Downtown Glendale After Dark in HDR

I decided to do something different this evening and try some night photography. But I didn’t want to shoot anything with lots of neon and color.  I wanted something more basic with a hometown feel, so I decided on downtown Glendale.  I talked Andy into going with me (with a promise of dinner), and we arrived at Murphy Park about 7:00PM, which is the heart of historic Glendale.  The park features a library at its center, and then the square around the park is lined with antique stores, a Taekwondo studio, a restaurant or two, some vacant space, a bank and civic buildings.  The surrounding streets have more of the same.

The streets are lit with reproduction antique lamps which give a very golden glow, but the buildings are most often lit with bulbs that are more on the bluish side.  It made for some interesting white balance challenges.  When we got there, I attached my camera to the tripod and we just started strolling around the square, stopping here and there to take series of bracketed shots.  I did remember that I should check my ISO setting, but I was disappointed to find that my camera will only go down to ISO 200.  So much for using ISO 100 for night shots on a tripod. I used a small aperture (high f-stop) to get more depth of field, so my shutter speeds were quite long.  During several of the +2.0 overexposure shots, the shutter was open at least 30-40 seconds–during one shot, three girls walked right through my shot, but of course they didn’t show up.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look:

Light Circles HDR

This is an HDR of three bracketed shots.  As I said, there is no sign of the three girls that walked through my camera range during the third shot.  Andy was so sure that the exposure would be ruined, and he couldn’t believe his eyes when I showed him the replay in the LCD on the camera and they were nowhere to be seen.  Isn’t light a wonderful thing?

I came away with 51 shots (17 series of three).  I was anxious to see what I had so I went ahead and processed the one above.  I used Photomatix to generate the HDR and tone-mapped it, and then I used Paintshop Pro to do some slight cropping, sharpening, and a little contrast adjustment–nothing major.  I’ll work on the others over the weekend.  Let me know what you think of the light circles!

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