One slow night in the MPC, I took a Nikon D3 out for a little test-run. The camera performed admirably, although the meter is completely bonkers in low light. I had to shoot manual and under-expose (per the meter) every shot by 1–2 stops, and then tweak the heck out of the RAW files in Aperture. I've never chimped that much in my life. However it performed better in daylight; those images will get here soon(ish).
Anyway the Village at night is gorgeous. It's pretty clear that both landmark venues, the "Bird's Nest" and the "Water Cube", were designed to look amazing at night. I wasn't very impressed with either of them during the day, but to be fair they grew on me. However in total disclosure, when I first arrived in Beijing, I compared the National Stadium (the Bird's Nest) to the Brussels 1958 World Fair's Atomium and its surrounding structures (1958—2008; 50 year anniversary… coincidence? You be the judge!). Not because of it's shape, but because of its hideousness against the grey sky. In Belgium, you have a pretty much guaranteed grey sky most days. Same in Beijing. I'd think that if you were going to build something that large in a city that's mostly grey during the day, you'd find a way to make it stand out. The brushed steel nest against the grey sky does not a pretty picture make.
Site of the 1958 Brussels World's Fair, taken in 1998 on a Kodak DC210 (!)
However again at night, this place really shines. And because of the heat, many events went well after dark, and most guests didn't leave the Village in a rush—there were thousands of people enjoying the warm night, the beautiful lights, the music and the water features late, late into the night.
Here are a few images; there are more in the gallery.
"One World, One Dream"… just not for YOU! (*ahem*)