Part 13 George Cairns uses Nikon Capture NX2 to change day to night in a photograph
If you can only get a daytime shot of a location, you can still give it a nighttime look. Simply change the tones to more nocturnal ones in Capture NX2, then use the program’s Selection Control Points to reinforce the illusion!
Shooting a city at night can produce a shot with a moody and atmospheric look. However, it also raises logistical challenges in relation to your camera’s settings and the accessories that you’ll need to use to capture the scene.
You could open the lens’s aperture to let in more light, but that will result in a shallower depth of field that creates background or foreground blur. By bumping up the ISO speed you’ll be able to shoot handheld with a faster shutter speed, but that might add nasty and distracting chroma and luminance noise to your photo. If you have access to a tripod you could use a lower ISO setting, a slower shutter speed and a narrower aperture to get more detail in focus, but that approach is more time-consuming and it might also limit your compositional choices.
By using Capture NX2’s colour and tone adjusting tools to fake a nocturnal look, you can capture any location during the day without having to lug a tripod around. In daylight it’s also much easier to capture a shot with foreground and background detail in focus.
Selection Control Points
In this walkthrough we’ll show you how to produce a cooler, bluer colour temperature, which helps evoke a lunar light source. We’ll start by applying that to the whole image for a uniform tone.
Once we’ve adjusted the image as a whole, to help strengthen the illusion that the picture was taken at night we’ll illuminate a street lamp using the Selection Control Point tool and a Colorize adjustment step to add a contrasting warm yellow glow to the cold blue scene.
You’ll also learn how to make the shadows close in around the edge of the frame in an atmospheric way, adding to the overall darkness of the shot, courtesy of Capture NX2’s Vignette Control slider.