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City at night

Click the photo to enlarge, as always

I've become somewhat interested in capturing urban night scenes: the interplay of various lights, and streaming moving lights by the use of SLOW shutter speeds. I've only made a few attempts, and will never make this style of shooting my bread and butter, but no use being a one-trick pony. Trying to become proficient in many styles will probably only make one better at any sort of photographic attempt.

This is a view of downtown Columbus, Ohio, looking from the east. One of the major hurdles to composing large-scale complex images such as this is finding a place to take the photos. Ideally, the photographer will be elevated somewhat, to get above the level of all the street clutter such as signs, traffic lights, parked vehicles, etc. I finally found a decent spot about half a dozen stories up, but even this place has a bit too many distractions in the foreground for my taste, mainly those lofty street lights. I'll be keeping my eye out for other, better vantage points of my fair city.

For shots such as this, a tripod is essential. Shutter speeds are far too slow to even think about hand-holding. The image was made with my Canon 5D Mark III, and Tamron's excellent 70-200mm f/2.8 lens set at a focal length of 95mm. The photo was framed to capture the majority of the city skyscrapers, with multidirectional freeway traffic at the bottom of the image. The white streams are headlights; the red streams taillights. Camera settings were f/18, 30 second exposure, ISO 100. The very small aperture (high f-stop number) causes nearby bright lights - street lamps in this case - to explode into many-pointed finely rayed stars of light.

I look forward to further experimentation with this sort of shooting.


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