Equipment: EOS 5D Mark III TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II
EXIF: 24mm f/5.6 5.0sec ISO 100
Travel Photography – Cityscape – Warsaw
I conceived this shot of Palace of Culture & Science as my Warsaw Cityscape shot even before I figured out the shooting vantage and the challenges I will face. The shot had to have the Roundabout in the foreground as it would act as a forecourt and would provide, as an element, a perfect balance. The timing had to be the blue hour to provide a contrasting backdrop for the purple illumination of the building. This roundabout needed to have near-complete light trails and needed to look like an oval. And Hotel Metropol’s green neon must provide a leading line for the main subject.
Now that I had conceived it in my imagination, I realised the only vantage available was my room in Hotel Novotel.
- The window glass pane had multiple glares that I needed to handle;
- The lit-up hoarding on the facade of Hotel Metropol was far too bright for a long exposure;
- The angle necessitated that I tilt the camera down and that would lead to distortion; and
- Blue hour is just a 15-minute window and hence I didn’t have much time for experimentation.
Addressing the Challenges:
- I switched off all the lights in the room, meticulously wrapped myself and my camera (mounted on the tripod) in the window curtains and used my hands to cup the areas which were still getting some glare;
- Ensured that I exposed the hoarding just short of complete burnout so as to be able to address this overly bright object by clipping highlights during post-processing;
- Kept the camera level to the ground, used a tilt-shift lens and shifted it down to handle distortion; and
- Systematically exposed frames from 3 seconds to about 8 seconds, narrowing the aperture in slower shutter speeds, to achieve a perfect oval of light trails.
I am obliged nature painted brilliant clouds during the blue hour to further embellish the shot. And, here’s the result I found to my satisfaction.
This little write-up has been posted with a view to help other travel photographers as ‘Travel Photography – Cityscape’ Photography Tip. It has appeared under a regular column called ImageTech in India’s leading Photography Magazine called Classic Imaging.