Istanbul At Night

Cities always have a different feel at night. Some, like Naples, can be intimidating when you first set out in the dark, but also show their quirky side.

Istanbul lights up its most famous monuments, the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque, which makes photos at dusk and dark tempting. So tempting we were willing to pay for overpriced drinks on our first night just to sit outside on a rooftop bar with a great view.

Hagia Sophia at night.
Hagia Sophia at night.
Blue Mosque at night
Blue Mosque at night.
David with the Blue Mosque in the background
Istanbul Graffiti at Night
Istanbul Graffiti at night
Hagia Sophia at night.
Hagia Sophia at night.
Yes, this is an El Torito in Istanbul.

No, I have no idea why it’s there. I looked it up and it gets horrible reviews, but then again, why would anyone eat at a Mexican chain restaurant in Istanbul?

Night view of the Bosphorus from Residence La Vue
Night view of the Bosphorus from Residence La Vue
Sari Konak night view
View from the Sari Konak hotel at night.
Full moon x2

There was a full moon while we were there. Both David and I tried to get a photo of the moon itself but were unsuccessful. David took the photo above and the lower moon is a reflection in the camera lens. Oddly enough, that’s the one with the detail of the moon’s surface.

Galeta Tower at night
The view from the bed; the Galeta Tower at night with full moon.
Walking at night.
Istikal Caddesi at night
Istikal Caddesi
Flags and a full moon
Istikal Caddesi at night
Istikal Caddesi at night
Istanbul lamps at night
Istanbul lamps at night

Each time before a trip I tell myself I will take more night photos and each time it’s a struggle to get that perfect shot. I really need to have a tripod, but I just can’t be bothered to carry one. This time I brought a monopod but frankly I’m not sure it was worth the weight because I never carried it. Do you carry a tripod? What are your tricks for good night shots?

Blue Mosque at night.
Blue Mosque at night from the rooftop of the Sari Konak hotel.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Shelby says:

    I loved Istanbul! And, it’s so much fun to see your picture of graffiti…. that city had the best graffiti! (Sounds odd, I guess, unless you’ve been there!!!!).

    1. Yes Shelby, the graffiti was pretty cool. I like the stencil graffiti in Rome too.

  2. Lynn says:

    I agree that tripods can be cumbersome and hate carrying them as well. What I do is improvise and use something else to stabilize the camera and act as a tripod: a railing, a trash can, a barricade in the middle of the street! I just set the camera on it, compose the shot and (this is key!) set the auto timer. No touching the camera = no camera shake = (hopefully) no blurry photo! BTW, your night view of the Bosphorus from Residence La Vue is lovely. I’m really enjoying traveling through Turkey with you and look forward to more!

    1. Lynn, I’ve done exactly that (set the camera on something and used the auto timer) and it does work. I guess the advantage to a tripod is when there’s nothing to set the camera on.

  3. You seriously brought a little happy into my day with these pictures. And I agree with Lynn. Improvise and find something to just set the camera on. I can’t tell you how many times my tripod has sat in the hotel and I regret hauling it around the world.

    1. Yes, that’s my fear; that the tripod will sit in the hotel!

  4. Lhizzie says:

    I have never been to Istanbul and I think there are a lot of people who want to come there and have a great experience visiting a great place..

  5. Myra says:

    Lovely photos!

  6. Makes me want to go even more. Reminds me of the struggles we had in Prague, wanting to take decent pictures at night but facing so many obstacles.

    By the way, I bet those drinks were worth it with that view 🙂

    1. Kent, I had a hot chocolate and it definitely came from a packet. 🙁 But yes, the views were incredible!

  7. Diane says:

    Beautiful pics, I hope to get to Turkey someday!

  8. I love your shots of Istanbul – one of my favourite cities. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are always in Istikal Kaddesi at night! I’m hopeless at night shots so hubby recently bought me a gorillapod! I don’t know if you’ve seen one but it’s a small flexible mini tripod that I’m hoping will be the start of better night photography. At least it’s got more chance of coming on a trip!

    1. Yes, I’ve seen the gorillapod. They’re pretty cool, but have short legs so they still have to be set on something, or wrapped around something. Also, I think they work better with a point and shoot than with a DSLR, or you have to have the biggest one to support the weight of a DSLR. But please let me know how you like it. I’m willing to consider one because they are smaller in general.

  9. You’ve done a brilliant job capturing Istabul at night. I’ve been itching to visit for a while but now I feel a burning desire.

    1. Samuel- Thanks! We absolutely loved it there and would return in a heartbeat. If you do go, check back, I’ve got a lot more on Turkey in future posts!

  10. Born27 says:

    My god! You have no idea how bad I want to come to Turkey and your photos make Istanbul so beautiful. Thanks for sharing this with us1 Love it!

  11. Kristina, love your blog. Had no idea you just left Istanbul. Sharon told me to read up on you and David’s visit and glad I did, hopefully Sharon will give me the low down on good eats etc. if you have any ideas please throw them up on the blog….

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