Night scene of a river with passing boat
Lens-Artists,  Themed galleries,  Travel in general

Gallery: day into night

For this week’s Lens Artists challenge, Sofia asks us to consider both. One idea that occurred to me was to feature those times of transition between night and day, day and night. But I post so many photos of sunrises and sunsets! Instead I decided to search my archives for examples where I have photographed the same or a very similar scene both by day and night.

It turned out I had relatively few, and some shots I have shared previously, possibly more than once! But I don’t think I have ever done so in pairs like this, and the contrasts are perhaps interesting. These images don’t only highlight how different a scene can look by day and night, they also show how the challenges of photography change at different times and with different lighting. By day we want to be able to pick out the details of a scene, so depth of field matters. But even with a small aperture we can usually use a fast shutter speed to freeze any motion.

At night the atmosphere is often more important, and we can sacrifice details. In fact, darkness can be more forgiving, hiding less attractive details such as an ugly vehicle or building. And in a city scene the need for a slower shutter speed creates interesting movement in passing traffic, as in my featured photo of the Seine in Paris.

Note: I don’t carry a tripod so some of these night images are handheld. However I’m quite good at finding unofficial ‘tripods’ in the shape of walls or other hard surfaces. Combined with a delayed shutter release I find it quite possible to get some half-decent night shots without the hassle of carrying heavy equipment on my travels!

River with slender bridge arch reflected

The Millennium Bridge, linking Newcastle and Gateshead, north east England

The Millennium Bridge and Baltic art gallery, Gateshead, at night

River at night with slender bridge arch illuminated

River with moored barges

The right bank of the Seine near the Île Saint-Louis, Paris

The Île Saint-Louis (on the left) and Right Bank at night

River and bridge at night

Old buildings along a river bank

St. Peter’s Church and other buildings on the bank of the Limmat in Zurich, Switzerland

The River Limmat at night with St Peter’s Church and the town hall

Night scene of a river lined with old buildings

Old red brick church

The Santo Stefano complex, Bologna, a merging of seven old churches

The Santo Stefano complex at night

A city square at night with a church, restaurant and arcaded old buildings

Large cathedral with domes at the end of a cobbled street

St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia, Bulgaria

St. Alexander Nevsky at night

Large cathedral with domes lit up at night

Large square with market stalls

The Djemaa El Fna, Marrakesh, photographed from a restaurant terrace

The Djemaa El Fna at night, photographed from a different restaurant terrace, with smoke rising from the many food stalls

Large square with market stalls at night

View of city skyscrapers and a river

The Empire State Building and downtown Manhattan from the Top of the Rock

The Empire State Building from the Top of the Rock at night

[both this and the previous image were taken before the building of the new World Trade Center but after 9/11 when the old one was destroyed]

View of city skyscrapers at night

Unsurprisingly most of my examples have been of cities as these are easier to photograph at night. But I do have one rural scene that fits the brief. You’ve almost certainly seen it here before, both by day and night, but I can’t resist including it!

View of a winding river, forests and sea

View of the Rio Nosara and Pacific coast from Lagarta Lodge, Costa Rica

Moonrise over the Pacific from Lagarta Lodge

Full moon reflected in the sea


Do share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you!