Holiday Lights for Smartphones


Blurry lights

Galaxy Ace Smartphone, Fireworks mode. Hand held with hold and pan action.

Braved – 15C and 6 inches of fresh snow to take some pictures with a Samsung Galaxy Ace, an entry level Android with a basic 5 mega pixel camera.

Learn 3 three modes your smartfone likely has that make night pictures easy.

  1. Night Mode
  2. Candle Mode
  3. Fireworks Mode

This is a challenge assignment that you can try tonight. Make some holiday images to share on your social websites. Follow the examples and have fun. Our goal will be to find some festive night-lit decorations and take control of SHUTTER tools to create a one-of-a-kind photograph to share with family and friends. Review this article as well.

Smartphone Users!

Smartphone photographers are limited only by their imaginations. With a bit of FAST ingenuity you can make amazing pictures that everyone will think were taken with a fancy DSLR. This article explores how you can control the SHUTTER on a smartphone.

Smartphone Tip:  If you haven’t read the original FAST articles now would be a good time to do so.

These two images were shot at Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto’s City Hall (Yes, Mayor Rob Ford has his office there.) Basically are similar except for a small variation in color. Both “Night” and “Candle Light” are typical modes available in your smartphone “Scene” choices.

Smartphone Tip:  Review your smartphone manual and experiment. There are probably a lot of settings you never noticed. Ad an APP to your tools and you will have a very powerful photographic tool in your hands where ever you go!


Fireworks Mode forces the camera SHUTTER to stay open for a few seconds or until enough light to capture an exposure is received.

Your camera or smartphone will have its own particular Fireworks program so you will need to practice with it to get a feel for what you can do. In the case of “Rob Ford’s Holiday Tree” I wanted to create a drag effect similar to the Mount Royal image discussed here. My self assignment was to preserve the the feel of the actual location and and a special effect with SHUTTER control. In the gallery below you can see some of the experiments that are in their own right pretty cool too.

To achieve the feature image above I framed the tree and tapped the “Take Picture” icon on my Galaxy Ace. It took a moment to focus and then the screen went black indicating a picture was being taken and the SHUTTER was open. I paused a moment to burn in the image and then moved the camera up into the sky until there was only blackness in the frame. You can see the variations in the shots in the gallery.

DSLR Users!

If you had fun with these SHUTTER ideas you might find this external tutorial that uses APERTURE control to create some inspiring ideas for nighttime light photography. Enjoy and come back soon.
Confession!

I used Adobe Elements to combine the “Night” mode shot with a crisp image of the tree with the swished version to create a final image that created the final image. FAST photography ends with T for THINK so using software to help you THINK of ways to make your image “just right” is absolutely part of the process.


DSLR Users!

This site has a great discussion on the subject of light trails.

  Shoot FAST
 …Geo
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