Sydney has one of the most amazing skylines and here it is in all is stunning bliss! Taken just after sunset this blue hour image has a combination of long exposure and layered exposures to achieve an effect which reflects the energy of a city just lighting up. Through long exposure photography I was able to achieve the silky smooth mirrored waters that reflect the brilliant city lights in a very dramatic way. I was sheltered underneath a large fig tree as I took the exposures, some as long as 500 seconds in an attempt to capture all the light. The clouds in the sky are the remnants of a huge storm that passed through and I was hiding underneath an umbrella trying to keep warm. Drips were coming down occasionally still from the leaves above so I protected my camera throughout the exposures. Often passerbys would pop in for a look to see the results as I was right next to the path on milsons point. The old sandstone bricks in the water made for an interesting foreground element as they reflect the sydney that was. Its hard to believe that Sydney city is only a little over 200 years old sometimes.

Editing and shooting:

When I was out shooting this image on location I had a vision in mind and this is very very close to that. As you gain experience in this kind of shooting you learn what does and doesn’t work in situations like this. The use of a 10 stop filter on my Nikkor 14-24mm is the most important aspect of this image as this is how I was able to get the relfections on the silky water. Without this you often can get choppy and messy browned out colours on ocean surfaces, especially at this time of night. I also wanted to create a very large print- 120 inches for the panorama- so it was important to get the focusing right on the city buildings and then sharpen it within my software.

Editing this required some patience but I knew where I wanted to take the image so in essence the progress was very dynamic. I used this software when creating the image and can answer any questions on them below.

– OnOne Photosuite  the complete collection of photo editing software from OnOne

-NIK collection

– Photoshop CC 2015 + Lightroom CC 6

Technical Mumbo Jumbo

  • Camera: Sony A7r
  • Lens: Nikkor 14-24mm
  • Focal Length: 14mm
  • Shutter Speed: 30, 51 and 501 seconds
  • ISO: 100
  • HDR info: Some Luminance masking to bring out the highlights and shadow details
  • Time: 7:59 pm
  • Location: Milsons Point, Sydney Harbour, Australia

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