This past week I was teaching for Sony and Adobe at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City. One evening I met a few friends (among them, my good buddy and great photographer Serge Ramelli) at a rooftop bar at the Ink 48 Hotel. As you can imagine with rooftop photography in New York, it’s not long before you encounter the infamous (and always-hated-by-photographers), No Tripods Allowed rule.
The Infamous No Tripods Allowed “Rule”
NOTE: This isn’t actually an “official” rule in NYC. It’s just that photographers often come across places where tripods aren’t allowed (for safety and other various reasons). Rooftops happen to be one of them. And if you’ve never come across this “rule”, then consider yourself lucky.
So what do you do when you encounter the No Tripods Allowed rule? You improvise of course! Hopefully, you can find some stable surface to put your camera on. It doesn’t have to be large, but hopefully there’s something you can use.
For example, at the top of Ink 48, the wall protecting you from falling hundreds of feet to the ground is this glass wall that goes up to around my chest height. Luckily, it was thick glass. You can see the wall behind a quick iPhone photo that Serge took of my lovely wife Diana and I. (it’s a little blurry – Serge drinks a lot) 😉 (Actually Serge doesn’t drink at all)
I was shooting my Sony a6300, with the 16-70mm lens on it. When I got the camera I purchased the Really Right Stuff L bracket. It turns out that, because the bracket was perfectly rectangular at the bottom, the camera rested perfectly and firmly on that narrow wall. I still had to hold it just to make sure, but honestly, if I took a second to balance the camera, it would have rested there (albeit not reliably).
It’s hard to explain, but if I was perfectly still, and lighting (but firmly) held the camera, I could get a sharp photo even with a few second exposure. But, at the same time, there were times where it moved because my hands did have to be on the camera the whole time.
I wish I took a photo of this, but I didn’t. The best thing I can do is show a similar example to what I was doing.
So, this all sounds great right? I was getting sharp enough photos. Well, my friend Serge, was shooting his A7R II. He had a smaller plate at the bottom of his camera. Because of that, his didn’t rest as well. There was too much “Play” in it on the wall to get a sharp photo at 5 or even 10 second shutter speeds. Luckily… we had a backup plan.
The Platypod Pro to the Rescue
Toward the end of the summer, I picked up this thing called the Platypod Pro from platypodpro.com. It’s basically a small aluminum base/platform that let’s you mount a ballhead on it. Honestly, I’ve been so darn busy starting my own business with my wife, that I’ve barely had the chance to shoot lately. So I hadn’t even tried it out. But as I was packing for NY, I thought I’d have a few chances, and I know that tripods are always a problem, so I threw it in my bag. And I’m SOO glad I did.
Before you get in to the elevator, they check your larger bags. So I opened the camera bag and the gentleman checking said “just want to let you know, no tripods allowed”. I’m not quite sure why he said it because I didn’t have a tripod with me, but I said “Sure thing”.
Fast forward to Serge and I shooting sunset, and he was having a hard time resting his camera on the wall and getting a sharp photo. So I grabbed the platypod with my Really Right Stuff BH-40 ballhead on it and gave it to him. It worked great. He mounted his Sony A7Rii right on it. The bottom is perfectly flat, and it rested nicely (as long as you held it for safe keeping) on the wall.
After shooting for a while, I decided to give it a try. One of the downsides of my just resting my camera on the wall and hand-holding, was that I couldn’t tilt up or down, or even shoot to the left or right. I basically had to shoot straight ahead.
But I didn’t want to include as much foreground as that angle made me include. And zooming in and out didn’t help – I needed to tilt the camera up a bit in the way that a ballhead would let me.
So after Serge was done with the Platypod, I tried it out and it worked perfectly. I actually was even more stabile than the way that I was doing it. I really felt like I could set it there (while holding lighting) and do a 15-20 second exposure if I needed. And the best part was that it was on a ballhead that I could move, tilt, and position any way that I wanted. Pretty cool huh?
(Photo Info: Sony A6300 with the Sony 16-70mm f/4 lens – f/8, 3.2 sec, ISO 800)
Here’s a link to the Platypod Pro that I was using. It’s the smaller version, but I only had a small camera with a small lens mounted on it. They also have a larger version for larger cameras/lenses if you need.
So What’s Your Secret?
