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Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Art History)

By FloKl
I'm about to start a project that I've been thinking about for a few months. It involves several night pictures of prominent buildings in Vienna. This is my first attempt and I kindly ask for ideas and suggestions to improve this picture and my night photography overall.

Initially I wanted to use my 35mm prime but couldn't get the composition I wanted. So unfortunately I had to switch to the 18-140 zoom. Obviously I used a tripod Smile and released the shutter with a 2 second delay. Focus was set to manual and VR was off.
I plan on doing the same shot again soon, but will do so in the blue hour because I'm not entirely happy with the sky.

Thanks a lot for your input!

Tags: Night photography Night Architecture Vienna Architecture and buildings


dark_lord Plus
16 2.6k 684 England
3 Apr 2016 8:54PM
That's a nice building you've captured, and even though I've only been to Vienna briefly you're spoiled for choice.

Your exposure for this is very good. i would try a little less so you've more chance of recovering detail in the very brightest parts, although a few small very bright areas aren't going to be a problem, it's large over-bright areas that'll be a distraction. I see you're shooting RAW so you should be able to extract the detail if it's there.

In my mod I corrected the verticals. As they were slightly off true vertical they don't look right, and with formal classical buildings especially they look better if they are vertical. Certainly for a series of images of buildings it'll look much more impressive if they look 'correct'. Of course, you can exaggerate perspective if you're looking up at a sharp angle.

I also applied some extra sharpening. Sharpness loss may occur when the image is resized. However, this looks more due to capture technique. The central part is looks acceptable but isn't crisp. Possible camera movement due to traffic vibration or wind, so make sure your tripod is sturdy and your camera securely fixed.
You've used a very wide aperture so the lens won't be at it's best and i suspect that has more to do with it than anything else here. I'd consider using f/8 to f/11 for optimum results. Buildings, again, benefit from such a technical approach. Unless you want softened edges, or lensbaby type results, but those are specific desired effects.

If there is a viewpoint where you could see more of the building, that would be great, as the bushes do hide a lot of the interest. One or two would be fine. I'd say they are more of a frustration for composing the image here, they are part of the scene after all, sometimes these things get in our way.

My mod also adds a blue sky (I'm afraid my selection wasn't 100% but the idea was to show what it could look like). Shooting at dusk or just before the sky turns completely black would yield very attractive images and allow a more even exposure as the ambient and artificial light would be more equal.
Of course, if the buildings aren't lit up early enough you have to go with waht you can get. Or you want a black sky, fine.

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dudler Plus
17 1.2k 1679 England
3 Apr 2016 9:40PM
Keith's right about everything he's said. I'll add a difficult bit: I think the dark shapes in the foreground are a touch confusing, and it would be good if you could either shoot from higher up, or from the other side of them.

Looking again, they are bushes, so they may well extend right up to the building. And a higher viewpoint may not be available - though if you can get much further away and shoot with a long lens, that may work well.

There are some odd effects with details at the edge of the sky, most notably, figures on the top right edge of hte building. I wonder how these changed colour to pale blue?
dark_lord Plus
16 2.6k 684 England
3 Apr 2016 10:08PM

Quote:I wonder how these changed colour to pale blue?

A quick and a bit iffy selection I'm afraid Sad A layer mask and higher res image would be slower but more accurate.
pablophotographer 9 1.6k 380
3 Apr 2016 10:16PM
Hallo meine liebe freundin.
I see you have set yourself a gentle goal. Will you be taking these challenges alone? Do you have a friend or two to help you out? It would be ideal if they could have a crane or a lifting platform at your disposal. If not, worry not. You could use a stepladder. One can hold it below firmly and one can make sure nobody would fall on you. Why do I mention the ladder? I think because it would help you like here to avoid shooting from a low viewpoint. The moment you tilt your lens upwards the plane on field does not fall on the sensor as it should thus you have distortions. Compare the height of the building on the left with the height of the building to the right. It looks like it's leaning. Should you have shot this from a meter higher you could have leveled your lens to the building. and help our view skip above the bushes too. I noticed you have used a low ISO of 100 for the job. It is a very low ISO for night Night-time photography unless your camera is planted on the soil. I am sure you could take advantage of ISO200 and possibly ISO400 without having a huge issue with noise. Dark Lord mentions the issue of time and possible wind movement. Try to make your tripod as sturdy as possible by adding some weight on it or try a take during a brighter moment as days have now with the summer time gone bigger. If you have the time to do the shooting during a week of holiday I would advise you to consider the option of renting a tilt and shift lens, especially if no-one can help you with the ladder; don't laugh I know a pro who made his living using a higher perspective than any other photoreporter, so much they had nicknamed him ''Scala''.

FloKl 6 73 Austria
4 Apr 2016 7:42AM
Thanks all for your comments, they are highly appreciated!

As for the higher viewpoint - I walked around for almost half an hour to find a better viewpoint but unfortunately that was the best I was able to do. There just simply is no way of getting higher unless with the use of a platform or ladder (which I don't have at my disposal). There would be higher ground (10 steps or so) on the other side of the building, but then I'd have the statue facing away from me Sad

As for all the other hints and tips - thanks a lot and you can be assured that they will be followed when I retake the shot. If I can take the shot soon I'll post it as a mod.

Thanks again and have a good week!
banehawi Plus
16 2.2k 4150 Canada
4 Apr 2016 2:35PM
Its a nice sharp detailed shot.

Looks like you didnt have the space to move back for the 35mm, shooting at 32mm instead. Its worked quite well.

I realise you shot this in RAW, however, you select a cloudy white balance, which if you left it, or selected it in the raw processing, will cancel any blue that may have been in the sky, making the image rather too yellow.

Also, since you are using a tripod, why not bracket your shots so you can get both a good exposure for dark and for highlights, and combine in post processing?

I have uploaded two mods based on this observation, the second one have corrected verticals, but I would think this is optional rather than required.

btw your old link for flickr doesnt work?


FloKl 6 73 Austria
4 Apr 2016 2:55PM
Hi Willie,

Of course you're right and I should correct white balance in post processing. It's quite obvious that there's too much yellow in my shot. Thanks for pointing it out!

As for the bracketing - I don't really want to get into HDR for my project, but every now and then it might be a good idea to get a few exposures to adjust where neccessary ...

Thanks for your input!
banehawi Plus
16 2.2k 4150 Canada
4 Apr 2016 3:11PM
Bracketing is not HDR, - thats very different. Bracketing is basic photography thats existed since day one, long before HDR.
FloKl 6 73 Austria
9 Apr 2016 12:44PM
Just added modification #4. Tried the shot again this week and the result - as you can see on your own - is a lot better thanks to your ideas, suggestions and input. Thanks again all!!!
dudler Plus
17 1.2k 1679 England
9 Apr 2016 9:35PM
Good work!

It's great to get feedback, espeically when we can see the difference. Thank you.

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