A little Prep and a little Luck – Auckland City Night Photography

Driving over the Auckland Harbour Bridge in the evening I looked out across the harbour at the city and decided that I was going to takes some photos of the city again. It has been about a year since I photographed it last, and this time I wanted to get a nice panorama that Professional Photos could sell prints of, or use for stock art. The problem was that the water was not calm and it was rather windy so there were no real reflections.

I went out to dinner and after dinner I noticed that the wind had died down and it was still, so I asked if it was ok to go for a drive to see if there were now good reflections in the harbour. It seems that we were not in a hurry to be anywhere else, so off we went to a spot that I had already picked out. To our surprise the harbour was perfect although it was just a little later than I was wanting to it be, and the last of the evening light was almost gone.

I quickly set up my tripod and started to frame shots. I shot in manual and used the long exposure noise reduction in the camera. The tripod was needed to steady the camera as I was photographing with a slow shutter speed and getting some great photos.

Auckland City Panorama

It was great to have some company on the evening and a big thanks to my assistant who was entertaining and helpful. Raaaaww!

It works out that timing is everything and so is a bit of luck. I guess if you are prepared and you have a good idea of what you want to achieve with your photos, you can strike it lucky more often than if you leave it to chance.

Auckland City Reflections

Within 20 or so minutes of arriving at the spot, the wind came back up and the reflections were gone for the evening. If I took longer to set up or I was not fully prepared, I would have missed the shot…

Auckland city no reflections

No real reflections visible due to wind ^

I was so lucky and I hope you enjoy the panorama photograph. Also get out there and try your hand at night photography for yourself. Read up on it or scout through youtube for some tips, get a tripod and then go for it!

Technical Stuff

Firstly I was shooting at ISO 100 as there was quite a bit of light coming off the city. I was shooting at a shutterspeed of about 25 to 30 seconds so the camera was tripod mounted. Also as extra precautions, the shutter was released using the self timer and the mirror lock was on. I was shooting at f8 to f11 as I was wanting to get well detailed shots and I was not at either extreme of the zoom lens so that I was photographing through the best parts of the glass.

White balance settings comparison

Don’t forget to look at your white balance settings. Auto white balance does not always get it right and though you can always change the balance later in post production, it is nice to see what effect it might have on your photos straight from the camera. Above is a comparison selection of different white balance settings that I used on the evening.



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