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Town at Night

First photo in the dark. This is my Hometown seafront and was struggling with settings but wanted to try manual.

Living in Bognor Regis,UK there is little in the way of landmarks to capture but this building interested me.

Tags: Road Street Lighting Darkness Seafront Buildings at night Street shot

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banehawi Plus
15 2.1k 4036 Canada
19 Feb 2019 1:57AM
Its quite good, isnt it?

Bet you were amazed how it turned out!

Welcome to EPZ and the critique gallery.

You used exactly the correct mode, - Aperture Priority (Av on Canon), and stay away from Manual mode, forever unless you are shooting in a studio.

Its hazy, - likely since its near the sea, but the atmosphere is nice.

Theres no camera shake at a 3 second exposure, so its likely on a solid support, or youre a statue!

Minor things, - best to have that centre street lampost vertical, so rotate the image, and my mod has a little more contrast, and some space cropped from the left to remove the start of another building. Ti view mods, click that modifications button under your image. This is all post processing work, - what do you use as an image editor for post processing, - it helps if we know that also.

Well done for a first time night shot.



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capto Plus
7 5.8k 12 United Kingdom
19 Feb 2019 10:44AM
A very nice effort. For me the image out of the camera is only the starting point.
In photoshop I cropped, straightened and warmed up the colour. I then added a little dehaze filter and dodged the parts of the building where the street lamps were lighting. These effects can be adjusted to suit your own taste. The best results from post processing will be got from shooting in raw.
dudler Plus
16 947 1520 England
19 Feb 2019 11:11AM
And welcome from me, too, Gary!

I'll second everything Willie's said, and add two things.

First, before you start to use ful manual, take soem time to understand the theory behind it - THIS WEBPAGE sets out the basics. The exposure triangle is probably the single most difficult thing to grasp in photography, and it is really well worth the effort.

For now, though, Aperture priority is a really good way to go (it's what I use 95% of the time), especially if you combine it with using exposure compensation to make things darker or brighter if they don't seem right when you review them on the screen. There's also a tool available to help with this, the histogram - you can alter the review screen so that it shows a histogram for the picture you've just taken. Check it, and retake if things aren't right.

And second, the compositionis pretty good, but i wonder whether you think the railings immediately in front of the camera are a plus or a minus? Would you rather they weren't there? Or do you wish that you could find a way to eliminate them? Or, on the other hand, do they make a vital contribution to the image?
Hi Guys, Thank You for all of your comments. I am so glad to have found this site. Just to be clear I am a complete beginner. I have taken only 60 or 70 photos on this camera which I've had for a fortnight so I felt a bit of a fraud uploading onto a site spoilt with many brilliant photographers such as yourselves. It was my Wife who said go for it.
I have begun studying the triangle and have been beavering away reading books and watching videos to grasp the basics but I have always been a hands on guy who throws themselves in. A throw away the instructions type. Now I am more aware of the basic controls on the camera I am starting to get out there and want to indulge in my passion which is night photography.

For the record I haven't used any editing software on this photo but have Pixllr on my Chromebook at the moment but my intention is to really get used to snapping my images to where I am happy and exit as little as possible.

I was in two minds about the railings myself but they are an integral part of the seafront here in Bognor and I feel give a little direction to the shot. I agree the lamppost being vertical would improve the composition.

Again thank you so much for your time and comments
paulbroad Plus
12 131 1285 United Kingdom
19 Feb 2019 5:49PM
This is probably the best site of it's kind you will find. You can learn a great deal and the trick is t read all the comments and try the advice, but always feel happy with what you are doing. Remember, all comments are personal opinion, especially composition and content based.

Technical issues are another matter and you should master your camera and learn to master two absolute basics without which you cannot progress.....

Get the exposure correct

Get the subject sharp

This is VERY GOOD FIRS EFFORT BY ANY STANDARD. IT IS A TOUCH OVER EXPOSED, AND THAT IS WHY THE IMAGE IS A TOUCH FLAT, LACKNG STRONG BLACKS. (sorry, caught the caps lock) Things need squaring up a bit but you have made a good try. I must ay I tend to use lower ISO for night shots and a tripod. high ISO also reduces contrast giving flatter images. I take reading on auto, set it on manual and take a sot, then view the result and re=shoot after adjustment as needed.

Hi Paul,
Thank You, I am enjoying the learning and comments from yourself and others are adding to that experience.

I am making notes from the comment's received on what to try etc and hopefully over time the info that works for me will come as second nature and give me some more creative confidence.

Thanks Again
pamelajean Plus
13 1.2k 2094 United Kingdom
19 Feb 2019 7:51PM
Welcome to the site, Gary.
Your enthusiasm is coming across, and you will enjoy being out looking for subjects to photograph, some of which you will want to share with others.

