Shooting at Dusk

Esplanade Evening, originally uploaded by Edward Faulkner.

A couple weeks ago I walked out on the Longfellow Bridge to take advantage of the light around dusk. On any nice day you're likely to meet a few other photographers, because there are some great views. As I arrived I talked to a guy who was packing up his camera, saying that there wasn't any interesting sky today. The sun had indeed already set, and the color was nice but not spectacular. As he left I just chuckled to myself, knowing that some of the best opportunities hadn't even happened yet.

I prefer to shoot about 30 minutes after sunset, when the light in the sky has faded just enough to match the brightness of the city lights. The key is managing dynamic range: no camera can see as wide a range of light and dark as your eyes can see. If I took this shot five minutes earlier, I would have been forced to choose between overexposing the sky and underexposing the city.

This was a 10 second exposure, which helps give a smooth glassy look to the water.

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