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02-14-2019, 12:21 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Yeah, standing around in the cold it might just seem black, but a long exposure reveals the remnant light is very blue …
Beautiful shot. That's precisely the magic of it that is revealed by the camera, not seen bare eyes. One of the things I notice here is that the lights make the blue more prominent or vice versa. Two different types of light sources in the same scene: The environement contains a lot of blue, and the points source contain a lot of yellow.

02-14-2019, 01:24 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Beautiful shot. That's precisely the magic of it that is revealed by the camera, not seen bare eyes. One of the things I notice here is that the lights make the blue more prominent or vice versa. Two different types of light sources in the same scene: The environement contains a lot of blue, and the points source contain a lot of yellow.
Thanks, BE. I do like your thread topic, that goes beyond the dull gear talk we often lapse into. (For those that must know, this is the Sigma 35mm Art with a K-30!).

There's a lamp at the end of the pier which is giving that tungsten cast to the pylons closest to the camera.

I think colour's so important to a picture like this that in post I should have warmed up more pylons in the bottom left and corrected back towards blue the ones in the bottom right.

Then I would have had a field of blue, with a balance of a large yellow patch of pylons to the lower left and the smaller grouping of lights in the upper right.

By cheating in software, I'd have created a slightly different photo. Whether it was more likable is debatable, but it would have had more purpose to the colours - no accident.

I did a swimsuit shoot of a girl named Julia. Julia - PentaxForums.com

The first pic is just a candid to show the rapport that we generated - it's not always successful - but the second is the one I really wanted a blue-yellow picture, with a summery retro film vibe that hipsters seem to go for these days.
02-14-2019, 01:26 AM - 2 Likes   #33
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I retrieved that photograph from 5 years ago, taken before sunrise in Venice from the Ponte Rialto. I remember having used a tripod and remote IR to trigger the camera, but none of the images were sharp. I realized that even though the Ponte Rialto was built with stone material, it was constantly moving construction above the swampy grounds of Venice. Nevertheless, the blue rendering still made it an interesting photograph despite the lack of sharpness. We guess the boat moving on the canal as its lights left two tracks over surface of the water.


02-14-2019, 03:01 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I retrieved that photograph from 5 years ago, taken before sunrise in Venice from the Ponte Rialto. I remember having used a tripod and remote IR to trigger the camera, but none of the images were sharp. I realized that even though the Ponte Rialto was built with stone material, it was constantly moving construction above the swampy grounds of Venice. Nevertheless, the blue rendering still made it an interesting photograph despite the lack of sharpness. We guess the boat moving on the canal as its lights left two tracks over surface of the water.

Timing's everything. If the sky had been black it would have been so empty and uninteresting you'd have to crop.



02-14-2019, 03:39 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Timing's everything. If the sky had been black it would have been so empty and uninteresting you'd have to crop.
I don't know if you are referring to you shot or mine, but I want to say that I have cropped the sky with a 16:9 frame.

Also, when lights are including in the scene, the challenge is to expose for the blue without having the detail of lighted areas blown. In cities the lights switch on below a certain luminosity. After sunset, expose too early and the lights are still off. Exposure later and the dynamic range of the blue relative to lights is too much for the sensor to not clip the lights. Small light spots are a problem for the camera light meter to expose correctly because those light spots are only a small area of the image, thus not weighting much in the histogram (light spots show as far right spikes in the histrogram). I shot at ISO200 and -1ev exp. compensation to avoid that problem, but the light spots were still burns. 2 stops of underexposure may not be enough, maybe 3 or 4 stops underexposure would work.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 02-14-2019 at 03:48 AM.
02-14-2019, 03:50 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I don't know if you are referring to you shot or mine, but I want to say that I have cropped the sky with a 16:9 frame.

Also, when lights are including in the scene, the challenge is to expose for the blue without having the detail of lighted areas blown. In cities the lights switch on below a certain luminosity. After sunset, expose too early and the lights are still off. Exposure later and the dynamic range of the blue relative to lights is too much for the sensor to not clip the lights. Small light spots are a problem for the camera light meter to expose correctly because those light spots are only a small area of the image, thus not weighting much in the histogram (light spots show as far right spikes in the histrogram). I shot at ISO200 and -1ev exp. compensation to avoid that problem, but the light spots were still burns. 2 stops of underexposure may not be enough, maybe 3 or 4 stops underexposure would work.
Sure, but this is landscape photography, so merging one exposure for the sky with another one for the buildings is a common play.

Similar to the problem of shooting fireworks with a town in the foreground.

02-14-2019, 11:53 AM - 1 Like   #37
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Not actually from the blue hour, but it was an hour, and the light is blue?


