The cityscape image of buildings and city traffic that you see here is from the outer ring road at Bangalore City in India, usually crowded and full of traffic during daytime. The same place at night looks completely different after sunset. The images captured at dusk adds mood and extra dimension to the image.
Here are few things that you might want to consider while capturing cityscape at dusk:
- Capturing cityscape during nightfall requires a sturdy tripod. Read more on Tripod here as Tripod is a must if you want to master low light photography. The free tripod that you get along with the camera is good for your mobile phone or a point and shoot camera and not for your DSLR. I recommend a carbon fiber tripod.
- Wireless or shutter cable release is a must. This is basically to avoid any kind of camera shake. Also, make sure to tie the camera strap to avoid any kind of movement.
- A lens with aperture going up to f2.8 will be helpful. Preferably, use 14-24mm f2.8 lens or 50mm f1.4 lens. Wide aperture will allow more light to enter the sensor and hence better image. Higher aperture will allow less light and your camera will auto increase ISO to compensate when in auto mode. This will only add grains or noise when you do photography at night.
- The first 30-45 minutes after sunset (or golden hours) is the ideal time to capture photos. You can even get some amazing cloudscape that is golden colored and trust me, that looks amazing. Checkout my blog post – Capture Cloud movement using ND Filter to know more.
- The street light (usually the sodium vapor lamp, incandescent) will be a dominant light source during this time. These days (in India) sodium lights are being replaced by the LED lights and you might need to adjust the kelvin value accordingly.
- If it is too dark then make sure, fill the frame with well-lit objects. Indirect light source, long exposure, wide aperture can solve the problem of low light photography without increasing the ISO.
- Capture in RAW format so that you can edit later. Always, prefer the RAW format as it will capture all the colors and can be recovered while editing. If you capture in JPEG which is a compressed format, it cannot be recovered.
- Do not increase the ISO to max unless needed as it might add noise, instead, lower the aperture close to f2.8 or lower and increase the shutter. These days the cameras are good and increasing ISO will not add much noise. Noise will matter only if you want to see images or for professional use. It doesn’t really matter for social media usage.
- While editing, increase the shadows and decrease the highlights. You can do this and recover details from highlights and shadows, provided the image is captured in RAW format.
These are some of the basic rules that you need to follow which are simple, to get the best out of your camera. You need not have an expensive f2.8 lens to capture this. Just practice more to get the best out of your camera. Check out the time-lapse of Bangalore cityscape. Each frame in this time-lapse video is a long exposure shot captured for a certain period of time. Watch the video in HD for better quality.
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