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General Night-time Urban

10 Minute Photo Outing Challenge

Get out there and enjoy photography. It doesn’t always have to be about taking amazing works of art…

The video where I attempt taking photos in the bitter cold for 10 minutes with a phone. Technically I had two phones and spent time filming the video.

If you want to get some photography practice in, but have limited time, then I think this could be a fun photography challenge. While I was out for the day, I brought a small kit that included my main phone for photos (LG Stylo 3), an older one for b-roll (XG L Power), and a small flexible tripod. It was 17 degrees F and I didn’t have a set goal in mind until I thought of limiting it to 10 minutes to see what I could manage in that amount of time.

This park has fun lighting at night. It’s great to experiment with.

This isn’t about quality or taking perfect images. It’s about pushing yourself and always trying to learn, practice, and grow in your craft. Always try to keep moving forward. In my case I’m usually doing a mixture of photograph and videography at the same time. It adds to the hurdle I have to get over each time because that means more gear and more juggling of that equipment.

Video quality in extremely dark conditions on the LG X Power phone leaves something to be desired… haha.
The result of the behind the scenes photo above.

The nice thing about phones is that they are compact and can often be brought with you nearly anywhere if you have a pocket large enough. In my case taking my current phone and an older one for b-roll video isn’t any extra effort, so it works well. I have a bendable tripod that is often left in my car that I can use for the phone doing video.

For photography I’m often using the Open Camera application. Thanks to Mark Harman for investing so much time into that application and offering it up as open source. Someday I’d like to examine the code in detail. This app adds a lot of additional functionality to the phone compared to the default camera application. While it can’t do full manual settings, it can do exposure compensation and in turn lock that exposure. That adds flexibility for creatively deciding on exposure. The biggest feature is that it can write DNG RAW images that allow for more possibilities in post processing compared to JPEGs from the phone.

What ISO ~2205 on the LG Stylo 3 looks like after editing the DNG. Not amazing, but fun to practice with.

Video Transcription:

Today we're looking at a 10-minute photo
outing. I'm gonna go over all the photos

that I took. Some of what I was doing at
the time. Main goal here was just to go out

and take photos. It was already dark out.
I only had a few locations that would

work. I had two phones with me and a little

tripod for the b-roll. Worked out pretty
nicely, of course these phones are not

great for dark conditions. First thing I
saw where the flagpoles of course.

Shooting up into the fly poles. That
means you can get a lot of the pole

itself in the photo filling the frame.
And autofocus was not great in that

situation. It was super dark in that
little spot, but I did get one photo that looks okay...

looks okay. It was around 17 degrees
Fahrenheit, which is pretty cold.

I don't even know what I'm doing out here...

And it was challenging with phones to take
photos because you're usually taking

your gloves off, put them back on. Even
when you have that touch capability on

the gloves it doesn't really work too
well. Especially on screens like this.

Any type of source of light are great
opportunities for photos in dark

conditions because you can easily focus
on that. And I took a few pictures of

these little lamps they have around at
the park.

These plants here had a nice texture to
them and some snow on them so definitely

wanted to try to take some photos of
that.

The central structure, or monument, or
whatever you wanna call it in this

little park is a good photo op. With
this specific phone, it has one focal length.

One camera in it. And I wasn't finding
great angles for that one spot. Take

photos anyways. 
See what you get out of it...

I had two sets of plants that didn't
work out. Autofocus was definitely one

of the main challenges in this little
photo outing. Especially with gloves on.

This evergreen with a loop. I was trying
to find a good angle, good position to

take some photos of it. I did get a few that
were nicely in focus.

I tried using some of the lights in the
area for flares, sun bursts, that did work

out nicely. Of course. when you focus on
the light itself the phone will

automatically change the exposure. So you
can give different look to the photos.

Or focus on something else and then it'll
be a brighter picture.

But of course more noise in that situation.

Here we have some tall grasses. They still look
very nice for this time of year.

And in the background you've got all the lights
from a busy street.

This plants still looked pretty interesting.

The area was very dark so with this phone.

That didn't work out super amazing.

Here we have the
light shining down on this stone path.

I think I've taken some photos of this,
works out nicely. And then in the

background
have a different color of light with

those other structures.

I did try to take some photos of the flags, groups of

flags, worked out okay...

The reflection of the marble in this
area drew my eye...

More plants I wasn't able to get proper
focus on in this situation...

More tall grasses as well those are a
very nice subject.

At that point I hit the

ten-minute mark. I was done with the
photo outing. I did take one other photo

right afterwards. If you want to see that
one... But technically it does not count.

I think this is a good way to take
photos if you feel a little bit

unmotivated, you still want to go out
though. Just having a nice enjoyable time

doing photography, I think is a great
thing!