Tuesday 3 November 2009

Techniques-New York Nightscape

A few weeks ago i put an image up of New York at night and said that i would give some more details of how it was taken-so now is that time
I had been taken to the New Jersey side of the Hudson river by my wife's uncle and asked if we had time if i could come back and try and shoot the New York Skyline at night, A couple of evenings later we were back, The sun was starting to set and the warm light was reflecting off of the skyscrapers so i quickly set up-Trusty Gitzo 1548 extended to eye level with an Arca Swiss ball head and my Nikon D3 and 24-70 attached, I levelled the tripod and had a double bubble level in the cameras hot shoe so that everything was square and level-most important, I tightened the head down and just had the panning screw loosened so i could shoot right to left or left to right parallel to the opposite shoreline, I attached a remote release and set the camera to Manual mode at F11 (Nothing in the foreground so need for a smaller aperture) @ISO200 and made sure that the white balance wasn't on AWB, I normally have it set to daylight so left it at that, Using manual mode and not AWB is important as i was to shoot a series of images left to right and stitch them together, By using manual mode and having the white balance set all images will be the same and therefore will stitch together seamlessly, I looked through the view finder and panned the scene to determine where i wanted to start and finish , i then took a test shot and adjusted the exposure until i was happy with the histogram, This is where you need to understand what the histogram should look like as i would be shooting in the dark i would mainly have the histogram to the left with a small spike on the right which would be the lights in the buildings etc and very little in the way of mid tones, I started at dusk and caught the lovely reds in the buildings windows and then as time progressed and it got darker i kept an eye on the histogram and adjusted the exposure shooting 5 images across the scene for later processing, The images on the back of the camera looked great and by the time i finished shooting the exposure time was 10 seconds making the water in front of me nice and soft looking highlighting the lights from the buildings, This is the first time i had done this type of photography but like all other photographic work its not difficult as long as you set the camera up correct and understand what to look for on the histogram
I downloaded the images in breezebrowser and picked my favorite sets of five, 1 set at dusk and one at night and stitched them together in PTgui and then adjusted the levels and curves in PS4, Yesterday i popped in to my local camera shop and had the night time image printed out at 36'' wide and it looks stunning and is now framed, It caused quite a stir in the shop as people looked and asked how the image was taken


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