Sino Neon via Technology Advances

Sino Neon, Santana Row - San Jose, California

Sino Neon, Santana Row – San Jose, California

Every time I’m at Santana Row, I’m drawn to these neon signs. Not only do I love neon and glow of lights at night, but there are three of them, which always excites photographers. Repeating patterns of three or odd numbers just seem to look better.

Some five years ago, I was “accosted” by a security guard at Santana Row. My crime? Using a tripod to make photographs. I even talked about that incident in this blog post “I’m a Professional Because I use a Tripod”. No such problem this time. I was using my Canon G7X Mark II, which looks like a standard point and shoot camera, to the uninitiated.

Technology has come a long way since then. I’m actually pretty happy with the way this picture came out. Neon is notoriously difficult to shoot well. I used to resort to HDR, on tripod, to capture it with some adequacy. With a combination of a proper exposure, advanced post-processing technology, and better dynamic range from a modern sensor, I was able to create this photograph from a single exposure.

The key is to underexpose, which I did by a stop in this case, not to blow out the neon’s color. Then I brought up the shadows in Capture One. I even selectively enhanced the reds for more impact. In-body image stabilization helped too, since I was able to shoot at ISO 125 at 1/6 of a second. Using the lowest ISO allows for more post processing latitude.

Beyond the techno-babble, the bottom line is that I can make pictures like this with a compact camera. Not so long ago, it would have required a high-end mirrorless or DSLR on tripod and HDR blending skills.


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4 thoughts on “Sino Neon via Technology Advances

  1. Wonderful night color.

    I just got a new Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ-1000 (25-400mm) and it’s got a whole new plethora of things it will do I didn’t know cameras COULD do. I was doing what I do with a new camera — you know, the ones that come with either none or useless manuals — and shooting anything I could focus. I found something called “point focus” and aimed it at my dog who was sitting on the sofa in a room with almost no light except for the TV and two 40-watt lights.

    The computer (I mean camera, but maybe I mean computer) narrowed in on his nose, then told me it was going silent because dogs don’t like noise (how did it KNOW I was shooting a dog?) and took pictures. They were pretty clear, considering the dog was moving, the light was low and the lens is only f2.8.

    It also gave me a little onscreen lecture about — I kid you not — babies and dogs and camera noise. Who knows what other secrets it holds?

      1. It’s multi-face sensitive to animals and humans. You can have it memorize specific faces, too, though I haven’t quite figured out how yet. I have never wanted a good manual more than I do now!

        But how cold it know that was a dog? It knew. It also knew the noise should be turned off.

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