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Lights Blown Out in Nighttime Landscape Shots

edited August 2013 Posted in » Nikon D5100 Forum
I set up my camera to take landscape night shots and the lights were completely blown out in a couple of my photos. Also, I'd like to post some pictures for critiques. Just learning!


  • @terrig - Blown out lights are quite common for nighttime landscape shots. The reason for this is because the D5100 has a very limited dynamic range, which makes it very hard to get properly exposed highlights along with well balanced shadows. This effect is pronounced at night, when you have bright lights against a dark sky.

    To combat this, you'll need to utilize exposure compensation. If you're shooting in Aperture priority, you'll need to apply a negative exposure compensation in order to bring down the highlights.

    As far as posting pictures, the best method is first uploading your photos to Flickr, Facebook or Google+ and then linking to the photo by pasting a link in your forum post.

    All the best!
  • edited August 2013
    @Moose, thank you so much! I didn't realize I had to change my aperture in scene mode; told you I was a newbie!

    I uploaded some shots:

    You will see in the description I have said what mode I shot these in. I didn't realize that I needed to change the aperture. After viewing these I would welcome any input as I'm trying to learn!
  • edited August 2013
    Hey Moose, I have a dumb question. I had set my setting to scene and then landscape.. I just downloaded your cheat cards and noticed you're totally doing it manually. I assume that I should try it in the future on the setting you're suggesting for landscape. I don't have a tripod yet, but I assume I should have one for taking shots of the moon over the lake?
    Please respond!
  • edited August 2013
    @terrig - Glad to help! In regards to changing the aperture while using a Scene mode, it's not possible. In order to change the aperture, you'll need to be in Aperture priority (A) or Manual mode (M).

    You can use the built-in scene modes in situations where you don't have a lot of time, however, if you do have a few minutes to setup your camera manually you'll end up with a better shot. I actually just posted my process for shooting landscapes with the D5100. Check it out:

    Yes, you'll need a tripod for all of your nighttime landscape shots. At night, you're shutter speed will slow down to a number of seconds and the only way to keep the camera completely still is to use a tripod. All the best! :)
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