The Blue Hour

I happened to glance out the window about an hour ago and I caught a very blue looking dusk with an almost full moon. It helps that the bridges are blue and that the view contains some water – the whole thing just looked like it had been washed in blue:

Shot with a Canon 50D and the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 at ISO 100 f/2.5

This is a 3 exposure shot tonemapped with Photomatix. The colour was not augmented in any way (i.e., no blue tones added or bumped in post-processing).

I originally thought it would be good to do this as an iPhone HDR comparison shot, but it’s just not a fair comparison. I’ll post the iPhone shot anyway, but the fact is, as useful as it sometimes is to get the extra light in shots with my iPhone, there are very few shots where it seems to have made any discernible difference.

I would probably attribute the lack of difference to the fact that, because I know how to shoot manually with an SLR and I think about light, composition, etc., when I take an iPhone shot, I’m already maxing out the light potential in the scene and positioning the camera for the best results.

The result with the iPhone is not a “bad” photo, but it will not have me abandoning my quick 3-exposure tonemapped technique any time soon. It came out very noisy, so here it is as-is (cropped to get almost the same view as the 30mm on my 50D):

iPhone HDR no post-processing

And here it is after applying Imagenomic’s Noiseware:

iPhone HDR + Imagenomic's Noiseware

More than anything, when I look at the above two photos, this seems a good sales pitch for Imagenomic’s Noiseware (which is, by the way, an excellent product)!

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  • I like the noiseware and have it on my PC. I don’t even know if it is available for an iMac.

    I like your blue photograph. I see things that are all new to me. Tokyo was a big city in 1953 but more like a country town or city then. There were very few traffic lights and not that many cars. Taxicabs were plentiful and buses and street cars but almost all people came and went by train. Even the pimps and prostitutes on the Ginza.

    Please, if you have time, come to see my blog about Sendai-shi between 1953-1956.


    • Thanks for the visit, oldmanlincoln! There is indeed noiseware available for Macs – a few to choose from and I happen to use Imagenomic’s Noiseware plugin.

      You have some great photos yourself and it is fascinating to see your shots from the 1950s! I am sure Tokyo looks absolutely and completely different because if there is any one true thing about this city it is that it is in a constant state of change and development. Even in my time here, things have changed a lot.

      The view in the “Blue Hour” shot is all new development: the whole area around Tokyo Bay has changed/is changing and many of those buildings are less than 10 years old. It is so close to central Tokyo that continuing development means it will look completely different again in about 5 years.

  • Michael

    I agree – Noiseware is great. Nice tonemapped HDR too.