Day 84 – Motorway at Night

Following on from my night time photo shoot the other evening, when I had a go at some simple light painting – one of the other things I wanted to try before the lighter evenings reply is capturing motorway traffic – the nearest motorway bridge is a about 20 miles away, but I was nearby yesterday evening, so I detoured and had a go at capturing traffic from above.


  • Tripod
  • 17-70mm lens and shutter release cable
  • Torch for me
  • ISO 100, F18 I choose as I wanted a small aperture so I could have the shutter open for a long period of time without the oncoming lights burning out.
54 second exposure - from Side ! of the bridge.

54 second exposure – from Side A of the bridge.

I was unsure which was the best direction to take the photo from – so I first tried one side of the bridge and then the other. On Side A there was some building lights to the right and it was hard to keep them out of the shot and centralised the traffic so I crossed the road and tried again.

96 second exposure - from Side B of the bridge.

96 second exposure – from Side B of the bridge.

I was unsure which was best, the traffic was not very heavy – so it was hard to guess the exposure time and then this happened…

22 second exposure - Side B

22 second exposure – Side B

Sadly I did not hold the exposure long enough -I was so concerned about making sure I did not over expose the shot and therefore loose the blue lights of the Ambulance that I realised the shutter a little bit too soon, but I was delighted with the extra colour it brought to the image – and I cant imagine how long I would have to wait for another one!

I therefore took 3 exposures including the one above into photoshop – as they were all on the tripod with the same settings, it was easy to layer them on top of each other and let the lights below show through… I balance the composition slightly and this was my final shot. I am glad I am tried it, now I want to look for some more exciting bridges!

3 Night time exposures merged in photoshop.

3 Night time exposures merged in photoshop.

2 replies
  1. thinkingofyouandme
    thinkingofyouandme says:

    Fab, love the blue light. One like this was in competition last night, and the judge commented that there is always a big gap in the middle (central reservation) and to try and combat this by ‘freezing’ a vehicle if you can. No tips on how to do that of course. I suppose what you could have done with is another blue light going the other way at the same time! or a green medical light!

    • Helen
      Helen says:

      I could freeze a car if I had a powerful enough flash… but if that blinded the driver I guess I would need a getaway car otherwise I would be in trouble for causing an accident … although then if I hung round I would get lots of blue lights 😉

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