I figure that many of you out there have had the same thing happen. So what’s your secret? How do you get a steady, sharp photo when tripods aren’t allowed? I’d love to hear your secrets so please leave ‘em here in the comments.
Thanks and have a good one!
Do you know the place that I can go to the rooftop for legally ? Beside top of the rock, empire state, and 1wtc, or some kind a tour that offering rooftop photography ?
Great picture love it you took from your cell ? Good job.
I used a Pedco Ultralight II on my trip to the Top of the Rock. It was a blustery night with a little bit of rain too. I had heard the warnings about no tripods so purchased this from Amazon for $18 just before my trip. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000ANCPNM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s03?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I was able to use it on a flat surface on the upper deck where there is no glass. Here’s the final result with a Nikon D750.. http://www.bluerojo.com/city?lightbox=dataItem-iyq1y9pe
I’m also a beanbag lover. My tip is to go to a pet store and get a bag of Kay-Kob pet litter. It’s crushed corncobs. The grains are angular, and they lock together when you nestle the camera into the bag. They’re dust-free, reasonably waterproof and don’t attract vermin. A $5 bag will satisfy your and your friends’ beanbag needs for the rest of your life.
Nice to run into smart people on the internet every now and then….good ideas! Normally i lean on something sturdy, recompose, exhale, and squeeze the shutter. May take a couple tries.
Two tricks: one is a variation of the bean bag using a hiking stuff sack and some tiny styrofoam balls that I found in a pillow. It’s super light and squishes in around my spare lenses in a backpack to protect them when I’m not using it. The second is to use the glass on the window. Set the lens to a low f stop like f/2.8 and set the camera for delayed shutter. Press the shutter release, cup your hands around the lens and thumbs under the body and press up against the glass. I have taken 30 second exposures this way. The glass has to be really dirty to have much effect and with the lens rim against the glass you get no reflections.
During the winter I use my sweater to stabilize the camera. I just take it off and bunch it to hold the camera nicely. Works like a charm!
I also have the Platypod though I’ve only used it outside, not for city work – that’s a pretty good idea.
I’ve travelled a lot around the world with camera and tripod and tripods sure set off a lot of alarms for places all over. I’ve been told I couldn’t bring them in, and in some places had to pay more to go in just because I had a tripod. Using the Platypod instead could mitigate that, so I’ll try traveling with it more…
I agree with you Matt, the platypod is the way to go. I backed the larger size one during their Kickstart campaign and received mine as my backers reward. The platypod is great for low level shots and a multitude of other situations. Enjoy your posts very much, keep up the great work.
One solution I’ve found for my walk around travel lens ( Canon 17-40 or 16-35 ) is the lens cap. On a flat surface I have made nice photos setting the camera down and then using the lens cap under the lens ( standing vertically ) to prop the camera up. Another solution is a table top tripod. The Manfrotto 209 table top tripod with the 482 head is a small solution that will steady your camera perfectly. Nobody looks at your little 5″ tripod and proclaims, no tripods here.
Really cool! But about that picture of you and your wife. “My wife and ME” in that case is right as you wouldn’t say “He took a picture of I” 🙂
I think this link may help you Dave: http://mattyk.me/2gJcys6
Sooo… I was out shooting this newly built transportation center with the amazing interior lights here in So. Calif. I was shooting brackets with a tripod when this nice security guard walked up and gave the old “no tripods” rule to me. I thanked him, said, “no problem” (didn’t want him to say good by to me) and up’d the iso to 2000. Introduced a little noise but nothing that I couldn’t deal with in post. I did some work in light room and on1 and low and behold I think it turned out rather nice. Shot at iso 2000 f11 canon 16-35 mm @ 16mm 1/13 sec. Could have opened up the aperture and then dropped the iso but its a 5story building and I wanted it to be in focus from the bottom to the top. Sure that’s not a long exposure but when I am bracketing for possible HDR use, anything helps. (just didn’t breath too much between frames). The Platypod sounds like something that would be interesting to try but sometimes there just isn’t anything to rest one on.
I did manage to get through security at the Empire State Building with a small table top tripod, but didn’t end up using it as the fence was in the way. However, the latticework in the fence criss-crosses itself, and you can rest your lens right in the V. It worked reasonably well. Got some decent multi second exposures.
