Night Photos with iPhone 11Pro

We were taking an evening walk in our community to get a few more steps in before settling in for the evening. It was a pleasant evening and the sidewalks were well lit. As we were going by the Meeting House, I decided to try a few night images with my iPhone 11Pro. It is supposed to be pretty good in low light, but have not really tried it at night. Here it was actually dark and I was surprised how good the images were straight out of the iPhone. It seemed to automatically somewhat balance nicely the highlights & darkness. Especially since there was a wide mix of darkness, spotlights and ambient lights along the sidewalk. I have tried shooting Raw files on the iPhone 11 Pro, but did not see that much difference so I just shoot jpegs with it. But I do have my Photoshop setup to open jpegs as raw files so I can pull even more detail and have more adjustments from the jpeg file before I actually  open them in Photoshop. I have not seen a significant difference on the jpeg files in image quality doing this and have printed these kind of files quite large. It goes against my normal work flow of shooting Raw files on all my other cameras. I was using the iPhone 11 Pro’s 4.3mm lens (Full Frame FOV equivalent ~26mm). The featured image is also 2 vertical 16×9 images blended, side by side to get a little bit wider view. When I am photographing with the iPhone I usually always use the 16×9 format. The image below is basically from the same spot but I just turned around from photographing the featured image. I was pleasantly surprised at the images because the exposures were 1/30 sec. on the Meeting House and 1/8 sec. for the image below. The exposure actually seemed much much longer and you could see some blurry movement during the beginning of capture on the phone’s screen. But I guess the phone was doing a lot of processing & adjusting of the image as it was saving the final file.

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180 degree Opposite View from where I was standing

Christmas Lights At Longwood Gardens

We went to Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square, PA, for their annual Christmas light displays. These are just a few of the outdoor displays at night. There are also many other displays throughout the Conservatory and other buildings. One of the other very interesting displays was a room full of decorations with amazing ornaments made from books and other paper pages. They must have been cut/fabricated maybe by laser cutting. But it was amazing to see the intricate cutting & fabrication. I will post some of them next. Most of the images I shot with an Olympus OMD-1 mk I with a 14-140mm Panasonic lens (with the lens stabilization turned off). I was also using a Canon body with a 12-24mm lens,  but was relying more on the OMD for in-body stabilization. Much lighter to carry and with the stabilized body worked well for the images in early evening. I found the Olympus in-body stabilization worked better than the Panasonic lens stabilization. Plus if you stop down to f/22 you can get some really cool motion blurs or spins with the Olympus OM-D. I saw a few tripods being used, but you usually have to get a free permit for them and cannot use tripods after 2:00. Plus it was so crowded it would have been in the way, so they probably would not allow it for this time.

The featured image above was at 22mm with the 4/3 Olympus OM-D mkI.

We had to get there early, before 2:00 in the afternoon, otherwise, even being members, you had to have a timed entrance because of the huge crowds that come to see the night displays. Also getting there later you have to park off site and take shuttles to the facility. But there is plenty to see before the evening lights up! It takes hours to go through the Conservatory, which is all decorated for Christmas, and you still probably will not see everything.



Late afternoon along the walkways, getting ready for the full impact of the lights at night.


Fountains set to music – when darker they would have colorful lights


Along the path to other fountains & displays starting to get dark.


3 image panorama @14mm- assembled in Photoshop


Birdhouse Display early evening before dark, 18mm, f/10 @ 1/5 sec


Bird house display in the dark, f/ 5.6 @ 0.3 sec


3 image panorama – 14mm. Also these were cascading lights, so in a way it is also an Image Stack that included the cascading lights as they “fell”.  14mm, 1/3rd of a second each exposure, handheld. Pano & stacked in Photoshop. f/8 @ 1/8 sec, handheld


2 image vertical panorama & stack. Panorama to show reflections in water and stack to include more of the cascading lights.


Single image, m43 15mm, 1/8 Sec to show green lights before changing to another color, handheld.


Christmas Tree Changing Color of Lights, 1/13th sec, handheld, m43 @ 32mm

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Tree with Lights and Color Spotlights on Tree Trunk. f/ 4.5 @ 12mm Canon, 1/30th sec

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Another Tree with Lights, 12mm Canon, f/ 4.5 @ 1/13 sec. handheld

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3 image Panorama, 24mm Canon, f/ 5.6 @ 1/8 sec. handheld

Sanibel Night Sky

While in Sanibel Florida, I tried shooting a few night sky shots. In the Northeast it is usually too bright to shoot night skies with stars, so I thought Sanibel on the Gulf would be a good place to try. When I started it was a clear night, but as soon as I got setup, clouds started to come in. I got a few shots anyway and it was fun to try. Exposures are fairly long and use ISOs that are higher than usual. I used exposures from 10 sec to 30 seconds. I did not have an Intervalometer or cable release to control longer exposures, so I was limited to the built in maximum shutter exposure of 30 seconds. Most digital camera bodies limit you to 30 seconds. Battery life at long exposures and long exposure noise reduction in the firmware really drains the batteries quickly. Also use a sturdy tripod and try not to touch the tripod or camera during the exposure, any little movement will show in your image.  As it was, there was a slight breeze so some leaves have a slight movement. You can also try painting the trees or foreground with a small flashlight during the exposure to add texture to foreground subjects. This takes a little practice, but adds some more dimension and depth to your images. I seemed to like the look I got using ISO 1250 for most of the images, but this is all based on the camera body I was using. All images were shot with a Canon EOS 1D MkIV, Canon 24-105mm f/4 L set to 24mm and manually focused either to the trees or infinity.

The header photo exposure was f/5.6 @ 25 seconds, ISO 1250.

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f/4 @ 30 seconds, ISO 1250

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f/4 @ 30 seconds, ISO 1250 , you can see the glow along the horizon from the city of Ft. Myers and then drops off to the right once you get past the city lights & land.

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f/4.5 @ 30 seconds, ISO 2000

f/4 @ 30 seconds, ISO 1250


f/6.3 @ 30 seconds, ISO 1250 trees painted with light from a small LED handheld flashlight


f/4 @ 30 seconds, ISO 1250 The streak on the right side is an airplane with its light flashing giving a dotted line streak.


f/8 @ 30 seconds, ISO 1250 tree lite with ambient light from a nearby outdoor light on the path.

f/4 @ 30 seconds, ISO 1250 – photo below_43G9452 v2

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