Advertising Tram by Moonlight in Dublin.
I was waiting to catch Dublin’s LUAS from Heuston Station to the city centre last Saturday evening (20 July 2013) when I spotted this advertising tram outbound.
I grabbed my Lumix, set it for ‘Aperture Priority’ (the ‘A’ on the top dial) and dialed in a 1/3-exposure override to compensate for the inadequate contrast ratio caused by sodium vapor streetlights against a dark sky.
As explained in earlier posts (click here), many camera meters expect daylight-type situations, and thus calculate exposure based on these parameters and this tends to result in under exposure of nighttime scenes. Since the camera meter doesn’t know what the scene looks like, it is important to make the adjustment manually.
I’ve found from past experience that a 1/3 to 2/3s stop override (in other words + 1/3 or 2/3s in the exposure menu) general provides the necessary compensation. Another alternative is to make a test photo and then expose manually based on the histogram output. This required more time than I had, so I went for the easy solution.
I faced another problem. No tripod. So, I relied on my fall back alternative of placing the camera on the ground while propping up the lens with my spare Lumix battery. This has the secondary effect of providing an unusually dramatic angle.
One last complication: I had only one exposure left on the camera’s card! I knew this and so had to get it right with one try. The tram only stopped long enough for me to make that one exposure anyway.
It was nearly a full moon, which gave me a little bit extra skylight. If I’d had more time and more exposures, I may have made a second photo with a 2/3s exposure override. But that’s a minor point. Hopefully, I have another opportunity to photograph this unusual tram. Perhaps next time in daylight