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Shooting Through Glass

Boston, Bright

No, I don't mean lens glass. I'm talking about a situation that most people encounter rather often: shooting through window glass. Window glass can pose all sorts of lighting and reflection problems.

The above photo was taken 52-stories above Boston in the Prudential building's Skywalk Observatory. The combination of the beautiful low-light dusk exterior view and brightly lit interior of the building created all sorts of reflections on the window glass that I was shooting through. Even with my camera on a tripod and the lens right up against the glass, it was still possible for light to sneak in around the edges and reflect off the window. These sorts of reflections usually show up in photos as bright, unpleasant blotches which reduce contrast and are extremely distracting.

How did I get such a clear photo? After framing the image and focusing my camera, I used my black jacket to cover the camera and separate it (along with the window glass immediately around it) from the light sources behind me. The color of the jacket (black) is important here. Lighter colors tend to reflect more of the exterior light which just bounces back off the glass and into your camera. This involves a little bit of preparation and forethought. When I anticipate taking a photo like this, I take along either a black cloth or wear something black that I can take off and use as a light shield.

Light Capturing

This simple technique can help you get much clearer, sharper and overall better photos... whether you're photographing a cityscape from inside a brightly-lit building, or just taking a snapshot through an airplane window.



What’s this blog going to be? I’m not exactly sure yet, but I suspect that it’ll mainly be a place for me to showcase my latest photos, and reflect on my travels. I also plan discuss topics like photographic technique, gear selection, and travel stories.


Sukiennice and St. Mary's

Ulica Grodzka

As for the photos above: they were all taken in the main market squre in Cracow (Krakow), Poland. In September 2010, after returning back to Poland from a motorcycle trip to Montengro, the weather was typically dreary for Southern Poland in autumn (rainy). However, on my second-to-last day there, I was finally rewarded with perfectly clear skies. With my tripod and camera in-hand, I got to the main market square just as the blue hour was setting-in. Working quickly, I was able to capture the diversely-lit scenes you see here as the twilight quickly faded to night. The lighting on each of them is drastically different, and yet, they're all taken within 30 minutes of each other. That dramatic and quickly-changing light is what makes the blue hour such a fantastic time to take photos.

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