If you can get it into wherever you’re shooting you could attach to a railing with a Gorillapod, also I’ve actually held my camera resting the lens flat against a window. Of course you have to be careful not to push too hard, and I would recommend manual focus.
Why not just use a bean bag!!
The Platypod Pro is a great item. I first used it on a trip in the Finger Lakes, at Watkins Glen State Park. After our 3 mile trek, I realize that the only mistake I made way bring the tripod along too. If I had time to use it sooner, I would have left the tripod in the car, what a waste of extra weight. There are many waterfalls throughout the gorge-like park and I used the low walls to place the camera with the Platypod Pro. Even did timed shots to include pictures of my wife and I. It was so easy to adjust, especially on the uneven rock walls. Now I take it everywhere. I pick it up on Kickstarter and it was well worth the investment.
I don’t think I have come across a tripod free area. I don’t carry one because I live out of a backpack. If I need a pod I have used a variety of methods, my camera bag, clothes, piles of rocks, trees, suspended it using paracord, the ground, motorbikes. Pretty much anything. I’ll stack small objects to get the right angle whenever needed. I mostly shoot outdoors.
Brilliant, I’m goin to try that!
Matt, I bought the Platypod Pro and didn’t think I’d use it. I now use it so much when traveling light with my A6300, that I’ve also added the Platypod MAX for my Nikon DSLRS. Platypod is easy to bring along with a small ballhead. Just great. And again I never thought I’d really use it. BTW the A6300 for travel has been superb for both Video and stills. The new 2 sec shooting delay means no need to bring a remote for it. The A6500 is on order. Cheers from NY.
I have a question, why do you need to use a tripod in the first place? I’ve NEVER NEVER NEVER used a tripod.
Low light photography without some sort of added stability is going to be soft/blurry. People may say they feel they get good results with handheld shots but all it takes is a quick zoom in and you can tell the difference. Try a tripod and you’ll see the difference!
Griffin Hammond recommended one of the Pedco-brand ultra clamps and I found on a recent trip that it allowed me to get stable time lapse shots with my phone when I combined it with the Joby GripTight Smartphone Mount.
Yikes, I must be the only person here not aware of the no tripod rule in NYC….please tell what means. Thank you!
Hi Robert – it’s not an official “rule” so there’s nothing to really tell you. It’s just that photographers often encounter a “no tripod” sign especially at many rooftop locations in NYC. If you haven’t then consider yourself lucky 🙂
For Empire they trained the securiry and Magic arms are no go anymore. Tried 2 days ago. They took my tripod and magic arm – actually they said I can have magic arm but no clamp 🙂 so no use.
I sometimes use one of those airplane neck pillow’s that are filled with little beads ( I took about 20% out of mine ) and snuggle my camera into it.
Here are a few advanced ways to mount your cameras.
Rare earth magnets with a 1/4-20 screw holding a small ball head will work on cars, inside and out, and other steel structures. A small piece of flexible plastic, IE, old ID card etc, between the magnet and surface will prevent scratches and make removal easier. An aluminum plate with 3 or 4 magnets as ‘legs’ with a ball head in the middle of the other side will work on irregular curved surfaces like a car hood.
A Glaziers’/glass handling suction cup can be had for <$20.00, mount a small ball head to the handel and stick it to smooth surfaces ie glass, metal, tile, etc.
The magnet and suction cup will work upside down and on vertical walls.
If you make your own bean/sand bags make one with a bar in the middle across the narrow side as a divider for 2 sides allowing it to drape over a rail. A 1/4-20 screw through the bar will allow for a ball head or if the bar is steel use the magnetic ball head.
Look for cap magnets like CAP_R0036 or CAP_R0048 from supermagnetman dot com
Your comment is packed absurdly full of solid and helpful information! Can’t wait to give these a try. I appreciate people writing articles, but in a few paragraphs I have become anxious to try sticking my camera to cars and windows – and upside down!
I’ve used my Ultrapod II with a small-ish crop body strapped to a similar wall that had some holes where the glass pieces joined. Worked great but I was nervous for the camera!
Wait! So this is a real rule? No tripods allowed on rooftops? Why ? Or why not?
It’s not a “real rule” but it’s something that a lot of people run in to when photographing on rooftops or in many other places.
