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Best of Both Worlds

The iconic Boat Shed Cafe cantilevers over the waters of Nelson Haven. Using buildings within landscape photos does not follow the purist ethic, but makes for interesting compositions.

Passing Time:

The image below is an example of an advanced technique called Time Blending.

  • The sunset sky was shot 10-20 minutes after sundown, when the colours are most vibrant during the Blue Hour.

  • The remainder of the photo was shot an hour later, when it was dark enough to see the light trails and restaurant lighting.

For this shoot to succeed, I had to:

  1. Lock the camera down on a sturdy tripod, so both images would be aligned.

  2. Fire the shutter with a cable release, so I didn't bump the camera.

  3. Time the sunset with full tide, AND rush hour traffic.

  4. Shoot the second image when there was a steady stream of vehicles travelling in both directions - to get red tail lights AND white headlights.

Stacking the best two images together in Adobe Photoshop, this montage then involved tricky Luminosity Masking... to get the best of both worlds: Blue hour and Night-time.


Our Western eyes are trained to read from left to right. We also begin from the bottom of a photo, scanning the foreground first, then looking upward to take in the scene. Here, I have utilised the stairwell, the chained seawall, and traffic lights as Lead-in Lines.

Settings: Aperture: f/8 | Shutter Speed: 15 seconds | ISO: 1000 | Focal length: 17mm Canon 5D Mark II. [ If camera settings are still confusing, enroll in my Discover Your DSLR course ]

Boat Shed Cafe

But wait... there's more:

I returned this year to film a tutorial here, and captured a colourful cloudy sky. Using my new NiSi Filter Kit, I was able to darken the sky with a soft ND Grad, and flatten the water with a 6-stop ND filter. Again, I blended the two best shots in Photoshop.


Placing the horizon on the Rule of Thirds makes use of the foreground as Lead-in Lines. A 'landscape orientation' allows more room for the light trails.

Follow Ray's full video tutorial on YouTube: TIME BLENDING | Boatshed Cafe, Nelson | LOCATIONZ episode 11

[ If camera settings are still confusing, enroll in my Discover Your DSLR course ]

Keyword: landscape photography south island nz

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