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Sun down, camera up: Our favorite cities at night

There’s something about a world-class city after dark, when the night brings out different feelings and experiences that the day never could. We reached out to Lonely Planet travel writers who live in Los Angeles, Bangkok, Delhi, Paris and London, asked them their favorite places in their home city to experience after dark, and got some eye-opening responses.

If you go to any of these, you’re going to want to capture the magical nighttime and dreamy low-light moments yourself. So, along the way, Lonely Planet Photo Editor Erin Lenczycki gives her tips for taking great shots when the lights go down. It’s easier than you might think, even if packing light and only relying on your phone. Motion blur, grainy, and washed-out photos are a thing of the past – especially with an advanced AI camera system.

Nightography on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Series

 

The Samsung Galaxy S22 series takes the hassle out of capturing epic Nightography. Video entirely captured with Galaxy S22 Series

 

Los Angeles, by Danielle Dorsey

Home to Tinseltown, Beverly Hills, and hipster havens like Silver Lake and Highland Park, with a bounty of culture and diversity to explore, there’s plenty to do in LA after dark. When I’m in a lowkey mood, I head to Griffith Park Observatory for stargazing, or the Santa Monica Pier to swing above the sea on the iconic Ferris wheel. If I prefer to take in the sights with a drink in hand, I head to one of our city’s many rooftops, which include stalwarts like Perch’s 14th floor bar in Downtown LA and Yamashiro’s century-old pagoda in Hollywood Hills.

Couple,Enjoying,Skyline,View,From,Their,Car,In,The,Night.
Skyline view in Los Angeles, California © oneinchpunch / Shutterstock

There are also newcomers along Hollywood’s emerging Vinyl District, like Bar Lis, a Mediterranean-inspired terrace that offers DJs and dancing after dark, and Desert 5 Spot, a Pioneertown-meets-Palm Springs hotspot at the newly opened tommie Hollywood hotel that brings great country-rock cover bands to its intimate stage. For a star-studded experience, it doesn’t get better than the Sunset Strip, home to raucous Saddle Ranch Chop House and Sunset at Edition, with its disco-ball-decorated ceilings. Finally, I love exploring LA’s recent mezcal craze at agave-focused bars like Madre, Gracias Madre, Guelaguetza, Las Perlas, and Bar Calo.

Photo Tip 1 – Get creative: A tripod is always a great solve but lugging one around all day can be annoying. Instead, get creative and steady your phone against a wall, stacked objects, or a tree. You’d be surprised by some of the things on which I’ve steadied my phone. ­– EL 

 

Make Los Angeles Nights Epic

 

Make Los Angeles Nights Epic, by Alex Stemplewski, @alexanderthegreat. Entirely captured with Galaxy S22 Series

 

Bangkok, by Chris Schalkx

When Bangkok’s riotous daytime jumble has fizzled out, darkness casts an air of magic over its streets. It’s when the last tourist groups have left Wat Pho, and I like to slip in through the south gate (open until 23:00) to have the temple grounds almost to myself. From here, it’s a short walk to find Wat Arun, lit up in gold, glittering in the ripples of the Chao Phraya River. My favorite after-dark spot, though, is Yaowarat, Chinatown‘s main drag.

Night,Time,View,Of,Wat,Arun,(temple),Across,Chao,Phraya
Wat Arun, in Bangkok, Thailand © p_jirawat / Shutterstock

After the sun has set, this bustling street food strip bathes in the glow of kaleidoscopic neon signs, flaming woks, and red Chinese lanterns. After I’ve had a curbside meal, I love to meander through Chinatown’s narrow alleys leading to tucked-away temples (such as Wat Sam Pluem), neighborhood drinking dens, or the Pak Klong Talad flower market, which is at its liveliest during the early hours of the night. 

Samsung_Night-Cities_LA_RM.jpg
Make a strong base to minimize motion blur. Captured with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Series © Courtesy of Samsung

Photo Tip 2 – Be the tripod: Take a shoulder-width stance, hold your phone with both hands, and bring your arms into your body. This offers a strong base. Before taking your photo, breathe in deep and take your shot while breathing out slowly. Your body will be relaxed, and hopefully any motion blur will be banished. ­– EL

 

 

Make Bangkok Nights Epic

 

Make Bangkok Nights Epic, by Arachaporn, @goyyog. Entirely captured with Galaxy S22 Series

 

Delhi, by Punita Malhotra

An American guest described Delhi as “New York on steroids”, aptly summing up the frantic-paced life in India’s cosmopolitan capital. When the traffic snarls thin out after peak rush hour, I look forward to a peaceful drive through the broad tree-shaded avenues of Lutyen’s Delhi to gawk at the shimmering spectacle of Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Secretariat) sprawled over 330-acres on Raisina Hill. Later, I whet my appetite with street food and piping hot kebabs in the bustling bazaars of Chandni Chowk, teleporting myself mentally to the glamour of 18th-century Shahjahanabad.

