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Photography Question 
Victoria Huntress
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/23/2006
 

Shooting City Lights/Skyline


 
  Boston
Boston
© Victoria Huntress
Miscellaneous Does...
 
 
Hi,
How do you shoot a city skyline at night? I don't know where to start and I don't want to get those "flashes" of light of the lamp post or highway light poles. How do I avoid or get rid of the overpowering lights?
Thanks for any help or advice,
Vicki

6/22/2009 6:28:21 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Flares from streetlights aren't always bad. I usually like them for the atmosphere they give. But if you want to eliminate them totally, you'll have to do your picture taking at a different time than the middle of the night.
Go out just as, or soon after, the sun goes below the horizon. You'll have a small window of time where you can have the red/orange glow of sunset or the deep purple color right afterwards. This will let you balance the ambient light with the street lights and you won't get the flare from the lights.
Too much flare will also depend on the scene. Trying to get the exposure for the building facade can be too long an exposure for any street lights (especially if they are close to you), signs, or the windows in the building. Some skylines or cityscapes don't have very much light shining on the surrounding buildings that you can get in a general one-shot exposure for the whole scene. And it can require some work with Photoshop (dodging and burning), or combining multiple shots of varying exposures so that you can record the exterior of the buildings, the office lights that are on inside the building, and the small areas that are just lit by a lamp post.

6/22/2009 8:55:32 AM

 
Victoria Huntress
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/23/2006
  Thanks Gregory. I will try your suggestions next time I'm in the city. And thanks for giving me the correct terminology - "flares". I'll remember that now.

Take care,
Vicki

6/23/2009 9:12:31 AM

 

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