Until recently it was more or less what I can call a total lockdown in Dubai, the city where I live. Today is a new day & we can leave the house following several guidelines. Hoping that life will go back to normal soon.
I understand that most of us are not used to staying at home & for someone like me & I would dare to say many photographer this was a very unusual situation. What would home office mean for us, cityscape photographers? Tiding up the photo library, going through old images, editing some images, checking online tutorials or browsing what other photographers are sharing online.
After some time, you miss holding the camera & shooting…
And this is where I decided to shoot series of images during different timings from my home balcony. And guess what I was lucky to witness one of the most beautiful sunsets since beginning of 2020.
I must admit, I consider myself lucky that my balcony view is nothing but the Dubai Marina Skyline & not to many angles to shoot. Indeed it’s a great view, yet it doesn’t offer a variety in terms of different composition, but to overcome this one can become creative, when using different lenses & shooting during different timings. I used a wide angle lens as well as a Telephoto lenses to capture as many details as possible and I was shooting during different timing of the day: Golden Hour, Blue Hour & night mode.
When shooting cityscape the timing is the key to achieve best results. So during lockdown the challenge for me was shooting the same topic during different timings.
Day Time: not a bad timing, if you decide to shoot a close up playing with shadows & later convert these shots into black & white. If lucky & there were clouds in the sky, you can use ND filters & long exposure, which will result into a black & white fine art image.
Golden Hour: is a good time for cityscape photography. During early morning & late afternoon the light is softer & the city in my opinion looks more interesting. You can achieve a more dramatic result with clouds in the skies.
Blue Hour: in my opinion this is the best timing to shoot cityscape. Blue Hour can be defined as the period of the day when the color of the sky ranges from blue to dark blue, followed by black sky at night & vice versa during the day. It depends on your geographical location in the world whether you are lucky & the Blue Hour is long or if you live in a region, where it’s quite short, so you to be quite fast when shooting.
Night time: When photographing at night a city or skylines, one of the most critical factors that will impact the image is light metering & to control the highlights in post processing. I usually do multiple exposures & blend several images together in PS.
Last but not least I was quite lucky with the weather, it rained & I was able to capture the lightning along with the skylines, so for this purpose I use a lightning trigger from SkyFinder & I shoot in manual mode.
I recommend that you download the PhotoPills application to check the exact timings of the Blue & Golden Hour according to your location.
Wide Angle vs. Telephoto
When you think of cityscape photography, you likely think of wide angle lenses designed to maximize your field of view and capture the bigger/wider view.
For all my architectural and cityscape images, my favorite lens is the Tilt-Shift, but choosing a wide angle is also a great choice only if you correct the distortions in post production.
When using a Telephoto lens, you can unlock many features and have more freedom in composing, framing on details & getting the maximum out of the scene.
Written by Dany Eid
Dany Eid Bio
Dany Eid is a photographer based in Dubai, UAE. He was born and raised in Lebanon, studied interior design and painting. Years ago he left his home country and became an expat, moving to different countries in the Middle East.
Moving from one city to the other and the big diversity that the Middle East offers along with his passion for travel exploring the world as well as the homesickness to the place where he grew up had a big influence on his photography.
He left his executive career and followed his passion to become a photographer. Dany believes that nothing is better than doing a job that you love & pursuing your dream. He specializes in landscape, cityscape, architectural, corporate & travel photography. He also conducts his own workshops around the world.
See more of Dany’s photography on his website https://danyeidphotography.com