Shooting Challenge: 14 Shots Of City Lights

This week's shooting challenge has yielded some of the best submissions I've seen so far -- you'll find a variety of panoramas and superb night-time shots that show off Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, Brisbane, Perth, Las Vegas and Shanghai in an extraordinary way. Be sure to click on each image to see the high-res version.

Tom Shao

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This photo was taken from a friend's jetty. They recently purchased a new property, and I was pleasantly surprised by the view. It was particularly windy that night. I had to weigh down my tripod and I was worried my camera was going to get blow into the river. Not sure if I trust the weather sealing on the D7000 when full submerged :)

D7000 w/ Nikkor 17-55mm 2.8G @23mm f/6.3 @15.0s ISO 320

Danny Allen

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Viva Las Vegas! Shot of the Las Vegas strip taken with a Sony Alpha SLT-A35 camera from the 25th floor of the west tower at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas while covering The Consumer Electronics Show last week. You can see the Fountains of Bellagio firing below (though thankfully you can’t hear the Celine Dion in this photo). Also in frame: Caesars Palace, and the Paris Las Vegas Hotel complete with the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. I still have a hangover.

Stuart Addelsee

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Taken from the cliffs at Kangaroo Point. I was after a slightly different take on the city lights. I first looked for a section of the cityscape that offered a good range of colors. I ditched the tripod and set the camera up to give myself a good exposure time. After that it was a bit of trial and error to get the required effect, I started by initially focusing on the city lights, panning down and focusing out at the same time. Apart from some extra contrast added after this was all created in camera.

Canon 7D|10.0 s|f 1.8|ISO 100|50mm

Chen-Po Sun

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My wife just finished making some awesome ninja iPhone/iPad/MacBook cases and wanted some photos of them for her blog. I had this week's challenge in the back of my mind, so I thought why not kill two birds with one stone and get some shots of ninjas and city lights! We took a walk around Melbourne City looking for a good location and ended up in Chinatown, where we shot the ninjas peering around the bottom of one of the Chinatown entrance arches.

Nikon D7000 with 50mm f/1.4 G lens 1/100 at f/4.0, ISO 1600 Nissin DI-866 in hotshoe at 1/32 power bounced off window camera right

Alex Fagan

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Camera: D90 w/ 10.5mm 2.8 Fisheye Shutter speed: 4sec Aperture: f2.8 ISO: 200 I've been on a bit of a reflection binge lately. The harbour really picks up the color of those huge neon signs that get a bit lost in the florescent dominated skyline. I threw together a simple HDR from one image to separate the skyline from the water and to add a bit of detail to everything. The clouds were moving really quickly and the I wanted to capture the turbulence in the water, so I opted for a quicker exposure, and the HDR kind of ends up faking a greater depth of of field anyway.

Nick Smith

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Darwin is not renowned for its city lights, but it does have some interesting locations. I ended up at the Darwin waterfront and chose to get some reflection off the buildings in a wading pool and artificial beach. Exposure 30 sec ISO-100 f/6.7 Noise Reduction turned off. All taken on my Pentax K200 DSLR with a Sigma 18-50mm short zoom.

Iain Oliphant

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Was walking home from dinner with a few friends on the Swan River in Perth, and just set my camera up on a ledge with a 10-second exposure trying to capture the light reflecting off the river. Ended up with the pitch black path getting illuminated with the ambient light off the city. Taken with an EOS 500D with stock 18-55mm Lens, 10 second exposure, ISO 100.

Ben Vawdrey

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Canon 550d w/ EF-S 18-55 F3.5-5.6 IS II 37mm, f8.0, 30sec stopped down 1.

I'd been to this spot a few times before and used it as a background for photos of friends and my motorbikes. Always loved how with long exposures the water goes all glassy and really reflects the colours of the buildings. I was a bit disappointed Brisbane has been overcast all week, because it's that much nicer on a clear night with the stars shining through. Seemed to work out with the clouds glowing with the lights of the city, giving it all a nice warm feel.

Chris Larson

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Canon 5D Mark II, 40mm, f11, ISO 320, 8.0 seconds, 3 image panoramic.

We are in Sydney for the first time on a five-day trip. On the night we were heading out to the park to get some shots of the city/bridge/opera house, when getting my gear ready to leave, I realised the camera attachment piece had gone missing from my tripod. I decided it was worth still giving it a shot, possibly just finding a spot to set the camera down and move it manually. We arrived at the park, and it just so happened there was a concrete column, about waist height, as one of the park art/information pieces that are fairly common. It was almost exactly where I was planning on putting my tripod, so I set up and took a few sets of shots. I was quite happy with the results, especially under the circumstances.

Daniel Kerr

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I took the shot at sunset of Perth, Western Australia. I wanted to make it look sorta futuristic... I guess.

Sharath Maheshwar

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Image taken using: Canon 5d mk2 17-40 f4.0 L @ 37mm, f13 ISO 100 Exposure Bulb, manual focus, tripod Exposure time 90 seconds

I had this concept of capturing the entire sydney cityscape (for a poster in my room). After searching for locations I got to this spot late last year. I did get a few shots, but the lack of clouds made this rather uninteresting. Also ferries got in the way, and I had to give up after some time. But this gave me valuable information about exposure and the composition -- that would come in handy next time.

When I read the shooting challenge, I immediately knew what I had to do. Went to same spot and decided to do a photomerge of three shots (to get the cityscape) while maintaining a reasonably undistorted image (hence the focal length nearing 50mm was choosen). Started of with ISO 50 but the exposure times were large [nearing 3 minutes] and I could not keep the ferries away. So increased the ISO to 100 and reduced the exposure time to 90 seconds. After timing the shots (to keep the annoying ferries out of the frame), I was able to get three good images.

These were merged and cropped to get the desired size. The clouds bring out the black colors in the buildings that would have been otherwise lost if there weren't any clouds.

Had to wait for 50 minutes as a downpour started just as I got there -- in all it was worth it.

Mark Burban

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I took this twilight image of Melbourne CBD and the Yarra River from the Eureka Towers skydeck using a 5D II and 24-70/2.8 lens on a tripod. This final image is a blended stack of three different images bracketed at 10, 2.5 and 30 second exposures @ f/8, ISO 50.

Dean Bartolotta

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Im back! These Giz shooting challenges seem to be suiting my travel environment perfectly, from the beach to city lights! This week I was in Shanghai for a few days, and it is for sure one of the most lit up cities in the world -- not even the photos do this city justice! On Thursday night my flight was cancelled to the US, which left me and my brother no choice but to go back out into this crazy city again, and so I guess the one extra night here was worth it after producing this shot! It was taken on the 'Bund' side of the river in Shanghai with a Leica M9 and Noctilux F.1, ISO 160 and 1/30's shutter speed. Hope you like it!

Michael Parente

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I took this photo handheld late one afternoon in Brisbane city, looking across the river at the sunset and skyline.

It was my first attempt at a HDR photo. While the light isn't from the city and is from the sunset, I think it still counts!

Canon 60D Sigma 17-70mm lens ISO: 100 Aperture: f/25 Shutter speeds: 1/13, 1/3, 1.3

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