Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Red Eye Over Chicago

Red Eye Over Chicago, originally uploaded by Gamut's Edge.

Last night I worked the red eye from LAX to JFK. It was cloudy most of the way across, but the clouds broke over the Midwest and I was able to get this shot of Chicago from 37,000 feet. This view is from the right window looking towards the south. Out in the hazy distance on the left side of the plane we could see Madison and Milwaukee Wisconsin.

After much trial and error I've come up with some default camera settings for nighttime aerial city photos. I set the ISO to 3200, aperture to f/2.8, and shutter speed to 1/30 sec. With that combination the lights show up and the dark areas stay black. In photoshop I do a curves adjustment that turns the dark areas to complete black and slightly brighten the lighted areas. I then use unsharp mask with settings: amount 20, radius 50, threshold zero. The USM pops some of the lights out.

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