Middle left stick

Calculator stick

As light fades at the end of the day, buildings and other architectural structures are lit is more interesting and even dramatic fashion. Photography is all about light, so never turn down the opportunity to photograph architecture in good light. At this interesting time of day the light changes rapidly, so it is important to plan the viewpoint and approach well in advance. Otherwise the key moment may be lost.

As the sun sets, lights arre normally turned on inside buildings and their appearance changes completely. During the so-called blue hour that follows sunset the sky may turn a rich and deep blue to contrast with the yellowish glow of the lights. This is an excellent time to work because at some point the buildings and structures require the same exposure as the sky.

After dark, much of the external detail of a structure is lost but the lights add wonderful colours and interest. Use a tripod and a very slow shutter speed and ISO setting to capture dramatic effects. In some cases, buildings and monuments are floodlit after dark with lights carefully placed to reveal a structure at its best. Remain patient and watch the darkening skies for an extended period of time. It is often the case that other photographers depart once they have a satisfactory image, and consequently miss the best moments. Try to avoid lights that are directed towards the lens of the camera because they will cause undesirable flare.

Buildings lit by tungsten or sodium vapour lights tend to take on a yellowish colour, whereas mercury vapour lighting produces a more blue or green effect. These unusual colour casts can be very effective and may be modified to some extent by the choice of white balance and in post-capture processing. Exposure is normally easy to set using spot metering because traditional building materials are close to the mid-tones for which exposure meters are calibrated. A direct spot reading can therefore be taken from a lit area of the subject. Shoot in RAW mode to allow the maximum amount of adjustment at a later stage, and bracket one or two stops either side of the metered reading if any doubt exists.


Please Support OPS

Donate using PayPal
Go to top