Edinburgh Cityscape from Calton Hill – At Night

Edinburgh England Scotland UK Cityscape taken from Calton Hill during the NightCanon 5D Mark III, 24-105mm f/4L IS USM at 32mm, f/11 for 1/4s at ISO 100


This photo was taken around 1 hour after the sunset shot I posted earlier in the week.

How to get this type of shot

The period where the sun has set but the afterglow of the day’s light remains and the lights of the city start to turn on is my favorite time to photograph cities. Like eyes on living things, I feel that the lights in the buildings give them life. The key is to find that balance between the light remaining in the sky and of that coming from the city. Usually this means around 20 – 30 minutes after sunset in Southern California, but as I found out, on a summer day this far north in Scotland, it meant around 50 minutes after sunset.

The composition and technique are similar to the sunset shot around an hour earlier. I still had to use a 3-stop graduated ND filter to tone down the light from the sky. An f-stop of f/11 gave me a shutter speed of 25s. Up on the hill it was quite windy, so I waited until there was a lull and also did my best to shield the tripod with my body from the wind.


Edinburgh cityscape taken from Calton Hill (Coordinates: 55.954983,-3.184214)

29 thoughts on “Edinburgh Cityscape from Calton Hill – At Night

  1. Oh, wonderful Picture – brings back memories when I went there as a Student. Greetings from sunny Berlin!

  2. Mark, this photograph is stunning. I love the way the clouds on the right side of the photograph balance the sky with the rest of the frame. The triangle formed by the points of golden light keeps the eye grounded where you want it. This is just wonderful.

  3. Mark, your photo takes me to the all-too-short visit to Edinburgh last November. From Calton Hill, Edinburgh Castle, or Holyrood Park, this city is “begging” to be photographed. And you weren’t going to turn down that request: great skyline shot at dusk! :-) If you don’t already have the information, you might consider looking up times for civil, nautical, and astronomical twilight to help with your estimates of the “blue hour”, depending upon location and season; I’ve been using VelaClock on my devices.

  4. I do like your image. and I a pleased you included your thoughts on it’s production. As I read I nodded my head thinking of course, hmm..yep thats right..then ya got me. I wouldn’t have thought of a ND filter. Dang! Thanks.

    • Thanks. I took both a photo with and without the 3–stop ND filter basically back-to-back. I liked the one with better since it darkened the sky. But I probably could have achieve a similar shot, but with use of the grad ND filter in LR. But it is much more fun getting it right in camera :)

  5. I love the interplay between the rough texture of the stone and the equally complex detail in the city below.

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