Although I haven’t done shooting in New York, I have carried around a Bogen Super Clamp with a small ball head attached to it for years. (All it takes is a slightly modified stud for the thread.) I have used it on vacation to do “selfies”, used it to attach remote flashes to rails, and have done long time exposure shots with it. Walls like the glass ones shown in the shots would be an ideal use for it, and easy to explain to any security guard that bothered you. When I do food photography, it has come in handy on an uncountable number of shots…
Thanks so much for your post, Matt! I recently watched a video regarding using the Platypod Pro, but your pictures cleared up how this tool can really help stabilize your camera, even when just being handheld. I am definitely going to invest in one!
It’s easier to tip over on a unicycle than in a chair.
How was this any different than just resting the ballhead on the piece of glass directly? The bottom of the ballhead is flat. Seems like the platypod is excessive in the case where you’re holding on to the camera anyway.
This is really old school but I had a hardcover photography book that fit into my camera bag. I had a 1/4 20 bolt with large diameter washers and 2 nuts. The book had a hole thru the cover. (To drill the hole I pressed the book between plywood and c-clamps then drilled all the way through it.). I could fasten the bolt thru the book in seconds, mount a mini ball head on the end of the bolt sticking just above the cover and bam! Supper stable platform.
But this was like 26 years ago as a Military Combat Photographer. Lots of cool gizmos now! But it worked pretty good back in the day!
You would probably be surprised how many bolts and fasteners use the same size and thread that a tripod uses!
Used hotel and restaurant/bar lamps a lot too! The nut on top to hold a lampshade is the same size!
Funny stories go along with many of those images!
This was before digital!
I caused such a stink at Top of the Rock that they finally looked the other way when I promised to skinny up the legs on my sticks. A large suction cup mount with ball head would work if you knew to bring it along. I repurposed a baby carriage for hyperlapse that may also thwart museum security, etc. Fingers crossed.
I backed the Platypod on Kickstart and have loved it since the day I received it. It’s great for waterfalls and other areas where the terrain is rugged. Also it’s great for getting those low angle shots with my Canon 70D with it’s articulating screen
I use a wheelchair all day, everyday. One upside is I can mount the camera with monfrotto arm and be a rolling human slider & tripod.
I think we can do some amazing photography together Loren! 🙂
I find a fellow photographer and trade shoulders
I have cradled my camera using my shoe!
Maybe not the best on a ledge 40 stories up, but works just fine on a floor. I’ve used it in cathedrals to get good lines toward the alters.
The annoying aspect of the tripods ban (we had a similar one in DC within “The Base”) is that it purports to mitigate rogue RPG launches by terrorists.
That silly concept is dead with the advent of drones anyway.
In tripod ban areas I use my Porter Case with the dolly handle extended and a clamp/ballhead attached for camera interface.
It holds my gear and supports the camera too.
If an assistant is with me, I use their shoulder as a support 🙂
I’ve used a beanbag and cable release in NYC many times. If no cable release simply use your timer. http://www.kinnisonphotography.com/States/New-York/i-RgwVCC9
There have been similar times where I’ve wanted to photograph a landscape or a beautiful ceiling in low light situations. My solution came to me at the Louvre. I set my camera to the timer setting, waited till the coast was clear, put it on the ground and pressed the shutter button. I set it for 5 seconds which gave me enough time to step out of the way. Worked like a charm!
Since then, I’ve used the same technique in a variety of situations where I had a stable surface.
While teaching old geezer photography at the local U, I’ve suggested to my older students that a camera clamped to their walker might be a nice tripod substitute for certain places. Have not tried it myself.
I live near Paris and tripods are banned in many places, especially cathedrals, rooftops, etc. I found a cheap (about $1.50) alternative where I can take panos, tilt up/down, and take long-exposures. What is it? A bag of birdseed and I place it in a ziplock bag and tape with duct tape.
Yes, I’m doing the same thing with a bag of rice….works great!
Went up ‘Top of the Rock’ and the good old trusty bean bag (small one from Fuji and my favourite little gadget) worked an absolute treat.
