News and Views from Dave Wilson

Shooting Skylines at Night.

by on Jul.29, 2009, under Photography

Austin Skyline at Dusk

Austin Skyline at Dusk, originally uploaded by David A G Wilson.

I took this shot a couple of weeks ago when Nikki was off in Cincinnati and I managed to squeeze 3 photo shoots into a single week. I was downtown with a couple of fellow photographers from work and we ended up at Auditorium Shores just after sunset. The colours on the water of Lady Bird Lake were superb and the sky was just right for great “night” shots.

Contrary to what you may guess, real night is generally a pretty bad time to try to get skyline photos. since you end up with a completely black sky. The period about 20-40 minutes after sunset is typically the best since the tone of the sky is such that you can get a nice deep blue with the same exposure necessary to expose for the lit windows in the buildings. Too early and the building lights don’t shine, too late and your sky goes black or your lights are blown out.

I did cheat a bit with this one. It’s a 3 shot HDR processed to look as natural as possible. The original middle exposure looked pretty good but by going the HDR route, I had more flexibility to balance the light and dark areas of the image and generate a photograph that I am very happy with.

I used exactly the same technique for the Toronto and Manhattan skyline images below.

Toronto by Night

View From The Top

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