I set up to do the photo below with a Nikon D810 and the new Nikon 20mm f/1.8 lens taking sequential images over the 30 minute period around sunset that usually yields the best light for a night view. The atmosphere was very clear and the sunset intense causing the overall lighting to have quite an extensive exposure range. To capture the greatest amount of detail under these circumstances I decided to take several images of varying exposures and fuse them later in post processing.
|Download a high res file of this image that is 60% of the original file by clicking here.|
By repeating the image sequence over the period of a half hour, I was later able to choose the exact right exposure sequence that yielded the most dramatic results with the city building lights balanced for the sunset and the light from the city traffic causing blurred streaks to draw attention to the area around the Flatiron Building. Nothing was done to alter or enhance the colors.
The Nikon D810 sensor has such an extensive dynamic range so I decided to experiment with opening the shadows and burning in the highlights on one of the mid-exposures to see the results. As a comparison, you can download a high res sample of the this final file by clicking here. The results are quite impressive for a singly exposure, but a lot of the shadow details were lost to noise when they were opened up.
|These four images taken one stop apart were fused to form the final image.|