Week 8 – Technical: Night Light Landscape2020-08-24T22:01:45+10:00

The theme for this week is Technical: Night Light Landscape

We’re taking a detour this week.  The theme was meant to be ‘technical: one shot’ but that’s just plain boring so I’m mixing it up.

This week your shot needs to be of a city or town at night.  You want to capture the lights and give a sense of scale.

It could be from far away or close up but it’s about the form of the city at night, not the people in it.

As this is a technical challenge here are some articles to read to help you with your shot

If you are using a DSLR or equivalent and can alter ISO, shutter speed etc:

For the phone users out there:

And if you’re really hard core:

This challenge is about exploring the technical limitations of your camera to get the best shot you can of a lit up metropolis.  Post production techniques are allowed.

As always, this is a challenge, not a contest.  Take your best shot and send it through.

Send your shot to photos@iyt.org.au.  Remember to include a description which covers the subject and/or the process.


The many angles and interpretations of the city lights…


This shot was taken after a long day in London. A lovely summer evening, the weather closed in which wasn’t in my plan but has provided some lovely reflection.


Popped out to the Docklands and found this building with an interesting light setup.

I shot it from the ground, but thought it would be even more interesting from above, especially given the shape.

It’s difficult to anticipate what you will see from the air, it’s not until you fly up there that you begin to compose your shot and explore different angles.

I especially like the depth achieved and the texture of tire marks on the road.

Thankfully, there was no wind which made this shot possible. Sometimes photography is all about luck!

Taken with my DJI Mavic Pro.

ISO 100 / 2 second exposure.


Melbourne from Brighton Pier


Really pressed for time this week – as well as mourning my main camera and lens – took to the outdoor area of Eastland shopping centre.

For a sense of scale I decided to frame the 8m tall tree close to the camera (right of the photo) and leave the empty tables for added dimension and scale.
Nikon D90, 18-110 lens @ 18mm, f/13, 8 sec exposure


Bright lights, city views and no injuries!
Thinking about Melbourne’s industrial history, I wanted to show some of both the water and docklands that have shaped the city so I shot this from Holden Dock, which is almost where the Yarra and Maribrynong Rivers meet, looking across Swanson Dock and across to the city. I found it challenging to get an OK focus and lighting in the same shot and have a new respect for those postcard shots of cities at night!


I allowed myself extra time to ride home on Friday night. Because there was a game on at the MCG I went along the river. Got a few pics. But I like this one. I haven’t played with Angel for a little while and it was good to see her again.

Taken with my iPhone.



Here’s my pick for this week – Brisbane from Kangaroo Point. I was playing around with 30s exposures up here and saw the citycat (ferry) about to come through, so I took a guess and dialled down the aperture a bit further and held it open long enough to get the boat through the whole frame. Very pleased that it turned out alright! My manual focus is still a bit soft but I’m learning… I straightened this up a tiny bit but no other post: 103sec, f13, 27mm on my Canon 550D.


With a tripod that wouldn’t screw into the camera, and no remote shutter release I knew my results for this challenge were doomed to be blurry. I decided to embrace the fact I wouldn’t have a crisp image and went to the other extreme. I didn’t bother trying to hold the camera steady to see what would happen. Lots of very average results, but I really like this image – the colours and the composition and the abstract feel. The only adjustment was contrast. The rules didn’t say it had to be a realistic representation!


I have an incredible view of the city from my bedroom. The phone doesn’t take a good shot of it even adjusting settings, so I changed direction and started playing with effects.  I settled for an abstract submission.


Melbourne at night. Taken from the Brighton Middle Pier, Beaconsfield Parade St Kilda in the foreground and Collins St high rises at the back. cloudy over the city.
Taken on Olympus Penlite EPL5 with 40-150mm lens. F9, 15 second exposure. Tripod of course.


Went to Costco at the docklands in Melbourne on Tuesday night. Not cold and no wind. A very calm night. I love the colours reflecting on the water. Etihad stadium just behind the water.


I was pretty nervous about this week’s challenge as my iPhone does not take photos well at night. But I read the link on tips on taking photos at night and I felt a bit more confident.
This photo was taken on my work garden rooftop that overlooks Southbank. The only challenge was the wind but I placed the phone on the rail to steady it whilst taking the shot.
This was the best city landscape photo out of all the ones I took. I added enhancers to help make some of the colours pop. Still learning and having a great time with each challenge.


I took this shot looking towards the city from Williamstown.  It’s the the best view across the bay but the only time it’s accessible late at night is when the Sea Shepard is at dock.  I tried out two techniques I hadn’t used before:

  • Using neutral density filters at night.  This allowed me to slow down the exposure.  It evened out the water which was quite choppy.  I should have adjusted the aperture as well but the cold and the smell of rotting fish guts meant I was rushed.
  • I used Live View to focus.  This meant I could manually focus via the LCD on the back instead of the viewfinder so the focus of the shot was sharper than I usually get as you can zoom in the digital image and the mirror has already moved out of the way of the sensor.  I’ll be using this technique for all long exposure night shots from now on.

I ended up taking shots with different configurations of lens, filters, and exposure time and whittled them down to a handful that I’m happy with.

Details are:

Canon 1100D
45mm focal length
ISO 100 for 30 sec @ f5.6

White balance, clarity, saturation and highlights were all tweaked in Lightroom


A small intimate lane leading up to a couple of not so intimate giants in Melbourne after a night out watching The Book of Mormon. I love the amount light that small single lamp gives off in the lane.


Marvellous Melbourne

From my daughter’s balcony at the Docklands.


I was sorely tempted to skip this week. It was cold. But I drove myself into the city Sunday night and had a bit of a photo drive. I thought I had my photo with this cool street that had dozen different types of lights, until I saw these guys. I much prefer landscapes with people in them. I had a tripod, which meant I could lower the ISO a bit. Still a little too much grain for my liking. I went to JB this weekend and played around with the Sony A7ii… Can’t really justify dropping $3k on a hobby…


I’ll steal your quote for the description:

“Fortune Favours the Brave”


A slightly different take on night lights. The lights that pass us by.

Taken on iPhone. No filters.


This makes for a busy night in a surf town ringed with jungle in Costa Rica.


This was fun to try and capture and definitely outside
my comfort zone – not least as it was a windy and wet night down on the Maribyrnong river. Not a soul in sight so it was a good job I was with my husband and a traveller


My 1st challenge….OMG!! What a hard one!! As I couldn’t get into Melbourne city this week my photo is taken at “Ringwood Town Square” looking back towards Ringwood Railway Station. With some cropping & effect editing this is it…..


Gutted this week as I really couldn’t get out to a suitable place at a suitable time to take a night lit landcape photo. The only positive was that I did read up on how to use my cameras ISO, aperture and shutter speeds to take night lit shots. I had a load of ideas in my head…and was looking forward to trying some out.
But Regretfully however I had to settle with a snapshot from my garden looking out towards the night sky…with a little story to try and envoke some enjoyment from the poorly taken snap in the dark.
So here is a lego stormtrooper about to embark on a trip alone to join the empire that he’s been brainwashed to believe can bring order to the galaxy he loves