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Funchal, Madeira by night

By silver_stoat
Took this photo on holiday but had no tripod, camera sat on a wall and the timer used to activate the shutter to hopefully reduce camera shake, mountainside had low cloud covering the top and giving a eerie glow from the streetlights etc.

Should I play around with the white balance or leave the effect as it is?

Tags: General Landscape and travel

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


NDODS 7 5.1k 125 United Kingdom
31 Jul 2012 7:51AM
A rather serene image, of this most beautiful Island. However there are few things that require some further consideration. I love the rather moody overhanging clouds in the background. As we come down the image, everything seems to be fine, lots of light pollution, however your camera seems to have handled that fairly well. Then in the middle slightly off centre is a huge blob of foliage, which instantly distracts the viewers eye, thus we need to consider our composition. Question your self, "What am I trying to achieve in this image?" If it is a mere holiday 'snap' the that would be fine, however you have entered a 'photograph' so a little more direction is needed. The foreground is in my opinion unwanted garbage, nothing in this area screams out "look at me, I am beautiful?" Again think about your composition. Think about you view point, clearly in this image, you have captured this image from a poor vantage point. If you had the opportunity to take this image again, "where could you have been to get the best possible image?" Finally even though you did position on a wall, there is clear evidence of camera shake or movement caused by the sea breeze which is shown in the large shrub located at the bottom left. Where possible if you are taking a low-light 'photograph' use a Tripod, even if it is only a Gorilla Pod, which is ideal for your style of camera, and travelling around. I shall not rabbit on ant further regarding exposure times etc, as I think that you have got many points to dwell over. I hope I have not disheartened you. Keep firing away, and keep uploading.

Regards Nathan

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31 Jul 2012 10:01AM
Thanks for replying Nathan, it was taken from the patio of a villa we were staying, the foilage in the centre a clump of trees, I must have got used to seeing them I become blind to them Smile I think the next time I need to get highter up the hill behind the camera where there is a place that overlooks the whole city. I need to get some more practice in composition.

pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2023 United Kingdom
31 Jul 2012 12:13PM
I think Nathan has summed it up, Frank. This view has a lot of potential, but not from the vantage point you chose.
The effect is nice, and I think it looks fine as it is. Your camera settings and set-up seem to have worked ok.
Compositionally, the image would benefit from having a little less sky. There are no clouds or anything of interest there, so one third sky and one third land on the vertical would work well here (see Rule of Thirds). To maintain your aspect ratio, you could then crop the left side too, and remove some of the large building there.
Everything in the bottom frame is a distraction to that nice background, and the trees and building are acting as a barrier to the view. I don't think a simple crop to the bottom would help a lot, although it would get rid of the car.
It's a fine memory of Funchal at night taken from your villa. Unfortunately, when I was there, the visit didn't extend into night-time.
NEWMANP 10 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
31 Jul 2012 12:30PM
i too have only seen funchal by daylight but it looked on the face of things a dramatic and moody terrian. oddly from this viewpoint im not picking up the drama that i saw from the cruise liner harbour and the hills look quite tame. i agree you needed to get out and look for a better vantage point from which to shoot.

the Panasonic did well and handled the light well and the aperature although not as small as i would have wanted to use (f11 to f16) has infact rendered most things sharp and produced quite nice starbursts on the brighter lights.

with shots of this nature, i find the best time to shoot is after sunset, but whilst there is still a little residual light in the sky, this adds enormously to the tones in the finished long exposurea nd reduces the overall contrast which as you can see here is attempting to hold detail in the foreground shadows and maintain detail in the brightest lights, something ususally has to give and i think here some of the highligts a little over exposed


id be tempted to crop the car off the bottom to push the eye up to the horizon.
Focus_Man 8 481 631 United Kingdom
1 Aug 2012 8:21AM
Phil makes a point that I was going to do, the view from a cruise liner is superb, we arrived to a rainbow in the sky and left at night with all the harbour lit up and up and on into the mountains. Like you, I didn't take a tripod on the cruise either which makes life difficult. What would make this even more difficult, would be if you flew into Funchal rather than sailed into it, which I somehow feel you did.
What has reduced the viewability of your picture is, as you yourself probably know, the foreground. Hope you enjoyed your holiday.


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