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Hotshots: Stuck on the Highway at Night

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Read Time: 2 min

In this series, we present a look-book of authentic photographs collected by the writers and editors here at Envato Tuts+. We hope these pictures inspire ideas, help kindle new projects, and give you a better understanding of visual communication.

Today's Image: Panama City Traffic Cars On Highway And Streets At Night. This image is by diego_cervo and it's available on Envato Elements.

Panama City Traffic Cars On Highway And Streets At NightPanama City Traffic Cars On Highway And Streets At NightPanama City Traffic Cars On Highway And Streets At Night
Panama City Traffic Cars On Highway And Streets At Night

A Closer Look at This Image

Car headlights at night are always an interesting subject for photography. High vantage points are popular too – in many ways this image is like a hundred others, but there’s still something that makes it stand out. Let’s take a closer look.


Even though photos of cars at night are popular, they do tend to be long exposures of light trails. For that you need moving cars, so even though this image is a long exposure (you can see some trails) the majority of the cars are stuck in tailbacks.

Ordinarily this would be fairly boring, but I think the combination of some trails and then lines of car headlights works quite well. It accentuates the shape and tangle of the roads

Leading Lines

Few perspectives work better for highway shots than a high vantage point. It gives us a great view of the traffic and the road layouts.

Flyovers always look good because you see a jumble of criss-crossed lines and lights, and the traffic going in conflicting directions – it’s chaos but in the best way because you’re above it all, literally.


Here, we have three roads with traffic going from the top to the bottom of the frame. Three is always a pleasing number and it works well here, particularly as the traffic going in the opposite direction is sparse, so it doesn’t distract.

The curve of traffic on the right would frame this image nicely, so it’s a shame that the image doesn’t end there – the few lanes of traffic to the far right is a little off-putting and makes me feel like there’s more happening out of sight which is frustrating.

Reading a Photograph

We'd love to hear your take on this photograph, and if you're not sure where to begin, then How to Read a Photograph will get you started with how to analyse photography. Mostly, it's just saying what you see and how you feel about an image!

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