Back Modifications (3)
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Salzburg at dawn

By FloKl
This picture is taken from the fortress situated above Salzburg, Austria. It was late dawn, almost night, so lights were turned on, though the sky was still a very dark blue.

My goal was rather simple - I tried to capture the mix of night in the city and (dark) blue sky.

This is one of my first attempts at night photography. I experimented with different exposures and this one, in my opinion, returned the best result. Would be great if you could give me other ideas on how to expose such a scene. That's the reason why I'm posting the original picture without any post-processing here.

The camera was mounted on a tripod of course Smile

Looking forward to hear your suggestions and ideas!

Tags: City Night Salzburg Dawn Landscape and travel


JuBarney Plus
9 33 4 United Kingdom
16 Dec 2014 11:27AM
From the thumbnail it looks like a seascape with a wonky sea so I would crop it just above the mountains as you don't need the bank of clouds.
Lovely shot & POV.

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PhilT2 Plus
10 531 31 England
16 Dec 2014 12:13PM
Great elevation to get an overall view of the city...........however, there is a very strong blue cast which is not too attractive, the image leans to the right and I agree with Ju that the top part of the shot spoils the overall picture.
The mod I have uploaded has been rotated anticlockwise to remove the lean, the blue cast has been reduced by adjusting the colour balance and I have cropped the image at the top. In addition I thought the original was a little dark and I have adjusted levels to increase the lightness and in so doing I have brought out a touch more detail lost in the shadows. Finally a little bit of sharpening has been added to enhance the detail
FloKl 6 73 Austria
16 Dec 2014 1:10PM
thanks for the adjustments!
do you think there is anything i could have done better/different at shooting the pic (except balancing it properly)?
PhilT2 Plus
10 531 31 England
16 Dec 2014 1:42PM
I have little experience in shooting this type of shot but I know that dawn light tends to be quite blue. Your eyes adjust quickly and the light appears to be neutral even though it is not. Your camera records the light as it hits the sensor so you end up with this overall blue tint. If you shoot jpeg and auto white balance the camera will discard "unwanted" colour data and this in turn emphasizes the blue tones as this is the overall tint determined by the camera settings. It is possible (though beyond my practical experience) to set your white balance using a grey card.
Probably the best option is to set the camera to RAW mode. By doing this all the colour information is retained and when you process the image it is simple to adjust the white balance to the most pleasing. You cannot successfully adjust the white balance setting on a jpeg image as the colour information is not fully retained.
So to recap.......the simple option is to shoot RAW and the only downside is the size of the files and the fact that you have to process each image before you have a useable picture.
banehawi Plus
16 2.2k 4149 Canada
16 Dec 2014 1:58PM

Its a decent shot, and you have the basics right for a night shot.

So some tips that may help.

Use a lower ISO. No higher that ISO 200.

Disable VR when on a tripod.

The time of day seems right, - not too dark so you get some colour in the sky.

With a wide angle focal length, when you point the camera up or down, you exaggerate converging verticals. So with this pov, you are shooting down, so verticals al the edges of the frame will not be straight. This is ok once you expect it.

Try a wider focal length.

Manually focus about 1/3 the distance into the frame from where you are.

Try using Aperture priority, and f/9 as you did, and then use exposure compensation to either increase or decrease exposure (you will alter the exppsure time this way)

Shoot in RAW, and in post processing, try different white balance settings for different results.

I uploaded a quick modification of this one.

Hope this is helpful. Practice, experiment, take a lot of shots.


FloKl 6 73 Austria
16 Dec 2014 3:57PM
Cool, thanks for the tips!!

Sometimes it's the simple things that make a shot better (thinking of VR off or lower ISO) Smile
Jasper87 Plus
10 2.5k 158 England
16 Dec 2014 4:29PM
The main problem with 'blue-hour' images is balancing the lights and darks. If you expose for the highlights most of the rest of the scene is very dark. Exposing for the shadows means the highlights get blown (and you cannot retrieve detail from them). I think you've got a reasonable balance on this shot.

It is difficult to say how you personally could do it better, everyone will have their own favourite techniques.

- use a tripod
- Iso 100
- manual exposure with an aperture of f11
- manual focus
- disable image stabilisation
- use live view with exposure simulation and change the shutter speed until the desired result shows on the screen
- use a remote for shutter release (mirror lock is not necessary if using live view)
- shoot in RAW

When processing you can always put detail back into the shadows so I would always expose more for the highlights. Long exposures and low light inevitably leads to noise to some degree therefore use of a de-noise processing is quite often necessary.

dudler Plus
17 1.2k 1679 England
16 Dec 2014 5:26PM
I think I'd suggest exposing fairly fully, and then darken in processing. It actually can give a more natural result...

Willie's right about dropping the ISO - you are using a tripod (or something to keep the camera stable) anyway.

It is often hard to align horizons properly in the dark: get them as right as you can, then straighten in processing, as the three mods have done.
paulbroad 13 131 1289 United Kingdom
16 Dec 2014 5:42PM
Not bad effort but it is slightly soft. Lots of goodcadvuce and I will add some. Even on a tripod you must release the shutter either with a remote release or with the delayed action feature set to either 2 or 10 seconds. Just pressing the shutter button cayses movement.


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