Feature Photograph

Night scenes of otherwise boring cityscapes are very popular.  Unfortunately few of the ones I see have enough contrasting compositional elements to keep them interesting.  Many photographers think because they’re photographing pretty lights, or a neat effect like car headlights streaming together, that this is all you need.  It’s not.  You need (as always) dimension, depth, a subject, perhaps a sub-subject, AND pretty lights and neat effects.

Sky Train Construction at Night

In the above image the obvious subject is the ongoing construction on what will one day be a bustling sky train station.  The subject has halogen work lights casting their own color temperature on some massive concrete supports and work trucks and the such, and on a different level you can see the expressway lit by tungsten lights casting a second color temperature with car lights of the same temp streaming together in that blur effect so many enjoy capturing.  Above that scene a small city of buildings with a major hotel individually lit by a third color temperature light.. altogether creating a multi-dimensional scene with several points of interest.  I like this photograph and it’s significant because of the compositional elements, but I have a long way to go before I come close to mastering night landscapes.

Bangkok Night Landscape

This next night scene landscape was captured the same evening.  It has five major compositional elements and four dimensions, perhaps more.  The ¾ moon hangs low over the horizon, in the very left you have a vertical tower with red lights, right below it a small concentrated market area with its lights, and starting in the middle right almost all the way over to the middle left you have two rows of orange(ish) lights which are really the street lights on two major Bangkok Thanon’s.  The yet to be completed sky train intersects the scene diagonally.  It’s not great, perhaps it’s not even good.  But it was thought out and planned and includes as many compositional elements as I thought would go together well.

I love night scene landscapes.  Someday I’d like to do them very well.  It’s not my photography skills I need to improve, if I saw the scene I know I have the skills to properly capture it.  Where I need to develop is my “eye, that part in my brain which allows me to pick out something abstract as unique, that everyone else doesn’t see, and to do this 4-5 times in the same scene with contrasting and interesting elements.  Some people naturally have this ability, some will never have this ability, and most of us, if we want it bad enough, will have to develop it over a long period.  It’s not unusual for me to set and look at a scene for hours before taking out my camera.  People ask what I’m doing.  I tell them I’m “developing..”