Night Photography in the City of Light

This night time photo of a cobbled street scene in Paris, France is full of nostalgiaLeica M9 camera and Leica 24mm f1.4 ASPH lens. Exposure Details: 1/15 second @ f2.4 ISO 800

Paris is arguably the world's most beautiful city. And Paris, on a warm summer's night, is both beautiful and evocative. A walk through the city, on either side of the Seine, is a peaceful experience offering many opportunities to the adventurous photographer. This is a sophisticated city, full of history.

I made the above image in a side street not far away from Notre Dame Cathedral. I very much liked the dominant warm tonality, reflected from the surrounding buildings onto the cobbled lane way, from the artificial street and shop lighting. I positioned myself to emphasize the diagonal line of the road as it runs through the image. By doing so we have an easy path by which the eye can be transported from foreground through to background.

One of the tricks when photographing under a clear night sky is to concentrate your composition around illuminated areas. Forget about the sky, after dark it'll likely photograph near black. And that's simply a waste of space. Let's face it, within the photographic frame, space is at a premium and, just like the painter's canvas, all areas of the frame need to be accounted for.

Low lying mist or clouds will often be illuminated and reflect light from the city back downwards onto water and help reveal tone and detail in deeply shaded areas. But, as the night in question was clear, the late night sky was very dark and added nothing to the image. That's why its been excluded from the composition.

Whatever the town or city you live in its worthwhile trying your hand at night photography. You might even like to join in on one of my Night Photography in the City of Melbourne workshops. I'II be announcing a new series of these workshops before Christmas. And I offer gift vouchers.      

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru