One of the challenges of photographing Times Square at sunset, twilight, or in the evening, is choosing a camera exposure that captures the full range of colors seen before you. The range of lighting in Times Square is extreme, from softly lit signs to mega-wattage electronic billboards. Capturing the extreme range of light with your digital camera sensor can be a challenge. Usually, when you photograph a night scene in Times Square, some colorful billboards appear as pure white (or overexposed) in your photos because your cameras sensor could not capture the full range of light. Here is an easy technique to minimize that exposure problem.
Typically, when a large electronic Times Square billboard shows a scene with lots of white and light colors, its brightness may overpower everything else in the street scene you want to record. Try this: Wait for the colors in the billboard to change to a scene or graphic showing mostly darker tones. Generally the darker reds, greens, and blues and are easier for the cameras sensor to record than the bright pastels and pure whites. Most of the electronic billboards in Times Square show a wide variety of scenes. Take a few minutes to observe the range of advertisements that the largest electronic billboards display. Be ready to shoot when the largest billboards show images with with more darker colors and less whites, yellows, and very light pastels. The darker colors will be more faithfully recorded by your camera.
In addition, the histogram, and LCD preview of your digital camera are invaluable in letting you know if the majority of colors in the scene you captured are properly exposed. Look for large areas of pure white in the image you shot. If it is a blown out electronic billboard, try shooting it again when the billboard changes to darker colors. You should see a more accurate capture of the colors in your photo.
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