Hey you're the guy I have been seeing leaving comments every where. Thanks for the kind words. Seattle is a great place to shoot but it takes some time getting to know the places to go. I research a lot on the internet. Let me know when you will be here next an I will send you my list of best spots.
Where to start! I guess the settings used to achieve the effect and why you chose them - the technical decision making. I guess it's largely to do with experience. Much of what I'm doing at night is point, guess, shoot. Of course I've been doing that during the day too, and I have noticed that the trial and error approach eventually builds up knowledge.
Anyway, off to buy remote release today - pushing the button, even on a 30" exposure!, seems to cause some shake!
Here is the info for both shots:
1/4 sec - F/4
Exposure Comp: -0.3EV
ISO 200 that is as low as my camera goes but I shoot 100 or 50 with film
The tripod helps with the long exposures. I had a little light out there so I took it down a 3rd of a stop to get the darkness in the captures.
The best thing you can do is review each shot after you take it. What I a saying is playing with the EV is like bracketing. Go for the meter reading and then click up or down until you fine your taste and they click away. THis better than, seeing on the computer and wishing it was darker or lighter. This is an old slide film trick.