midway at night

by Peter Menard
(North Bay, Ontario, Canada)

Midway At Night

Midway At Night

Driving by the midway one night I stopped & took a 4.5 second exposure with my G10 trying to capture the colours on the spinning ferris wheel.

In hindsight I am wondering if I couldn't have improved the photo with a better choice of exposure compensation.

To be honest, I think you've done a really good job here!

There is always a difficulty with night shots because of the extremes of light levels - there's the really dark sky and the bright lights all in the same scene.

There are ways around this, but they are complex. What you do is take one exposure for the sky (which will be a long one and will turn the sky deep blue), and then a second one for the lights.

In Photoshop you place the two images over the top of each other, let's say you have the bright lights on top and the blue sky underneath.

Then, using masks, you can punch through the top layer (with the black sky) to reveal the blue sky of the image below it.

This can be done with the same image if it is of good enough quality (usually I'd recommend doing it with a RAW image). If you overexpose the single image (to bring the sky back) and then save it with a different name, you can then use those two images to create the same effect.

If you wanted to go really mad with the Photoshopping you could forget about the blue skied image underneath and replace it with a nice deep sunset. Punch the holes through the black sky on the top image to reveal the sunset beneath. That would look amazing, but clearly isn't how the scene was originally photographed. Post processing like this is a little contentious - I've written my thoughts on post processing here

If I were being critical, and this is a small thing and more down to personal preference than anything else, I would have tried a shorter shutter speed. About half to one second. This would have created the movement in the photo but wouldn't have turned the ferris wheel into a catherine wheel.

All in all though, nice photo - well done!


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