kept it in mind for the next morning.  

I bought a Lensbaby Composer some time ago and haven’t really used it much, so, I thought I’d experiment a little. I'm still not convinced of its usefulness, but, I am convinced that I should keep experimenting. 

I wanted some photos while the balloons were on the ground. You can’t really get the stuff from the viewpoint I mentioned and things on the ground in one morning. The window of opportunity is not very large.

Once the sun is about to rise, most of the balloons are up and unless you run very fast up a few hills, you’ll miss those shots. 

I went out a few times well after the sun had set. A tripod was needed to set the camera shutter on a pretty long exposure (15 seconds and above). The rock formations in the image above are tinted yellow because of the road lights which were not far. 

I had to set the exposure for almost a minute here. The moon was covered by clouds at this stage, so it was extremely dark. In the past I found it ridiculously frustrating setting focus in such situations with a DSLR. I could not see well enough through the viewfinder to ever really nail the focus.

Somehow my Panasonic GX7 just gets it. Sure it hunts around quite a bit and you have to wait till it shows you what you’ll actually see in the photo, but, amazingly it has always managed to nail the focus. What a great tool the GX7 is for night photography. 

This one is from very, very early in the morning, while the moon was still out. I think it’s the combination of the moon and the far away lights that give the image the tone that it has. 

Same story for this photograph, shot just a few meters away. 

The Phantom DJI 3 claims that it can be like a tripod in the sky for up to 8 seconds when there’s little or no wind. This means that it’s potentially useful for night shots as well. I flew up above the town of Uçisar/Uchisar to see what I could come up with. This shot was made at 1.6 sec, so, not quite 8 seconds, but, as you see, it’s in focus. 

I didn’t necessarily get a blur-free image the first time all the time, so, I’d make sure to shoot at least a couple to give myself more chances of getting a sharp, blur-free image. I’m not sure just how useful the Phantom is for night photography ultimately, as things do get pretty grainy after ISO 800, but, during the early stages of darkness, or under a full moon, I think it can do rather well. 

That’s it for today.