The Best of 2010 – Light Trails

As the year is drawing to a close, I thought I’d put together a short list of what I consider my  most memorable shots of the year. The selection is based on both viewer feedback and my own attachment to a particular shot. For behind each photograph is a story to tell, a little something for me to remember them by, and some have proven to be more memorable than others. If you have not followed my work on Flickr, this is a good sampling of my work.

I’ve decided to categorize them into such : (1) REFLECTIONS (2) BRIDGES (3) FOUNTAINS (4) LIGHT TRAILS and  (5) MY PERSONAL FAVORITES.

#4 MOST MEMORABLE LIGHT TRAILS

It’s no secret that successful photographs are the products of perfect light and perfect timing. Capturing great light trails definitely needs perfect timing, and obviously, it helps to be in a location with a good flow of traffic, but not necessarily. Sometimes, all it takes is one bus to come at the right time. But there are other factors to a successful light trail shot other than perfect time – and those are – lots of patience and being on the safe side of the road.

My Top Ten Most Memorable Light Trails of 2010:

VALENCIA, SPAIN - Torres de Serranos. The flow of traffic was not ideal on this night so I had to wait quite a bit; in the meantime, the light in the sky was changing fast. I knew that buses, instead of cars, would complete my vision here, and fortunately 2 buses came to a halt just when the last bit of blue hour light was fading away.

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - Clifton Suspension Bridge. This bridge is also a toll bridge, so there was a time lapse between cars passing. A longer exposure did the trick, and the slight tilt on the camera was a big contributing factor to the dynamics of the shot.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Tower Bridge. London is one of the best cities for light trails, especially because of their omnipresent double-decker buses, which incidentally, also create beautiful trails because of their height. The use of an ultra-wide angle lens here allowed me to capture a good span of the bridge.

BERLIN, GERMANY - Berlin Cathedral and the Fernsehturm. I like to position myself in a curve on the road when possible, and this spot was ideal for a nice curve on the trails and also captured two great icons of Berlin. It was hard to tame lights from street lamps that shine directly towards the camera but I managed to create nice starbursts here without annoying glares.

TRIER, GERMANY - Porta Nigra. Knowing where to set your tripod down makes a lot of difference.

PARIS, FRANCE - Arc de Triomphe. An example of how to get light trail shots without getting killed. Often called the suicide shot for obvious reasons, you have to compete for this spot in front to the Arc. So I got there early before everyone did.

HAMBURG, GERMANY - St. Nikolai Church. I wasn't sure if this church was lit up at night when I scouted this location earlier in the day, but I took my chances after I walked through the bridge and saw this vantage point and imagined it with night traffic. The bridge I was on shook every time large vehicles underneath me passed, so I had to time it at just the right moment. And although the church turned out to be generally dark, I quite like how I was able to capture the little bit of glow from the windows.

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - Central Bridge. One of my most memorable shots indeed, and I even wrote about it on this blog. Very shady and dark location that I was on plus a suspicious looking fellow who kept me company made this shot the longest 30-second exposure and most frightening yet.

CAEN, FRANCE - Palais de Justice. Earlier that day, I had timed how often buses arrived in this location, and I counted at least 1 bus every 10 minutes. And 10 minutes was an awfully long time to waste in the precious minutes of blue hour. But oftentimes, waiting is all you can do.

CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND - Red Telephone Box and St. John's College. Light trails do not only make wonderful subjects, but sometimes they are excellent and additional light sources, as I've come to discover in the dark city of Cambridge.

*These images are available for licensing. Contact me if interested. DO NOT USE without permission.

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One response

  1. Working with light trails seems for me the first step to light painting! Great pictures, but be careful (Arc de Triomphe)!

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