This was my resulting effort…
Just got back from Paris, using the Platypod Pro throughout the entire trip, no tripods allowed almost anywhere in Paris. I had no issues with the Platypod Pro going the many security checks throughout the city, you can’t even walk into the Disney Store without a bag search. For the most part, the Platypod Pro saved me, but I quickly became frustrated with the itty-bitty ball head that came with it. I’m in the market for a larger and user friendly ball head, but sadly wont be buying the Really Right Stuff BH-40 ballhead, a little too $$$ for my needs. I’m also waiting to see if the “Mini Plaster Hand” strap system in Indiegogo works as well as promised on railings and round surfaces. Hopefully they will begin shipping this month…
Are you still involved with On1? I have attended some of your workshops in the past and loved your teaching style . You were with Kelby then and attended a Lightroom course you taught.
Retired now and enjoying photography even more.
Wish you the best.
Hi Jim. I’m not at ON1 anymore but I still do a lot with them and still am on ON1 Plus coach. I wrote more about it here: https://mattk.com/update-new-adventure/
Lot of folks commenting about NYC (Top of the Rock, Empire State Building). Here’s my real-world experience.
Top of the Rock:
No tripods or mono-pods, there are signs, and security will not even let you through with one. Occasionally, I see a post from someone saying they got away with it, it’s rare, but lapses do happen, but don’t count on it.
You can take up Manfrotto Magic Arms, but as Matt said, security will frown on the Magic Arms (depends on who’s on duty, and how crowded it is).
Platypods are OK for now, but there are only a few places you can use them, the glass walls at Top of the Rock are about eight feet tall, so your not going to be resting one on top of it. Same for table top tripods (like the RRS Pocket Pod.
All visitors and bags pass through an x-ray scanner (think airport).
No Manfrotto Magic Arms, Tripods, or Mono-pods, there are signs, and security will not even let you through with one – confiscated at checkpoint and returned when you come back down. I once tried to sneak the Magic Arms past security to no avail, they know what they are and won’t let you take them up. I haven’t tried Platypods or table top tripods (like the RRS Pocket Pod) so not sure those are allowed..
Your best bet is to find smaller venues in the city with rooftop access (Like Ink 48 Hotel). Do a Google search for NYC Rooftop Bars, lots of locations in NYC. They are far less crowded than Top of the Rock or Empire State, you won’t have to wait to go up or pay a fee to go up. If you talk to the management well before hand, some will accommodate requests for photographers to bring tripods – remember to say please and thank-you, and a generous tip goes a long way (don’t expect to be able to be able to use a tripod on Friday or Saturday night). And once you do get permission to use a tripod, remember to buy at least one or two drinks and tip the server or bartender well (if they’re unhappy about you being there, you’ll get bounced pretty quickly).
Thanks for the input Mitchell, I hope to make a trip to NYC in 2017 for some night photography and the info you provided will help me prepare! I’ve copy and pasted it for my notes 🙂
I went to Top Of The Rock in May 2016. Carried my lightweight MeFoto travel tripod right through. I had to open the carry case and show the guards what was in there. I didn’t see any “no tripod” signs. It was super crowded right at sunset, but I set up my tripod at one of the breaks in the glass and shot for an hour, occasionally moving to allow others to use the spot. At Empire State I did have to check the tripod.
The platypod has saved me many times at might – I love it!!
Hi Matt, I’d be interested to know your thoughts on the 16-70 with the A6300 as I’ve seen such a mixed bag of reviews about that lens when compared with the 16-50. Principally that it doesn’t justify the price difference and that image quality differences are minimal.
Hi Mark. I’ve given up on reviews a lot time ago. I didn’t do a side-by-side with the 16-50 kit lens. I do know that the extra 20mm helps and having it fixed at f/4 throughout helps especially if I want to shoot portraits or be more creative with depth of field. Personally for me, it’s been excellent. Thx 🙂
Hi Matt I have had success using the really right stuff pocket pod with the BH-25 on roof top locations. I had no problem using it at top of the rock in NYC. It actually fits well on the ledge and I know its secure with really right stuff. I also find depending on the camera if you have a battery pack you can use your phone or smaller objects under the lens hood to balance it out and get good long shutter speed photos.
