Canal at Night, St. Petersburg, Russia

Night photo of buildings either side of canal in St. Petersburg, RussiaCanon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series lens @ 70mm ISO 400

Often referred to as the "Venice of the north" St. Petersburg is a very beautiful city. Located on the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, St. Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703. The historic centre of the city has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Great places to visit in and around the city include the Hermitage, Saint Isaacs Cathedral, Palace Square, Church of the Savior on Blood and the Winter Palace.

I made this photo at the end of a long day photographing around town. I was staying in a less than salubrious hotel about a 20 minute walk from Palace Square. My walk back to the hotel passed over several canals, between a 2 and 10 minute walk from the hotel. So, after a quick dinner break, I headed out on a lovely Summer's evening for a night photography session.

The problem was the big difference in brightness between the dark sky and water and the brightly lit buildings. The range was simply beyond what the camera could deal with and, as a consequence, the resulting photo would not have come close to the way I remembered the scene. The solution: a series of individual exposures, in this case at 5, 10 and 20 seconds each, combined into a single composite image on the desktop.

Summer in northern Europe is special indeed. Long days, warm nights and plenty of opportunities for photography. If you decide to take the chance and visit I doubt you'll be disappointed.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru