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Liffey Lights

By Seany
An attempt at night time photography.
I'm particularly looking for critique and advice on composition, exposure and sharpness.

Exposure: 0.125 sec (1/8)
Aperture: f/3.5
Focal Length: 18 mm
ISO Speed: 1600

Tags: General Dublin Docklands Liffey Sean ocasey bridge

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


EamonnM Plus
9 1 1 Ireland
15 Dec 2008 10:48PM
Ah Dublin's liffey at night from one fellow nikon user to another nice capture, love the various colour lights, bit too dark in bottom right corner of shot and more sharpness would help.

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urdygurdy Plus
9 136 3 United Kingdom
15 Dec 2008 10:48PM
I like the idea, but as the lights are to far away in the distance it almost looks like a huge mass of lights. So you cant really make out anything in the scene apart from ahuge mass of water.

maybe that is a resize problem i aint sure.

The reflection in the dock / water are kinda kool on the left hand side. but then i think there just to much water in the image.

I feel if you sharpen it anymore it will become to noticebale / grainy

Hope my opinion helps & i will be interested to see others opinions here,

15 Dec 2008 11:27PM
Great colours. The ISO is rather high - did you not have a tripod with you? A lower ISO will give better clarity. The composition has some lead in lines which is good, but the cityscape is a bit too far away so it's difficult to make out all the features. As the Great Robert Capa once said "if your pictures aren't good enough, you aren't close enough". Another point to note is that you need a much smaller aperture (F16 or more would do it) to give sharpness all the way through the photo.
andybebbs Plus
9 486 1 England
16 Dec 2008 8:55AM
Nice photo but I would take the same photo on iso 100 and f7 or 8 and just use a longer exposure with the use of a tripod and remote shutter release, It might be worth changing your White balance as well to one of the preset ones for street lights if your camera has it.
I am no expert but give it a go.
OpenEye Plus
12 4 3 United Kingdom
16 Dec 2008 7:27PM
Hi there,
I would have made one of the bridges your main subject, or people crossing a bridge, for while the colours are nice in the image, there is little that grabs you.
Just to expand upon what others have said - for night photography you don't really want to leave home without a tripod, as this will allow you to have long exposures by decreasing the ISO to 100 (and thereby reducing the noise), and reducing the aperture (increasing the f-number) to something that will ensure more of the foreground and background is in focus - f11/f16. It is preferable not to use the absolute extreme settings - f22 or f32 for example as the lens won't perform as well (aberation). Reducing the ISO and reducing your aperture will allow you to have longer exposure times, which then allow you to create more atmosphere - motion blur from the water, people, boats, etc.
If you don't have a tripod you can of course improvise - use the bridge, railings, walls, etc, and instead of a shutter release you can simply use the timer, but this will limit you to a 30sec exposure...but to reduce frustration and disappointment, it's worth investing in the kit Smile
Hope that's of some use - it is quite difficult to create an original and engaging image with urban night photography, so it's a good attempt.
pamelajean Plus
11 1.0k 1984 United Kingdom
16 Dec 2008 7:42PM
Hi, Seany. This looks like an interesting location, ideal for practicing your night shot techniques. You have had some good advice above. I feel you were trying to get too much into one picture, and if you had just taken the part on the left, with those wonderful reflections, it would have looked better. As for composition, I can understand why you tried it like this, to get perspective as well as the reflections, but there is too much blank space in the right foreground. Sharpness has been mentioned, and there is very little definition. A tripod is essential, as is a cable shutter release or self-timer, so that you don't move the camera when depressing the shutter manually. Because it was dark, you probably thought a high ISO was necessary, but with night lights, you only need ISO100. Use a small aperture, starting with f8/11, take a number of shots with different exposure times. Test out longer exposures, try using manual mode, and use bracketing to see the difference. Some night lights are brighter than others. White Balance on tungsten is often recommended for this type of image, but you could also use auto. Try to shoot at dusk when there is some detail and colour still left in the sky. It's mostly trial and error, but a lot of fun. Have a look at Radiant Vista Tutorials/Night Photography.
18 Dec 2008 11:58AM
Many thanks to you all for the comments which I found extremely helpful .

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