The D850, boasting 45.7-megapixels, is the ideal camera for shooting city nightscapes consisting of different types of structures. In this article, I share some professional techniques on using white balance and the tilting LCD monitor that will transform your usual city nightscapes into stunning images. (Photo and report by Hiroyuki Yamashita)
From historical monuments to modern skyscrapers, one can often find a wide variety of structures in close proximity to each other in the city. This makes for a good opportunity to faithfully depict such an image in as much detail as possible. The D850, which boasts high technical specifications of 45.7-megapixels and a wide range of standard ISO sensitivities, from ISO 64 to ISO 25600, is the perfect D-SLR for photographing nightscapes, delivering precise and smooth depictions of the requisite scene.
A single picture of the Tokyo Station building contains a surprisingly large amount of information, such as the details on the relief of the outer wall, as well as the brickwork. It is worth noting that there is extremely minimal noise captured in photos even with increased ISO sensitivity. Photos of city nightscapes that utilise these specifications are likely to reproduce the subject even more vividly than what is seen with the naked eye.
D850/ AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR/ FL: 40mm/ Manual exposure (f/14, 30sec)/ ISO 32/ WB: 2500K
When photographing light trails of cars, if the white balance is set to "Auto", the image will be affected by street lights, producing a warm orange hue. While there is nothing wrong with that, you can easily create a magical ambience in your photo if you shoot in blue tones at a low colour temperature such as 2500K. As for the shooting location, rather than shooting a straight road, photographing a curved road or busy intersection, and aiming from a position where you can view the scene from a high angle, enhances the sense of three-dimensionality and depth. I would recommend a slow shutter speed to reproduce the light trails of cars to accentuate the nightscape.
In the case of nightscapes, there are various types of artificial lighting that illuminate the environment, such as mercury lamps and sodium lamps, resulting in variations in colour, which tend to bring out the redness of the image as a whole.
D850/ PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED/ FL: 19mm/ Manual exposure (f/8, 4sec)/ ISO 400/ WB: 2500K
When the weather changes, previously familiar landscapes can become completely different. A puddle left behind after the rain stops becomes a mirror in which the surrounding landscape is reflected, revealing a fantastic world. Even after a puddle is formed, the rain may continue, or ripples may form in the water when the wind blows, making it challenging to capture your subject reflected perfectly in a puddle. Try to seize those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments on a still day or when the rain has stopped.
By using live view and positioning the camera at a low angle just above the ground, the landscape is reflected on the surface of the water. Remember to balance the horizontal and vertical axes, and use a tilt-shift lens so that the building will not be distorted in the image. You might want to shoot when the buildings are lit up, but I would recommend shooting after the lights are turned off, with a minimal difference in brightness, something which the D850’s high sensitivity can be relied on to capture.
Aim for a low-angle shot when shooting with a puddle. If the shooting position is at eye level, you will simply get a blurred reflection of the station building in the wet stone pavement. When setting the camera in position, get up close to the surface of the water but do not let the camera touch the water.
Live view is invaluable for shots taken at a low angle. The D850 has a tilting LCD monitor, which makes it easy to check the composition afterwards. Display the electronic level and balance the vertical and horizontal axes on the screen.
Born in 1970. Raised in Kumamoto Prefecture. After resigning from a construction company in Tokyo, he travelled the Australian continent on an off-road bike in 1996. Upon returning to Japan, he was deeply impressed by the works of the photographer Masaaki Aihara, who photographed Australia, and contacted him directly, becoming his assistant. After that experience, he started working as a freelance photographer from 2001 onwards.