When it comes to travel photography, evening and night scenes are full of picturesque moments waiting to be captured. With the D750’s enhanced performance, high-quality photos of such moments are made possible. Even so, how do professional photographers capture such scenes in the midst of ever-changing light? In this article, I will explain the times of the day to aim for, along with some tips. (Reported by: Koji Ueda)
AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR/ Aperture-priority Auto (f/5.6, 4 sec, EV +0.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: Shade
About 20 to 30 minutes before sunset, the sun starts setting in the horizon, and the sky will probably start turning red. As I mentioned at the beginning, you can readily find the time of sunset of your location online, and use it as a reference.
In any case, time is important when shooting sunsets. A 5-minute difference can result in a scene that has a very different atmosphere. Hence, I recommend going in advance to the location where you want to do the shoot, so that you can check the conditions there such as the direction where the sun sets. Once you have properly determined the time and location, you should be able to produce a dramatic finish for your photos.
To capture the evening scenery even more impressively, emphasize the warm colours by setting the white balance to Shade, or a similar setting.
You can set the white balance by pressing the [MENU] button, selecting [White balance] and using the multi selector to choose your preferred white balance setting. For a shortcut, you can also press the [WB] button on the rear of the D750 body and rotate the main command dial with your right thumb to display the setting you want.
The white balance setting "Shade" was originally intended to be used in scenes with shade during the daytime, to suppress the blueness of the subject in the image. In other words, it enables you to increase the redness in the photo as a whole.
AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G/ Aperture-priority Auto (f/5.3, 1/100 sec, EV-1)/ ISO auto (ISO 220)/ WB: Cloudy
The golden hour may appear immediately after sunset. Of course, the streets and townscapes can help you achieve a stylish photography, but it is also important to pay attention to the details in the sky. Furthermore, in addition to watching your placement of elements such as man-made structures and clouds, you should also include subjects unique to that place in the frame. This photo was taken in Venice, Italy. By placing the silhouettes of Venice's famous gondolas in the image, the location becomes instantly recognisable. I set the white balance to "Cloudy" so as to properly bring out the redness of the sky. It is also important to master exposure compensation. As a general rule of thumb, try decreasing the exposure compensation if you want to bring out the colour of the sky.
In the period of time immediately after sunset, when there is little colour, I recommend emphasizing the redness to create a visually impressive image. Setting the white balance to "Cloudy" enables you to further emphasize the remaining redness in the sky. I recommend using this setting in combination with negative exposure compensation.
AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED/ Aperture-priority Auto (f/7.1, 5 sec, EV+0.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: Direct sunlight
A short while after the golden hour ends at sunset, the time referred to as the blue hour begins. The sky turns blue and is a very impressive sight. This occurs roughly about 30 minutes after sunset, but the actual timing differs depending on factors such as the season and latitude where the city is located. However, the blue hour only lasts about 20 minutes, so it will go by in the blink of an eye. Urban landscapes can be captured very impressively if taken during this blue hour, so rather than rushing to end your shoot soon after sunset, I recommend that you stay on and aim to shoot during the blue hour, too. However, do note that the blue will not be very beautiful on cloudy or rainy days, and days when the air is not clear. If you want to capture the blue hour beautifully, set the white balance to "Direct sunlight".
Use the white balance setting "Direct sunlight" if you are shooting under sunlight, and to produce colours as you see them. While this setting reproduces images faithfully, a little redness remains, allowing you to express a rich-toned blue hour.
AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G/ Aperture-priority Auto (f/5.6, 4 sec, EV+0.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: Incandescent
When capturing office buildings and other skyscrapers, colour is important. Bringing out colour can become difficult particularly if the sun has set completely. However, in such situations, you can dramatically change the look of your photo simply by changing the white balance setting. For a stylish look, I recommend using cool colours. In the example photo, I set the white balance to "Incandescent" to emphasize the blueness so as to express the coolness of the city. Of course, remember to pay close attention to horizontality when you photograph the buildings.
The white balance setting "Incandescent" was originally intended to suppress red fogging when shooting in red light under a light bulb. In other words, for other light sources, the photo as a whole turns blue. I recommend this setting when you want to make your images appear cooler toned.
Born in Hiroshima in 1982. He studied in San Francisco, USA, and produced works for TV programmes, commercials, short films, and so on. He developed an interest in portrait photography after purchasing a DSLR camera, and aimed to become a professional photographer. After returning to Japan he started working as a professional photographer. He currently contributes to digital camera magazines as well as other magazines and websites.