Night shots

jonima

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Oct 1, 2010
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AMSTELVEEN, the Netherlands
Really nice shots of the Centre of Utrecht and the Trajectum Lumen (art lighting).

Was is hard to find the right White Balance???

They look nice colorfull and sharp to me without much noise
:2thumbs:

Johan
 

Hansaplast26

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Oct 18, 2010
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Thanks Johan.
Obviously I was shooting RAW. so no issues in correcting the whitebalance. However I am suffering from a colorblindness that makes it hard for me to recognize reds and greens. So I am looking at every image at least 10 times to overcome the problem. but I also first bump up the saturation quite a bit, which helps me (and probably everyone to determine the right whitebalance).
I also let the camera pick the right whitebalance. most of the time this is not what you want, the wb is probably right, but your brains simple interfere and say its to yellowish with nightshots;-) so for night shots I cool down the image, which is in most applications just sliding down a slider:)

Hans
 

zpierce

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I agree, those are lovely. How did you avoid the starbursts on the lights? Was it close enough to dusk / sunrise that the shutter wasn't too long? What kind of aperture / shutter speeds were you working with?

Great work, thanks for sharing, I wish I had a city subject so lovely to photograph.
 

e.besana

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Apr 16, 2010
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Tarrytown, NY
those are great photos. I havent delved into the night photography yet but I will probably refer back to this thread when I do so. Thanks for sharing!
 

JoeFriday

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Jun 28, 2010
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Milwaukee, WI
Very nice, but not exactly what I expected to see. I used to direct architectural photoshoots for the architecture firm I worked for. I'm sure it's just personal preference, but I always liked my shots to be slightly less exposed in favor of more contrast and shadows, as well as adding more dramatic impact to the light sources. In some of these shots it almost looks more like an overcast day rather than evening.

Not to criticize your results or method. You're doing a great job. I think we just have different expectations.
 

Hansaplast26

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Oct 18, 2010
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JoeFriday. you are absolutely right, some of the pictures are more like an overcast day. but that needs an explanations.

So usually you will get the best results just after sunset. This is because there is still a lot of natural light available. The natural light being available is that much that artificial light will not result in over highlighted 'stars'.

So here is what I did. I just started 20 minutes after sunset. and in some of my early images it is still too light perhaps.

My camera settings were
A - aperature mode
Exposure : -2/3
ISO - 100
F - 5 (at one of the first images it is F3.5, but I thought that F5 would be better)
RAW output

Then I put up my tripod and selected bracketing mode with Auto bracketing 7 set to x 2/3.
So you get 7 images, some of them heavily underexposed, some of them heavily overexposed.

At home I developed the pictures with Capture 1 (but it can be any RAW processor), the picture that was the closest of what you desire you use to determine the white balance. mostly you need to cool down the image, else it is too yellowish. All you do with the raw processor is touch the whitebalance.

After developing the RAW's you have a set of 7 JPEG's. with an HDR tool you merge them together into one (I used Photoshop, under Automate 'Merge HDR' ).
Once I got a 32 bit image I change the exposure, mostly the slider had to go far to the right, so the picture gets darker as photoshop suggestion.


So now you have the picture as it will be, the noise will be reduced to a minimum and many highlights are under your control...

now the fine tuning starts. you will need to convert to 16 bit to apply filters. to make the image appealing you can bring the shadow highlights together with shadow / highlights functions. I was conservative here, as it becomes too artificial quickly. also keep in mind that your contrast drops down when using this function.

Have fun. I want to see your results!!
 

goldenlight

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I am mightily impressed with these and did wonder how you balanced the highlights and shadows so well, but it didn't occur to me that these are HDR. That's good, because it means the effect is subtle and realistic, just how I think it should be. Excellent work, and great examples to aspire to! :smile:
 

Hansaplast26

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I am mightily impressed with these and did wonder how you balanced the highlights and shadows so well, but it didn't occur to me that these are HDR. That's good, because it means the effect is subtle and realistic, just how I think it should be. Excellent work, and great examples to aspire to! :smile:
Thanks! When I read about HDR I thought that the technique was impressive. then i saw some pictures, the pictures were more a prove of to what extreme's hdr's could be used. which is clearly impressive but very often not appealing. i think hdr works for me to balance highlights and shadows, but also to remove noise:)

ideally you want hdr inside the camera. not sure if the current attempts of some manufacturers are serious attempts.
 

walt_tbay

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Ontario, Canada
Thanks! When I read about HDR I thought that the technique was impressive. then i saw some pictures, the pictures were more a prove of to what extreme's hdr's could be used. which is clearly impressive but very often not appealing. i think hdr works for me to balance highlights and shadows, but also to remove noise:)

I feel the same way about HDR. You can get some very nice images by using HDR in a subtle way. I've used the workflow that you've identified, except I usually use "Program mode" (note: when taking multiple exposures, program mode doesn't change the aperture setting, so you maintain the depth of field) and the Photomatix Pro plug-in for Lightroom. Here are some pictures that I've created using this technique.
 

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JoeFriday

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Jun 28, 2010
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Milwaukee, WI
ahhh.. now it makes sense. I also didn't realize these were HDR shots, which is a compliment to your process. I'm not a fan of the unnatural look in most HDR shots. You avoided that in yours, tho.

And you're right in starting your photoshoot about 20 minutes after sunset. That's what my photographers always did, too. My favorite shots from almost all my architectural portfolio were taken then.
 

Hansaplast26

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Oct 18, 2010
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Here in Holland the sunset is really great in the summer as it is very slow. on the other hand in period like these, between summer and winter, it is more difficult to find the right time:)
 
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