Berlin 9: Night in Mitte

Berlin at night might have been easier to photograph were it not for my phobia for tripods, and I think all these pictures were probably made without the aid of either tripod or flash – and flash would generally have been of no use.  However a decent tripod would have been helpful, but I’d left that at home, around 600 miles away, deciding to travel light.

I’d not taken the Leica out with me either in our wander after dinner on to the Museum Island, although that f1.4 35mm lens would have been useful. But the Fuji X100 was a better performer in low light. The picture of the temporary Humboldt Box (due to be demolished by 2019) was taken at 1/3s f2.8 and ISO 1600, and the Altes Museum at 1/2s. It would have been better to use a higher ISO, but for some uknown reason at that time I was reluctant to do so. The X100 isn’t a great performer at ISO 6400, but would have been sharper.

I wasn’t thinking seriously about taking night pictures, but I was there with a camera and gave it a go. In the brighter areas things were OK, but some of the darker areas were a challenge. I think I took a dozen frames of the Altes Museum, but only two were reasonably sharp – the best just very slightly crisper than the one I’ve used here.

Sometimes there was something I could brace myself against when making the picture, perhaps leaning on a rail or against a lamp post, but for other pictures I just had to stand as still as possible, make several exposures and hope. Using digital it’s possible of course to see the image on the back of the camera after you’ve made it. You can then delete those that really are blurred, but can’t tell if things are really critically sharp.

The statue above isn’t quite there, though it will have looked it on the camera back., and could probably be made to look a little sharper in Lightroom. It would have been nicer to have brought out the shadow of a fence on the plinth a little more too.

A little more light got my shutter speed up to 1/20th of a second as Linda walked away, probably fed up with waiting for me as I fiddled around with my camera.

Night brings out quite a different look in the buildings, helped by some good floodlighting, though it perhaps seemed something of a waste of electricity as the island at around 9pm was deserted. We hardly saw a single person, though doubtless there were security guards on duty in some of the buildings they remained invisible.

Der Deutschen Kunst – the Alte Nationalgalerie

The River Spree from Friedrichsbrücke

St. Marienkirche on Karl-Liebknecht-Str and the Fernsehturm at Alexanderplatz.

More from Berlin to follow shortly.

Previous Berlin post


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