View Full Version : Foreground/Background light expsure

01-03-2012, 11:22 AM
I've recently found a location in the city that would make for a great photo, but I'm not totally sure how to achieve it. It's looking down a hill at an outdoor hockey rink with a fantastic view of the city skyline in the background. I want to capture the scene lit up at night.

The problem I'm having is that the bright lights of the foreground (illuminating the rink) are substantially brighter than the duller lights in the background (from CN Tower and skyscrapers). I want to be able to bring out these background lights without totally overexposing the scene on the rink.

I took a few test photos the other night when I drove past. I didn't have a tripod but just took a few snaps to get an idea of what i'm looking for. I plan on going back with a tripod, but would like to have some suggestions from you guys so that I can go into this project with a bit of a plan of attack, rather than just standing around in the cold playing hoping of rate best.

So.. I'm trying to find a way to equally bring out the lights of the background and foreground in this shot. The naked eye picks up both quite well, but I don't know how to make the camera do the same..

Thanks for you recommendations!

01-03-2012, 12:27 PM
One possibility is HDR technique and one is to take two images.One exposure for foreground and one exposed for background.Then combined together in Photoshop.For background you will need really long exposure and maybe can try to cover bottom part of the lens with black paper.Trial and error technique.

01-03-2012, 01:26 PM
vyeko is the man!

2 separate exposures works for me....in fact I see no other practical way in this case IF you also want to get hockey players in the shot without ghosting.
You'll need a tripod and a cable release/self timer.

anyone else have ideas on this?

01-03-2012, 01:53 PM
Nope! Multiple exposures are about the only way to tackle this as far as I'm concerned. I'd do more than two exposures though. I'd want one for the rink lights, one for the rink and players and one for the background. I use Gimp, not photoshop, but put all three images in and create layer masks to blend the result. At least, that's what I'd do.

01-03-2012, 03:04 PM
All are great suggestions. Get the tripod and cable release ready! :-) The more exposures you have - typically the better HDR result you will have. If you are not familiar with HDR, google is a good friend... A fellow here (http://www.stuckincustoms.com/) in the US who goes by the name Stuckincustoms (http://www.stuckincustoms.com/) on flickr is pro at the effect. If you want to see some wonderful pieces that he has done, i would give it a look see.... Maybe you will catch the HDR bug? :-D

Mad Aussie
01-03-2012, 06:53 PM
Multiple exposures is the way to go for sure. I think I'd using 3 at least ... foreground, rink, and city lights. Although the foreground shot may get the city lights well anyway.
I don't think HDR will work well with this at all. Manually blending using layers will do a better job.

01-11-2012, 01:19 PM
Hey thanks guys. I've never done anything with multiple exposures before, but the best part of photography is teaching yourself new things. So I'll read up, do some practicing, and head back out to the rink on the next clear night.

01-11-2012, 01:24 PM
Just so it's clear there is a difference between in camera multiple exposures and what we are talking about here.

in camera multiple exposures refers to getting 2+ images on the same frame so a shot of my head and a shot of the sky on the same frame for a cool effect.

in this case, because the hockey players are moving this technique would not work well.

What we are suggesting is 2-5 SEPARATE exposures of the same scene, on a tripod. These images (or rather parts of these images) are then blended together in a prograpm like Gimp or Photoshop.

Hope tat helps - Marko