You could have leant over those railings and got a cleaner shot of the building, but I do understand why you left them in. A bit of foreground interest is a good thing, and adds depth to an image, but sometimes railings like this can act as a barrier to what you are wanting to capture. In this case, however, the railings don't fall directly in front of the building, and so aren't too much of a barrier or distraction.

With your long exposure, you didn't need such a high ISO. You have quite a few lights there to illuminate the scene. The street lights have become a bit over-exposed. A shorter exposure could have prevented that, but experimentation is the answer. Shoot and check, shoot and check again. You may still get flare from the street lights, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Keep an eye on your White Balance. I see that you left it on Auto for this. With practice, you will find that going through the available white balance settings will usually see you finding one that gives you what you are seeing. You will have a mixture of lights at night. Not only street lights, but also lit shop windows (flourescent), windows of dwellings, neon lights, etc. However, you may like the changes that different white balance settings give to your scene, whether it's reality or not.

When photographing buildings, try to be creative. Don't just shoot the whole of the architecture. This can be ONE of your shots, but the rest could be taken from different angles, and some could be close detail of the character of the architecture. HERE is a little bit of help from EPZ.
A building is static. Move around it, find new perspectives, and approach it as if it were full of life and character. What makes it so interesting? Are there interesting patterns? Is there water nearby that will present interesting reflections? Is there a tree or an archway that could provide a frame for your picture?
Look for ways you can add other elements that are around to your shot.
This kind of thinking makes your photo outing far more interesting and rewarding.

Thank You Pamela very helpful I will put that into practice when I get out this week. To be honest I was concentrating on other settings and didn't consider the white balance setting.

Thanks for your time,
dark_lord Plus
15 2.3k 591 England
19 Feb 2019 8:27PM
Welcome from me too.

Night shots can be fascinating and when I started photography that was one of the subjects I tried.

The railings do add depth. However not having them in shot gives a cleaner look. The thing is to try both, and as Pamela says explore the subject.

White Balance is tricky with night shots because there are so many different light sources of vaying colour temperature. The end result is that nothing is 'correct', rather you need to adjust the settings to find something pleasing.
For example, Willie's mod is perhaps more accurate but Ivor's is more inviting.

Most images benefit from a tweak or two and those in tricky lighting situations need a bit more attention.

Not bad at all though.
Thank You very helpful, Just need to get out and practice, practice, practice. Excited for my next venture out later in the week.

dudler Plus
16 947 1520 England
20 Feb 2019 9:43AM
If all else fails, read the instructions: really, cameras need the same sort of 'quick start' guide that some domestic appliances have, to tell you the stuff you really need to know, without beating you to death with precautions to take in Greenland when there's a Z in the month...

I'm like that, too: it occasionally backfires, but not often. And the most important thing is practice, because it gives you hooks to hang the theory on, and a sense of what the theory is talking about.

Thank you for making this so much of a conversation - that is encouraging for us, and helps tease out more subtle points.

One really helpful thing to do is find someone who knows a lot, and ask them to mentor you. For me, it was Fred Jackson, who ran a small camera shop in Leek when I was a teenager: 100 yards from home to advice!

If you feel flush, you will be able to find someone local who does tuition as a hobby or job - this can be costly, though.

And if you like people, there may be a local camera club that you can join, where you will be among people who love pictures. Clubs vary, but the best of them will be kind and encouraging, and will give you precisely what you need: the worst are... not so good.

There may also be evening classes near you, or sessions at a local venue - I've recently found that the Birmingham Botanical Gardens have one-day DSLR courses a couple of times in the year, and there may be something similar near you.
Hi Dudler,

I have enrolled in a one day DSLR course at the local college in April which will be the next one so I Am looking forward to that.
I have been using the Canon apps in addition to the chunk of a manual which if I'm honest has only about 20 pages or so in English.
Our local library had the DSLR FOR Dummies which I loaned out but I am learning practically rather than swatting through the books at the moment as it is more fun taking shots than reading about them.
If I have got stuck, after a shoot I will have referred to my notes and looked to answers in the books. I enjoy learning so making mistakes is a good thing and as long as I learn from them I will become a better photographer.
All of the helpful advice and comments here are among my notes and I find that having advice and critique on one of my own photos gives me a streamlined set of actions to practice rather than the more general advice covered in books.

Than You for your advice ,
dudler Plus
16 947 1520 England
20 Feb 2019 8:58PM
You've got a lot of enthusiasm, and a logical plan. Mistakes are good when you learn from them. And the pictures are always fun!

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