Night,View,Of,Rashtrapati,Bhavan,(presidential,Palace),,India,On,The
Rashtrapati Bhavan, in Delhi, India © Dupinder Bains / Shutterstock

Next I claim my slice of paradise in the 90-acre Sunder Nursery, a 16th-century UNESCO-Heritage park littered with 20 Mughal-era monuments, gurgling fountains and flower-laden pathways. On full-moon nights, I sneak across to the exquisite Humayun’s Tomb to capture the romance of the original garden tomb that inspired the iconic Taj Mahal. The day ends at posh Khan Market, an expensive ‘hood and yuppie hangout loaded with cool bars and hip restaurants serving everything from Pan-Asian, French, Italian, and Greek to African cuisine.

Photo Tip 3 – Move with your subject: Sometimes there’s too much movement to catch – even with a tripod. When that happens, try moving your phone. Keeping it close to your chest, turn your body as your subject moves past. You’ll have a more stable foundation and can get a cool effect by blurring the background. ­– EL

Check out the latest Samsung Galaxy S22 Series Nightography cameras and see how easy and amazing it is to take videos at night.

 

Make New Delhi Nights Epic
 
Make New Delhi Nights Epic, by Tanya Sharma, @tanyaxosharma. Entirely captured with Galaxy S22 Series
 

Paris, by Catherine Le Nevez

Paris’ floodlit monuments reflected in the rain on the cobblestones and ripples in the river make nighttime magical here. I love wandering along the Seine, where venues for drinks and DJs include floating clubs and riverside spots such as Scilicet, with a terrace overlooking the witches-hat turrets of palace/Revolution-era prison the Conciergerie (you can also see the Eiffel Tower sparkling hourly; nights are an amazing time to visit the tower itself too, with the whole city glittering below).

Typical,Night,View,Of,Cozy,Street,With,Tables,Of,Cafe
Montmartre, in Paris, France © Catarina Belova / Shutterstock

Vintage street lamps give a sepia glow to the narrow backstreets of atmospheric neighborhoods like the Latin Quarter, Le Marais, and hilltop Montmartre, where I’ll often head to catch new restaurants, cocktail bars and concerts (especially jazz in medieval cellar clubs). Rooftop bars like Le Perchoir, in an industrial building in Ménilmontant, and Point Éphémère, on Canal St-Martin, are other fantastic spaces to hang out after dark in “la Ville Lumière” (“the City of Light”).

Photo Tip 4 – Work smart, not hard: Understanding aperture, shutter speed, and ISO can be daunting and time-consuming in the moment. Today, even professional photographers rely on AI to help them get the perfect low-light shot. Night mode can do all the heavy lifting ­– letting you focus on your framing. ­– EL

 

Nightography on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Series

 

Check out the latest Samsung Galaxy S22 Series Nightography cameras and see how easy and amazing it is to shoot video at night. Video entirely captured with Galaxy S22 Series

 

London, by Daniel Fahey

Ever ensconced yourself in a human-sized egg? Drank ale under the dazzling fizz of a hundred neon signsSniffed a jar of Amy Winehouse’s poo for a fiver? Then have you ever really been to London? From queer poetry and absurdist comedy via bawdy cabaret, 24-hour fry-ups and all-night movie marathons, the capital has endless realities to unpeel once the lights have gone out. Not that all my favorite things to do at night are obscure or bizarre. I love sipping vertiginous cocktails up the 310m-high Shard or watching a performance of Hamlet at Shakespeare’s Globe. I could happily devour the valdeón cheesecake with thyme honey and almonds from NOPI again and again – or until chef Yotam Ottolenghi hoicked me out of the restaurant himself.

London,-,March,3:,Outside,View,Of,Shakespeare's,Globe,Theatre,
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, in London, England © Sampajano_Anizza / Shutterstock

The National Gallery is a great place to rouse the spirits of yore. Open until 9 pm on Fridays, its vast collection of European art runs from the vast, mystical vanitas An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump to Paul Delaroche’s heartbreaking masterpiece The Execution of Lady Jane Grey. But I always save time for the London’s fabled drinking dens: the dark, cavernous, 17th-century Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, hidden off Fleet Street, or the Absinthe Parlour in The Viktor Wynd Museum (amongst its eight-legged lambs, risqué Paul Chenavard sketches, and Papuan trophy skulls). Then if there’s time, I’ll teleport Dalston’s Cafe OTO, which is less a live music venue, more a portal into the future.

Samsung_Night-Cities_Bangkok_RM.jpg
Try using available lighting to frame your shot. Captured with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Series © Courtesy of Samsung

Photo Tip 5 – Embrace the dark side: Rather than get in the weeds with your flash, try using available lighting to frame your shot. Want to take a portrait of your friend in a church, but it’s a little too dark? Have them step into the light of a stained-glass window. Let the neon, and aesthetic light of the night be your muse. ­– EL

Check out the latest Samsung Galaxy S22 Series Nightography cameras and see how easy and amazing it is to take portraits at night.

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