Sunday, May 4, 2008

Digital Night Photography in Dubai

There are plenty of great opportunities for digital night photography after the sun goes down. Last night, while teaching at Gulf Photo Plus, I took my night photography workshop group from Gulf Photo Plus to the Madinat Jumeirah here in Dubai. The 'Madinat' as most locals call it, is a beautiful shopping location in Dubai next to the Burj Al Arab, the most expensive hotel in the world.

The area is very nicely designed in middle eastern architecture and colorful lighting displays. Eevening is a very popular time for locals and visitors alike to venture out as the hot days give way to warm evening's. The goal of the workshop was to photograph all this great color after the sun has set. When shooting the skyline, consider first the light sources of the scene. You have light outside and inside the buildings and you have the sky. One light source remains constant (the building lights) while the other changes (the sky). When it comes to your exposure, both sources need to be considered.

The key to a successful skyline photo is to capture both the lights and the sky at a proper setting. After the sun has set and the sky darkens, the building light will eventually become brighter than the sky. The best shot comes from a proper balance between sky and foreground lights. The window of time where this balance is perfect is very short, maybe 15 minutes long. To capture this exposure properly, start shooting about 10 minutes after the sun has set and check your lcd. If the sky is to white or bright, wait 5 minutes and try another image. Continue testing and you will reach the point where the sky is balanced nicely with the building lights. When the prime time has passed and the sky darkens, you will get only building lights and no blue sky. Not nearly as exciting! When the sky is to dark look for details such as the stairs and railing with bright lights and blue spotlight from the building roof.
Here are some examples! You can see where the sky is to bright, to dark, and just right!
Gulp that dinner down and go shoot! Ga' night!


shiv said...

thanks for the tip charlie...!

Thess said...

These are amazing photos! I wish I will have the opportunity to also capture them. This shows the difference between what a professional does and what a normal camera user gets. Great work!

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