Over the years I have undertaken commercial photography assignments in literally the four corners of the country. So it was great to land one right on my own doorstep.
With the ending of British Summer Time, many Arklow folk will notice the impressive, multi-coloured lights that light the town’s landmark bridge.
This eye-catching display was created by Warrington-based, public lighting specialists, Ansell Lighting http://www.anselluk.com/. So, when their designer, Luke Semper contacted me the brief was simple: get a photograph that shows the exact colour of the lights, the detailed stonework of the bridge against a dramatic sky at dusk.
Now it all sounds so easy, doesn’t it? The only problem is that a twilight sky, just after sunset is about 1,000 times brighter than the shadows of the darkest part of the bridge. This is far beyond the dynamic range of any camera, digital or film. A ‘straight’ photograph taken would result in a blacked out bridge and a sky so bright that it had no detail, totally disappointing.
I had to put on my thinking cap with this one, but there was a solution.
Firstly, I had to check the weather map to see when there would be an area of high pressure covering Ireland. I was in luck. the following weekend’s forecast promised just such conditions. High pressure not only brings settled weather but dramatic sunsets, beloved of landscape painters and photographers.
The brightness range problem was easier to get around. I waited till just after lightening up time, while there was still beautiful colours in the sky, I made a series of exposures for each element of the picture: the dark arches, the lights, and finally, the brilliant sky.
The final result was blended in Photoshop to get a seamless gradation of all the elements of the scene. You can see many more examples of twilight images on https://www.robertmullan.com/Architecture/The-Built-Eviornment/