Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Using iPhone5 for nighttime images

In today's Part II of a three-post series about images that can be taken with a phone camera, I present results of a pretty good test of the iPhone5's capabilities under difficult circumstances -- specifically, after dark. I was pretty pleased with the results.

I was walking along South Street in Indianapolis, between East and Delaware streets in downtown Indianapolis, when I was struck by the array of lighting on the grounds of the Lilly Research Laboratories. I strolled onto the property and just started taking pictures. I took the majority of the photos after dark, on my return trip. Earlier in the evening, at about twilight, I'd passed along the same route and took a few shots facing north to capture the downtown skyscrapers. I'll include those photos here as well.

The pictures you see here are either virtually "as shot," i.e., almost straight from the camera (with some sharpening, zero or very minor cropping, and/or straightening in post-processing). I made copies of many of those files, then boosted shadow detail in those copies. I'll note such instances in the captions. The lead-off photo is one of the examples of minor shadow boosting being added in post-processing.

Above and below: Slightly different distances of the South Street entrance to Lily Research Laboraoties. The shot above was without any boost in shadow detail; the one below reflects some slight shadow boost (and also caught the red spotlight on top of the building in mid-flash).

Above: The interesting parking lot median lighting architecture. No shadow boosting was done with this image. 

Above: The walkway in front of the Lily building, looking east. The midtone boost in this image was done in-camera, before post-processing.

Above: Another shot of the parking lot median lighting system. This image ... unless the previous of the same subject ... does reflect post-processing shadow boost. 

Above and next three below: These shots, taken from different points and perspective along the walkway in front of the Lily building, all reflect in-camera midtone boosts, but nothing else in post-processing except sharpening and straightening. The luminary in the sky below is a waning gibbons moon -- which is a stage very early into the transition from a full to new moon.

Above and next two below: Pre-nighttime shots nooking north and slightly west toward the downtown skyline. The shots above and below are the same image, with the one above reflecting a slight boost in shadow detail in post-processing. The second shot below, also treated with a slight boost in shadow detail, also reflects a crop to remove a much larger chunk of foreground parking lot. It was taken from a point further east to get much more of the Chase Bank building into the frame. 

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