How did I take this photo...

I received a number of emails on my photo that I used in a composition post. People wanted to know how I took that photo at night, specifically, how i achieved proper exposure and had the narrow beam of blue light.

So, I thought I would explain how I took this photo in more detail and discuss the camera settings.

Here were the settings and gear used.

Camera: Nikon D3 set to aperture priority.

Lens: Sigma 24-105mm f4

Focal Length: 28mm

Tripod and head: Manfrotto 057C4 Tripod – MT057C4 and the 057 Magnesium Ball Head with Q5 Quick Release

Accessories: Nikon wired remote control

Location: standing on the back of the Musee national de la Marine. That is where that statue is. It is off the Espl du Trocadero. You have to step up and position yourself against the back of the building where the columns are.

Aperture: f4 focused on the Eiffel tower. I tried to take the photo with the statue in focus, but the depth of field really did not work because i wanted the tower to be the focal point, and sharp.

Shutter Speed: 1/6th of a second to achieve the beam of light that was fairly straight and not elongated due to a long exposure

Exposure Compensation: Was set to + 1/3 to try and bring as much detail in the shadows of the statue as possible. I didn't want harsh contrast and a silhouette.

ISO: 2500 to allow proper exposure and a faster shutter speed at such low light.

When I got the photo into the computer, there was digital noise. I ran it through NIK define and it eliminated a lot of the digital noise. In camera raw I darkened the sky and sharpened the lights on the Eiffel tower.

Then I cropped the photo a bit and it was complete after 5 minutes of editing.

I hope that better helps explain the process to achieve this photo.



Kevin A Pepper

Kevin is a photographer and educator based in Waterloo, Ontario. His first love is photographing nature, regardless of the season or weather condition; the Ontario landscape and its wildlife are his inspiration. But you will also see other styles of photography in his portfolio. From street photography to urban exploration of abandoned buildings and architecture, he loves to capture it all with his camera for his corporate clients and his growing personal portfolio. Kevin’s images have been featured in Canadian Nature Photographer, PHOTONews Canada, Photo Technique Magazine, The London Free Press, The Weather Network, and National Geographic Online. His diverse client list includes the City of Cambridge, Olympus, GORE Mutual, TVO, and African Lion Safari. Kevin also operates “Northof49 Photography”, a company launched in 2012 dedicated to teaching amateur photographers through International and Canadian-based workshops. In the coming year, Kevin will be leading workshops in Iceland, Mongolia, Tanzania, Venezuela, Provence, and numerous destinations across Canada. Website: