The Shore

The Shore in Leith, Edinburgh. A waterfront area filled with bars and restaurants.

The Shore in Leith, Edinburgh. A waterfront area filled with bars and restaurants.
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3 Comments | Report
mloiz December 17, 2013
Nice shot!
jbartimus December 17, 2013
Wonderful night shot and composition
CLARITA December 19, 2013
Nice one
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Behind The Lens

This photo was taken in the northern part of Edinburgh in Scotland. Its a street called 'The Shore' in a part of town called Leith. Leith used to be a fishing village on the outskirts of Edinburgh but as Edinburgh expanded over the years Leith got swallowed up by it and became just another area of the city.
It was August, about 10pm. Sunset in Edinburgh is always really late in the summers so I had plenty of time to get there in time for the blue hour. I had spent weeks waiting for the right weather conditions to take this shot and in Scotland you can wait a long time to get the exact conditions you want, especially if those conditions include a clear sky!
This image required multiple exposures to balance the sky with the foreground. This was a good alternative to filters in my mind (I didn't own any at the time) and I had a new remote trigger that ran from my iPhone that I had recently bought (triggertrap) so this seemed like a good opportunity to do some messing around with HDR. I also wanted to make sure I got some light trails into the shot and often stacking exposures is the best way to do that.
For this I used an old hamas tripod (I use a Giottos now) Canon 5d Mk II 24 - 105mm L lens trigger trap iphone remote trigger
I've always wanted to take a picture of this street with the buildings reflecting into the water. I think it is one of Edinburgh's more picturesque areas and a pretty well kept secret. I didn't discover this place until I had lived in Scotland for over 3 years, and it blew my mind that such a beautiful area was hidden away by the sea of grey buildings and old victorian tenements in the area. I had this shot in my head (without the bus though) for months, and when the weather turned out to be just right that night I immediately grabbed my gear and headed out. When the bus came rolling down the street I got the idea for the light trails and timed my exposures to coincide with it arriving at the bus stop (it is at the stop in this image).
This is actually an HDR image. I used Photomatix Pro to do the initial HDR blend. I had to be careful to activate the ghosting feature in order to make sure the light trails came through in the final process. Although if it didn't work you can always take the final HDR and all your exposures into photoshop and do a bit of manual blending. The most important setting was to keep the colour saturation around 50%. Too much saturation and make an HDR look overcooked. After that I went into lightroom and did some tweaking. I lowered the saturation some more but this time on selected colours, I kept the deep blue but turned down the reds a little. Added some sharpening and adjusted the exposure slightly.
In my camera bag
The most essential things I always carry no matter what are my canon 5d mkII body, and the 24 - 105mmL lens. This is my one stop solution to almost everything. I love the versatility and the quality of this combination. If I am just out for a walk, being a tourist or somewhere unplanned this is what I have with me. For planned shoots where I actually have a specific image in mind or a set goal, I will also have a remote trigger, tripod and sometimes and additional lens with me. Either my 70 - 200mm 2.8 L or my 15mm fisheye which I more recently acquired. I try to pack as light as possible though, and often stick to just a single lens. This allows me to carry my stuff in a regular backpack instead of a specialised photography bag and helps me keep a lower profile on the streets at night. I try to avoid anything that screams "hey! Im a photographer with really expensive stuff in my bag!". Folks in my city are pretty well aware of camera equipment and what its worth. Best thing, bring a buddy.
Getting the shot you want can sometimes be tricky, and sometimes you wont get it at all, but other opportunities will present themselves which you have to take. Like the bus in this image. You have to be patient, plan ahead and have a specific vision in mind for your image. It seems obvious but dress for the weather. You'd be surprised how cold it can get (even in summer!) when you are standing still by your camera for an hour or more waiting for that one moment that defines your shot. Double check your gear too before you head out. Twice I have had the perfect weather conditions for a particular shot, driven 45 minutes out to my location only to find my battery is still in the charger at home. Luckily twice was the amount of times I needed to learn my lesson! For this particular shot I would add that being a long exposure you must have a tripod. Especially since it was an HDR shot in the end. you can use flat surfaces in a pinch, but when you do multiple exposures and you dont have a tripod you can get very slight movements in the frame between the exposures which can cause you all kinds of problems in post production.

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