This finished photograph from Pier 7 in San Francisco is not exactly how I hoped the image would turn out. More than anything, the sheer number of lights on the pier becomes a bit distracting and contrasts with the clean uniform lines of the buildings and even the lights from the buildings. Maybe it is the lack of fog or clouds, the top portion of the photo looks empty compared to the bottom.
Perhaps this is why some of the best pier light photographs I have seen are taken during the blue hour, when the sun has gone down (or not quite up yet) and blue light dominates the skies. During those times, the pier lights are illuminated but do not overwhelm the image.
I set the ISO at 200 for this image to keep the shutter speed at around 1 minute. The aperture was set at f/22 to capture the star effect from the pier lamps. With pedestrians walking along the wooden pier, I wanted to reduce the chance of someone’s footsteps introducing camera shake into the image.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted metering mode, ISO 200, 55mm, f/22, 59 sec
San Francisco, Pier 7, Lights, Transamerica Building, Long Exposure. San Francisco, CA. November 10, 2013. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.