What a difference a few feet make.

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I was out a few weeks back doing some night shooting along the Portland waterfront. I took this shot literally under the freeway. After reviewing the first shot in-camera, I decided that I wasn't sure I liked the two lights in the upper left. So I moved a few feet to my left to frame them out - the result being the second image. Now, having spent some time with them, I'm coming to believe they are really two different images. The first is about the "constellation" of lights. The second is about the mysterious pathway under the overpass.


My question is: What do you think? Which one do you like, and why? Would you suggest pp changes? Or, maybe you think they're both trash and I should get a new hobby!
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I definitely prefer number 2 over the first shot. I found the two lights on the left to be distracting. I'm not certain why your lens seems have some sort of haze on it, but not as pronounced on the second because the lights are hidden. It also looks like you have cropped the photo a little narrower as well.

I'm curious if you could change the white balance. It looks like it was a foggy night and perhaps a cooler image would add a feeling of chill. Sodium lights can be a pain though.
Thanks, yes it was foggy. And I was stopped down to f/22 to try to get some starbursts, so I think that's what you are seeing. Or, because of the fog, I may have had condensation on the lens. I played around with the white balance, and didn't find anything I preferred over these. I think the orange of the lights is somehow appealing and adds to the mood - can't explain why.
I was wondering if it could be moisture on the lens. I found it a little distracting on the first shot. The orange is nice too in a way. It depends on what you want the photo to convey.
Thanks! You all seem to agree that the second shot is best. So I tried a "film noir" black & white version to overcome the color cast of the strange orange lights. What do you think of this?

Under the Bridge-1.jpg
I like the B&W a lot. In fact I like it better than the first set. May I play with it too?
Taste is subjective. I like a little more contrast. I think it brings out the fog more and adds depth.

Mike pdx b&W.jpg
I've started shooting with a tripod more often. There are two reasons for that. The first is that the D800 has such high resolution that the least bit of blur will be more obvious than normal. As Jake once said to me, it's a "deliberate" camera, you need to be a bit more methodical.

The second reason is for composition. It forces you to slow down and really look at what you're shooting. As you mention, a step or two in either direction can mean a lot of difference.

PS - Your first post was "edited" by me. I didn't change anything, simply added a space between the two images to more cleanly define them.
Bob, I completely agree about using a tripod to force you to slow down. I find that very enjoyable. In this case, of course, the tripod was an absolute necessity for the long (30 sec) exposure. Here's an update to the B&W conversion darkened a bit. I think I like this best after seeing Janice's go at it.
Under the Bridge-1.jpg
Thank you for sharing your experience and insights into the process of night photography. It's interesting to hear how you adjusted your shot to exclude the two lights in the upper left, ultimately resulting in a different but equally compelling image.
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