Here’s one of my quick tips, a variation of the bean bag idea. I live in Canada where we do a lot of canoe tripping and backpacking. We also have a lot of rain and snow and, of course, the best time to get interesting landscape photos is when the weather is at it’s worst. So I always have drybags in my backpack. My favorite is this one from SeaToSummit: http://www.seatosummit.com/product/?item=Ultra-Sil%26reg%3B+Dry+Sack&o1=3&o2=3&o3=284-22. Just pop in to any local grocery or 7-11 store and buy a couple pounds of rice or dried beans, dump them into the drybag, roll up the top and, voila!, instant beanbag. Plus when you get back home you have a head start on dinner. If you’re out on a trail somewhere you can substitute whatever is handy for the rice – sand, rocks, dirt, small sticks. My dog got upset one time when I used his kibble. I recommend the 8 liter size drybag for most full size cameras with long lenses but the 4 liter would be adequate for smaller ones. You could substitute a large ziplock bag but they’re not as sturdy and reliable as the drybags. When you’re done, empty the drybag, turn it inside-out, rinse it off in clean water and let it dry in the sun for next time. You get to carry around a customizable beanbag without the the disadvantage of the extra weight and volume. And if you’re into canoe tripping, you can eliminate the tripod from your pack.
The rice can also save your electronics on those rainy days…haha
Hey Matt, wish I was there! I probably would have smuggled in a monopod. Maybe put sunglasses on and tap around the floor with it – LOL! If that doesn’t work, I think Neil’s comment on the Bean bag is a pretty decent idea 🙂
Thanks Matt. I just recently received the new Platypod Pro Max just for this reason; I have not had a chance to put it to the test.
I have the RRR TFA-01 Pocket Pod with a ME Photo ball head..
I use it with both my a7 & a6000. It a breeze to use and has the advantage of
adapting to uneven surfaces. Highly recommended.
I thought everyone carried a good sized old “bean bag” in their camera bag for these type trips. The larger the bag the better…can easily be made.
Amen. Beanbag. Never leave home without it. Cheap, easy, light, stable as can be. Used mine extensively in New York for night skyline long exposures.
Used a beanbag for a 3 minute exposure, with my Pentax, no cable release, at the Berlin Wall, 1978. Got through two exposures before my hands cramped holding the shutter down.
Thats awesome Paul! I appreciate you sharing that story! I should look into one of those bags, I carry a small pocket sized bendable tripod but it cant hold my F100 as well as I want it to.
I have used a ziplock bag almost full of rice (uncooked!).
I’ve heard many travel travel with Manfrotto Magic Arms so they can clamp on to virtually any structure like railing, glass wall, etc.
Hey Tommy – yeah, i’ve seen those. Only problem is that I could TOTALLY see a security guard or manager frowning upon “clamping” something to their structure. But they do work wonders and are really solid.
Hi Matt. Just came from NYC, and “Top of the Rock”. No sign about not using a tripoid, as far as I saw. We came pretty late, dark sky. But no problem shooting with my Fujufilm X-E2 and a Samyang 12 mm f2,0. I used a cap and my cellphone to tilt the camera, and shot with a 2 sec delay. The pics were more than good enough for me. Here is one of the pictures from my blog, written in norwegian language only: https://infotobloggen.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/nyc5a-3777.jpg
All the best. H 🙂
Nice! Love it!
Many years ago, I saw a real deal- Take a long strap, make a foot hole and sew it/ rivit it or ?? and then measure up to your eye, make a hole and insert a long 1/4 X 20 bolt and lock nut(one can buy a wing nut bolt that is long enough to go thru the strap and have extra to fit into the camera tripod hole). A strap tripod that fits into your pocket- Place your foot in the strap hole (you made) and screw in the strap nut at the other end, into the tripod hole on the camera, lean “UP” to tighten the strap. Take your stabilized photo!! All of 15 minutes to make it!! About 20 members of our 800 member Photo Club have made them!! I used it late one nite last week at an old mission! I enjoy your column!!
Thanks for what you do!!
Thanks Ronald – how long of exposures do you really get from it. That sounds great. I tried it years ago and I didn’t have much luck with anything over a couple of seconds though. Interested to see what you’re able to pull from it. Thx 🙂
Doesn’t work that well for me.
The exif is intact in his file, was 1/5th exposure, ISO 2,500, probably f/2 (samyang lens don’t have electronic contact so it shows up as f/1 in the exif).
Though to do that 1/5th of a second at f/2 (I’m assuming was wide open) you had to shoot at ISO 2,500. Certainly good enough as you say, but could be better, and the look of the scene could be quite different with several second exposure and a lower ISO. Depending on the view of the streets and if the night had clouds it would be a more intriguing effect shooting a 15 second exposure streaking the traffic and clouds.