Follow the Bridge to the Glow of the Sunset by tawatts

It’s not often I stay in the city and shoot cityscape scenes. Last night was an exception. I was out driving around, I could see that the clouds were forming nicely, it was going to be another lovely sunset. Problem was I was too far away from any of my usual locations to be able to make it in time to shoot it. I recalled seeing a bridge south of the city of Ottawa that had been recently built. (I used to live in a house about a block north of this a few years ago before the building even started). I knew it would be facing towards the sunset, so I thought I would give it a try and also try to incorporate some long exposure shots to incorporate light trails from the traffic flow going over the bridge.

As soon as I saw the first shot I took show up on the screen on the back of my Nikon D800E, I knew this was going to be a GREAT night! I was not disappointed. I was surprised at the quality of the lighting once nightfall hit. I really like how clean and bright the lighting is on the bridge. It’s a beautiful sharp and start contrast to the warm colours of the sky and the sunset. This scene was captured about 30 minutes after sunset, getting me nicely into the blue hour. (Yes, I know, … I’m still a little bit fixated on the blue hour after my vacation! lol) wink emoticon

As the traffic was flowing back and forth around me, I made sure to leave the shutter open long enough to capture good traffic flow going in both directions across the bridge. I had the camera set in full manual mode, I had focused the camera on a section of the bridge before the sun had set when I first arrived, and I never moved the tripod while I was there. Once the light drops it’s hard to have a pin sharp focus, so I set it to manual and never moved it.

Once I got home, I didn’t really need to do much to this scene at all in post processing. I brought down the highlights, brought the shadows up ever so slightly and added a slight vignette to the over all image. I adjusted the lighting by using three horizontal gradients. First across the very bottom to darken the section closest to me, as it was not very visually interesting. Second I added another gradient to increase the exposure in the sky just above the bridge. Finally, I added a gradient at the very top to drop the exposure, yet bring out the highlights. White-balance was set to daytime for the image. It helped a little bit with the blues, and warmed up the bridge lighting slightly.