When I arrived in Redding, California, I immediately drove to the Sundial Bridge. After capturing a number of black and white exposures during the afternoon in some rather harsh light, I returned for some night photographs.
It took a great deal of luck to capture this image. There were at least a hundred people on this bridge at any given time. My strategy was to take an exposure, then wait for various patches within the frame to free up of pedestrians before taking the next exposure. After four of five exposures, I was able to clear up most of the frame by selectively blending these images in Photoshop. There was still a group of people left toward the back of the bridge (it's a killer when they just stand there)--and I removed them by using the cloning tool.
My next challenge was the dealing with the length of these exposures--15 seconds each. After I would finish my third or fourth "people eraser" exposure, someone would walk close to my camera and cause the bridge to vibrate...so, it was time to start all over again!
By the time I finally started to get a few good exposures in a row, the sky was getting very dark...losing all color and bringing too much contrast into the scene. I shot a 2 second exposure at the end to bring back some detail in the sundial and the floor lights...as they were getting blown out now.
A local photographer from Redding approached me during my photo shoot to say I would have to wait for a very long time to capture this photograph. Apparently, he's not overly familiar with technique of blending exposures during post processing for removing people from the scene.
This morning, I sat down to process the whole mess--never expecting it to end up being an acceptable image. While it's not the greatest image in the world, I'm very pleased with the result!
Nikon D800, Nikon 14-24 2.8