The Nights Watch

Night photography of a statue in the streets of Horta, Faial Island, Açores, Portugal.

Night photography of a statue in the rainy streets of Horta, Faial Island, Açores, Portugal.

One night while I was exploring the streets of Horta, I came across this statue and took 3 bracketed shots with my Canon EOS600D (EF50mm f/1.8 II lens) at f/1.8, ISO 100. Now, three years later, I finally sat down and processed the images. It took me a while, but I like the results so it was worth the wait. I decided to make two versions, in the second one I added a small touch of blur and darkened a few parts. If you look at the walls, you can see how the forces of nature has been wearing and tearing on these buildings during the years. Here are both the photos in a gallery, which version do you prefer?

Would night photographing during the middle of the night, alone in an unknown city, get your adrenalin pumping? I can assure you that Horta was a quiet and safe place, but if you want to see adrenaline related shots you can always visit Paula’s challenge:


30 thoughts on “The Nights Watch

  1. First of all thank you for linking to adrenalin post :), second – I love your HDR in all versions. Today I like V1 a bit more, but that can change tomorrow. Your capture makes the street look almost like a model and I know you did not intend it that way, but it is cool. That sculpture looks huge 🙂

    • Yeah, it was pretty large. If you compare it to the building on the right side of the photo, you can see that it’s huge. That’s why the street looks like a model next to it, so I’d say a pretty impressive size.

      • Whoever it is, I bet he deserves a statue of such grandeur. The photo I posted tonight was shot at Orta (without H) in Italy, but still it’s funny, isn’t it.

  2. Pingback: Thursday’s Special: Adrenalin (response to guest challenge) | Lost in Translation

  3. The red post box to the left of the statue could be in England. I wonder how it came to be on an island in the middle of the Atlantic?

    For the photos, I prefer the left one because it meets my semi-conscious expectations. My eye is drawn to the light on the side of the building because it is the lightest area of the frame – so I expect that to be sharp.

    In terms of depth of focus, the blurred building is between the statue and the buildings further back on the left – so there’s a disconnect from reality, because one would not normally have sharp areas both in front of and behind a blurred area. I know that is a technical answer rather than artistic, but it’s what strikes me.

    • Thanks David. I love feedback like this – it helps me to improve my techniques and see things that I didn’t notice when working on the photos. Your feedback is highly appreciated.

  4. Two very nice versions. Hard to choose, but I like the left one a tad more as I was quite interested to see the wear and tear of the building. As David said, my eyes are drawn to light so I would prefer seeing a sharper building.

    Three years to process… Don’t blame you. Sometimes I go out and take photos, and it will be weeks if not months before I load it onto my computer and have a look. Life gets in the way sometimes. Hope you’re well, Cardinal, and settled down from moving.

  5. I prefer version 1. But 2 is also great. The first one let me appreciate the facades and, even though I love blurry images, they are the first thing I’ve looked at when I saw the picture 😉
    Is that the reason you decided to go for a second version? To give more importance to the statue?
    Have a nice weekend xx

  6. Photography at night is fantastic! I am thinking of visiting Lisbon, I have never been in Portugal! Wondering those streets at night seem great, especially if you finish it of with some nice drinks 🙂

    To answer your question: I prefer the shot on the left, it seems to have a little more detail, what I like.

    Have a great Sunday!

    Kind regards,

  7. interesting perspective – nature influences us at many levels – from the smallest particle – to protons all the way up… have a wonderful week.

  8. At first glance I thought I like the photo wonderfully well, and couldn’t see why you wanted to mess with it. But when I look at the end result in close up, I have to admit I like the atmosphere you create. Small victory for you, Cardinal 🙂

  9. I prefer the clarity of the first shot but the darkness you added to the second. I would love to have been there at that time of day!

    • Yes it’s a little bit more darkness and contrast in the second one. Thanks for the valid feedback Emilio.
      Night time is my favorite time to photograph, but normally I’m asleep & resting to get ready for work the next day (like most people).

  10. Much prefer the 1st version if only because my dodgy eyes bounced off the blur of the 2nd looking for the clarity. Totally with you on the fun of night shooting and nothing better than being out wandering the city in the middle of the night.

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