Outdoors at night

The pictures used for this activity were taken in Florence, Sorrento and the last few, London, just coming up to Christmas.   The exercise in introduced by saying that the aim is to explore the variety of different lighting effects and colours and it certainly did make me think about something that I usually take for granted.

Floodlight building in Florence

I would have assumed, going by the text, that the buildings in the first two pictures would be lit by vapour discharge lamps but I’m not sure this is the case because I would have expected more of a yellow or yellow/green tinge.

Florence Duomo at night

Of these  two pictures, I can see what is meant by the advantages of having just a little natural light left in the sky.  I took several shots of the Duomo both in the evening and early morning and those with a little natural light were by far the best.  In each case I used a tripod and a remote cable release.

Cruise ship docked in the bay

The ship was quite tricky to shoot.  Again, I took several shots, all with the camera mounted on a tripod.  I needed a high ISO and a long exposure to get enough light but the problem with a ship sitting in water is that it moves, so it was difficult getting an image that was sharp.  With hindsight it might have been better with a larger aperture and an even higher ISO so that I could have reduced the exposure time. Another lesson learnt!.

Vesuvius at night

The ‘Vesuvius’ picture is an example of where a little light in the sky would have made all the difference.  If you look closely on a full screen, you can just about see Vesuvius behind the lights.  I imagine the lights here are a mix of incandescent and fluorescent from the buildings in Naples but either way, the darkness of the sky makes it almost impossible to see the volcano.

Regents Street at Christmas

Despite searching the internet, I have not been able to find out what type of lighting is used for outdoor Christmas lights or fairground rides.  There is a great deal of detail about the history of Christmas lights but most of the technical information relates to lights used for domestic purposes.   One of the difficulties I found with not knowing the type of lighting used was that I didn’t know which white balance setting to use.  In the main I chose ‘auto’ and that usually produced acceptable results.

Christmas fairground

Christmas lights in Regents street

In each of the photos above I used high ISO settings and in the case of the Christmas lights, the camera was hand held and the setting was the highest available on my camera, i.e. 6400.  Although on close inspection  this does produce some noise, I felt that the results were acceptable and if anything added to the atmosphere.  In any case there was no way that I would have been able to use a tripod in the middle of Regents street at Christmas.  This is another area to be explored further, for example I haven’t really found a suitable opportunity to take pictures involving car headlights and I’d certainly like to go back and re-do some of the shots above.  For now though, time to move on.


About Anne Bryson

I live in Gloucestershire with my husband Iain and West Highland Terrier, Isla. I enjoy golf, photography and my grandchildren, not necessarily in that order! Having completed a 10 week digital photography course with the Open University in 2010, I decided I wanted to take my photography further and enrolled for the Open College of the Arts BA (Hons) starting with 'The Art of Photography' which I enjoyed so much that I went gone on to do Digital Photographic Practice and People and Place. In April 2016 I enrolled on my fourth OCA photography course, Documentary. This blog is my Learning Log for this course.
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