02-14-2019, 01:45 PM - 2 Likes   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Timing's everything. If the sky had been black it would have been so empty and uninteresting you'd have to crop.
Actually, having a black sky in this particular location is not as bad as you might think. This image was taken in 2005 with my first digital camera (a Canon PowerShot G3). It was taken just before midnight from the same location. Without the illumination from the sky as competition, the reflections of all of the lights along the canal are enhanced and show up in multiple colors. Interestingly enough, the only way to get this effect was to take a shot with the built-in flash turned on. While the flash obviously didn't have an effect on the illumination, it apparently did result in an aperture/shutter speed combination that worked well for the subject matter. It was minimally cropped at the bottom and there was a significant amount of chromatic aberration around the bright lights which I had to get rid of, but I think it was worth the effort. It's actually one of my favorite shots from Venice.

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02-14-2019, 07:54 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by subsea Quote
Actually, having a black sky in this particular location is not as bad as you might think. This image was taken in 2005 with my first digital camera (a Canon PowerShot G3). It was taken just before midnight from the same location. Without the illumination from the sky as competition, the reflections of all of the lights along the canal are enhanced and show up in multiple colors. Interestingly enough, the only way to get this effect was to take a shot with the built-in flash turned on. While the flash obviously didn't have an effect on the illumination, it apparently did result in an aperture/shutter speed combination that worked well for the subject matter. It was minimally cropped at the bottom and there was a significant amount of chromatic aberration around the bright lights which I had to get rid of, but I think it was worth the effort. It's actually one of my favorite shots from Venice.

It must have been a magical time for you, Mark, it was for me and my wife. We'd never pay for a gondola ride again - it was essentially robbery - but do it once? Sure.

Now, the following is of course just opinion.

You were a good husband and father to be eating with your family during the blue hour, but the [Edit] photographers were on that bridge then, rather than midnight, because they didn't want that distracting black empty sky. If you Google image 'Grand Canal Venice', the shots are more like Biz-engineer's, the colours add to the whole (check out the Wikipedia one).

Now, you say that the point of your pic was that the reflections of the lights are outstanding in the dark water - and they are.

So, cropping gives a picture that is now different, we can debate about whether it's better, but it's definitely now more concentrated on those reflections in a beautiful setting.
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Last edited by clackers; 02-15-2019 at 01:04 PM.
02-15-2019, 01:19 AM - 2 Likes   #40
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clackers and Brooke, thank you for your insights. First, a disclaimer: the image that I posted was merely intended to demonstrate that there are potential reasons to look for a dark sky, not to represent a "finished" image. It was one edit from 14 years ago and not necessarily what I would do today. While I don't consider myself to be a "good" photographer, I disagree with clackers' implicit assumption that if you attempt to do something different from what all of the "good" photographers at a location are doing, it somehow makes you something less than a "good" photographer. In fact, on another day, I did take some images during daylight hours and found them to be pretty much similar to most of the images that clackers has described as being available on the web. That being said, while I often find clackers' posts to be interesting and insightful, the edits that clackers made are very dissatisfying to me. In my opinion, these edits have thrown away two items that I consider extremely important for the vision of this scene that I have in my mind's eye. First, you've tossed out the reflections in the lower right side of the original image, which I happen to like. More importantly, you've tossed out the roof line on both sides of the image. In my opinion, both of these are important to help establish a sense of scale and depth in the image. If I was to continue editing this image today, I would, indeed, crop some from the top of the image. However, I would stop short of the roof line and keep some of the black sky above it. To me, your edits have "flattened" the image and removed some essential 3-dimensionality. As you say, it's all a matter of opinion and frankly, I'm glad we all see things differently. It would be pretty boring if we all saw things the same way!

In any event, I always find it instructive to see what others would do with an image and try to figure out why he or she has chosen a particular representation. So thank you for providing an alternative vision.

(By the way, the reason that other photographers weren't on the bridge at midnight could be because it was 28 December, in the middle of the coldest winter felt in Europe in 25 years and the temperature was 26F. Trying to hold a camera still while shivering was an adventure in and of itself!! )

Last edited by subsea; 02-15-2019 at 01:33 AM.
02-15-2019, 02:30 AM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I don't know if you are referring to you shot or mine, but I want to say that I have cropped the sky with a 16:9 frame.

