For those of you that have read my articles on shooting the natural looking HDR Landscape, forget everything you readâ€¦well almost everythingâ€¦ when it comes to Night Cityscapes. They are a totally different animal in shooting and processing.
Before we get to exposures and processing, first lets look at how we should shoot a night cityscape regardless of if we are shooting HDR or not.
The first part of this is, even though we are shooting a â€œNightâ€ cityscape the best time to shoot one is not at â€œnightâ€ but rather during dusk â€“ the 45 minute period following sunset. During dusk it helps that there is still some light to the sky and may help to separate our subject, the buildings, from the background. It will also allow more light on the buildings so we can see more detail in them that may be lost when we are shooting in total darkness besides the light from building and street lights.
Next, since we know we are shooting with much less light than daylight we know we will need to shoot on a tripod because of longer shutter speeds. Of course we could up our ISO but noise is already a huge problem with night shots we really donâ€™t want to exacerbate it more. So the better choice is a sturdy tripod.