Cityscapes at Night Part 2

stockxchng-azrieli_s-towers-stock-photo-by-chesnuttNow that we have our kit together and have taken in mind any safety issues; we are ready to take some photographs!  The best thing to capture is the hustle and bustle of the city, looking out for interesting lights. Even at night you still have a point of interest – don’t rely on just the lights to make a picture.  Here are 5 tips to help you get a winning shot.

1.    Experiment with aperture
Different apertures will give you different effects.  Remember you must put your camera onto a tripod in order to get a decent image without a trace of blurring.  Setting your camera to a small aperture means that the image will be sharp and it also creates interesting effects with the lights.  For example, if you want the star burst effect, try setting your aperture to f/32 or equivalent.
2.    Look for movement
Movement and slow shutter speeds mean interesting images and light trails.  Use a tripod and choose aperture priority selecting f/16 for a sharp image.  As long as the area is not too well lit, you should get a decent amount of trail – if not, select a smaller aperture or add a neutral density filter to hold back the light.
3.    Photograph people
People are often out at night in the cities so it’s a great idea to shoot them whilst they are moving around.  A tripod or sturdy surface is useful, and choose a slower shutter speed if you want to capture people moving about. The key to this kind of effect is to have the background or a section of your landscape sharp and static whilst having blurred movements within it so that there is some context.
4.    Look for water
If you are near any rivers or water features, they are normally lit up well.  Look for bridges, as they look stunning at night.  Once again place your camera on a tripod and position it so that the bridge, the water and buildings can be seen; we want interest in the foreground and background.  Choose aperture priority, set at f/16 or more.  Focus on the reflections in the water if you can – they will normally shimmer in the night.
5.    Look for shadows
Remember we are taking photographs at night, so why not look for shadows and interesting silhouettes.  Look for shadows of people walking, of monuments and of buildings as the sun begins to set.  Look for contracts between having objects of people in a shot with a shadow beside it.  Remember to use a tripod again if it’s possible – if not open up the aperture to let more light in and use an image stabilization lens if possible.  Also you can consider using a flash gun although this isn’t ideal because of the harshness it can create.

May 15, 2009

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