Also, when lights are including in the scene, the challenge is to expose for the blue without having the detail of lighted areas blown. In cities the lights switch on below a certain luminosity. After sunset, expose too early and the lights are still off. Exposure later and the dynamic range of the blue relative to lights is too much for the sensor to not clip the lights. Small light spots are a problem for the camera light meter to expose correctly because those light spots are only a small area of the image, thus not weighting much in the histogram (light spots show as far right spikes in the histrogram). I shot at ISO200 and -1ev exp. compensation to avoid that problem, but the light spots were still burns. 2 stops of underexposure may not be enough, maybe 3 or 4 stops underexposure would work.
Not knowing of this "using two shots one for sky one for buildings" trickery i often use -3EV to keep highlights from blowing. There is a lot of leeway in the shadows (using RAW) to pull back detail if required. I normally shoot manual exposure in this situations and meter of the sky before deciding how much to underexpose
02-15-2019, 03:03 AM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by StephenHampshire Quote
Not knowing of this "using two shots one for sky one for buildings" trickery i often use -3EV to keep highlights from blowing. There is a lot of leeway in the shadows (using RAW) to pull back detail if required. I normally shoot manual exposure in this situations and meter of the sky before deciding how much to underexpose
That's a good idea. I've used the camera in live view mode with high light blinking, then tweaked the exposure compensation to reduce blinking, but I overlooked the light spots (difficult to see on tiny LCD), I should have zoomed in.
02-15-2019, 11:29 AM - 2 Likes   #43
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Another blue exposure from the K-5/DA17-70.
02-15-2019, 01:18 PM - 1 Like   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by subsea Quote
the "good" photographers at a location are doing
No worries, Mark, I've actually removed the phrase 'good' from my post above because it suggested that there weren't any crap photographers on the bridge during blue hour, and that good photographers weren't back on the day trip cruise ships or eating in restaurants. Sorry about that!

QuoteOriginally posted by subsea Quote
In my opinion, these edits have thrown away two items that I consider extremely important for the vision of this scene that I have in my mind's eye. First, you've tossed out the reflections in the lower right side of the original image, which I happen to like. More importantly, you've tossed out the roof line on both sides of the image. In my opinion, both of these are important to help establish a sense of scale and depth in the image.
Yeah, I'm happy to be shown otherwise, but I don't think you can do a crop without going panorama that includes all that without the black sky. Presumably the other pictures you said you took at other times do get the sweep, the bending arc of the river, the convergence of the two rooflines, and interest doesn't just evaporate when looking at the top third of the frame.

The edit I suggested isolates what you said in your post was the highlight of the scene. As Brooke and lots of photo editors point out, you just have to leave out anything that doesn't strengthen the concept of the photo, don't try to 'fit everything in'.

Just to show that what's good for the goose is good for the gander, this is a pic I took the day I got my Sigma 85mm Art, and it's terrible. To try to fit in the buildings, this is the same mistake IMHO, and I've ended up with a black sky and mundane foreground.

It had potential if in the late afternoon there was a great sunset and some attractive joggers ran past, but as it is, IMO this is a dud.


Last edited by clackers; 02-15-2019 at 01:39 PM.
02-15-2019, 01:47 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
No worries, Mark, I've actually removed the phrase 'good' from my post above because it suggested that there weren't any crap photographers on the bridge during blue hour, and that good photographers weren't back on the day trip cruise ships or eating in restaurants. Sorry about that!



Yeah, I'm happy to be shown otherwise, but I don't think you can do a crop without going panorama that includes all that without the black sky. Presumably the other pictures you said you took at other times do get the sweep, the bending arc of the river, the convergence of the two rooflines, and interest doesn't just evaporate when looking at the top third of the frame.

The edit I suggested isolates what you said in your post was the highlight of the scene. As Brooke and lots of photo editors point out, you just have to leave out anything that doesn't strengthen the concept of the photo, don't try to 'fit everything in'.

Just to show that what's good for the goose is good for the gander, this is a pic I took the day I got my Sigma 85mm Art, and it's terrible. To try to fit in the buildings, this is the same mistake IMHO, and I've ended up with a black sky and mundane foreground.

It had potential if in the late afternoon there was a great sunset and some attractive joggers ran past, but as it is, IMO this is a dud.
No problem! We actually stayed in Venice for 3 days, so I had plenty of time to wander around and take pictures at odd hours. As you did, we also paid for a gondola ride, and repeated the experience in 2016. The difference was that the first trip was in the depths of winter with sub-freezing temperatures and the second trip was in the middle of the summer, in 2016. On average, between the 2 trips, we had comfortable temperatures. I will also say the second trip had dramatic overcrowding with all of the day trippers and was no where near as much fun as the first trip during the holiday season. In any event, it's one of my favorite cities and has endless photographic opportunities when you can get away from the crowds. I wanted to take some more pictures from the Rialto but, this time, we literally couldn't get to it because of the crowds.

As for the picture you posted, above, my personal solution would be just to crop by lifting the bottom edge without altering the width, changing the picture aspect ratio to something closer to a pano without actually being one. The only thing you lose is a small amount of reflection in the lower right corner. I've done cropping like that, had the image printed at large size and custom framed it to good effect. I guess I just find the relatively small amount of black sky left when cropping the Venice shot, or in your shot, less objectionable than you do.

Last edited by subsea; 02-15-2019 at 01:55 PM.
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