Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Challenger’s Choice: Night Photography (NYC)

24 August 2015


Nightscape, New York City; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Nightscape, New York City; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Let me know what you think about my capture of a nighttime scene in New York City. Click onto image to enlarge.


To combine night photography and street photography is an area that I long to cultivate. During my recent trip to New York City, I had the opportunity to explore this desire.

Truly, it’s appeal is often shaken by the difficulty of success. Truly, it’s appeal sets the stage for anxiety and enthusiasm. This photographic challenge is made even more arduous with a Smartphone, even the sophisticated iPhone 6, which are habitually problematic in low light.

Manhattan is an ideal place to exercise this wish. City nights are flooded with light and shadows of all sorts, and spiced with architectural forms and shapes. Contrasts of blacks and whites are apparent and hidden.

The forces of movement are everywhere, stirring chance and opportunity. Light shifts and streams through various levels of heights and widths.

Some areas are so well-lit that it blows the chance for a shot. In other areas low light becomes dangerously prevalent and takes over the framing. Nevertheless, suddenly balance can confront or emerge around the corner.

There are few photographs from my archive that satisfy my idea of what a nocturnal frame should hold. In the Lens section is the only one from the NYC trip that met most of my criteria. While composition, subject, controlling the light, and the unusual splendor of the night show promise, it’s really about the immediate effect. Happenstance won me over as we ordered an ice cream treat, and I had an apt photo opportunity.

Tip of the Week: Several experiences have coerced me to consider adding another category to the Challenger’s Choice. And it definitely seems time to add a perk to the challenge. Over the last few months I’ve berated myself for not using the panorama feature on the native camera of my iPhone 6. There are many times that a scene warrants a taller or wider version of the subjects before me. So I began to ask myself: What’s keeping you? Mostly, it’s that I hardly ever use the native camera. I automatically go to Camera+, an app that has stellar qualities. And so it was on a walk this week that the morning sky was covered in fast-moving moody to sinister grey formations. Those clouds were so strongly inviting that I had to kick myself for not having my iPhone (hardly ever happens). Still, I took the occasion to relish the range of emotion that I felt scouring the drama swiftly going northward in rapid motion. But I also was captivated by the palette of whites to deep grey that carried rain clouds above me. It easily was a perfect setting for a panorama–a swath of horizontal clouds that seemed to be cantering above the horizon. They also were extremely low across the skyline. That sealed the thought that panorama is a genre to investigate. Starting today, please add it to the Challenger’s Choice. I hope to see some of your work in this category soon. Visit this website for “5 Tips for Taking Panorama Photos with Your Smartphone:” click here.

iPhone panorama-shot;

iPhone panorama-shot;

View other entries for this week’s challenge:


As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. My photographs for the mobile photography challenge are taken with an iPhone 6.

If you’d like to join this Mobile Photography Challenge, please click here for details and history of the challenge. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming challenges:

1st Monday: Nature.

2nd Monday: Macro.

3rd Monday: Black and White.

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Panorama, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.

This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Mobile Photography, Photography, Street Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Challenger’s Choice: Night Photography (NYC)

  1. kutukamus says:

    Yep, that cone is quite specific
    In making the night enthusiastic 🙂

    (PS: looks like your gravatar doesn’t link to your blog, just saying 🙂 )

  2. Just love the mood of that ice cream cone shot!

  3. Madhu says:

    Fab composition Sally! Love how you have counterbalanced the bright Ice-cream cone with the lights squares on the right.

  4. A cool juxtaposition. Makes the photo almost surreal.

  5. When I remember to use panorama I’m always happy with the result, thanks for the reminder! Lovely light in your night scene, Sally.

  6. The way you highlighted the ice cream cone statue, (?) so that it takes prominence in your capture is just genius. How did you do that? I need tons of practice with night photography.

    Re street photography, I love it even more now, especially after watching a documentary on the life and art of Vivian Maier.

    Am liking the new themes you’ve added to the 4th week.

    • Vivian Maier finally has gotten the recognition she deserved. I bought the 2011 book about her and her work, which inspires. The cone was on the end of an ice cream truck. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  7. This is a great photo. I have been trying out the panorama feature on my camera but so far not so successful. Now I must keep at it.

  8. RMW says:

    Wow, I have difficulty getting the right exposure at night with my DSLR…. I couldn’t imagine trying this with a phone…. great job!

  9. thirdeyemom says:

    I have such a hard time getting any pictures to turn out at night! I would love to learn how to do it !

  10. Indira says:

    Nice photograph Sally. I’m not able to take a nice view at night with my cell phone. Your panoramic view shot is wonderful. I’m a little confused, please tell me if my shot is panoramic-

  11. Su Leslie says:

    I love the composition of the shot; and the way the mind “fills in the blanks” with the geometric arrangement of light.

  12. I totally agree with you. Night Photography with an iPhone, even the 6, is a real challenge, but you have definitely shown no fear and exceptional skills. No surprise here, though.
    This photo is fantastic. I love the composition, and the dramatic effect created between the building lights, the giant ice cream in the dark background. It is artistic. Excellent photo, Sally.
    Thanks for the tips!

  13. Maria F. says:

    I like the simplicity of elements.

  14. The challenge of night street photography, sounds like something I put my mind to.
    Great great cone photo. 🍦 It was worth the struggle. Makes me smile.

  15. Angeline M says:

    Night shots. You’ve given inspiration here, Sally. I like the contrast of light and darkness. Panorama is another good inspiration to work on.
    Have a great week.

  16. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I like your B&W image. If you only want one ice cream cone that is the one to have!
    Camera+ has been my go-to app for the last 3 years, but I have discovered one that I like even more: ProCamera 8. There is something about the colors and detail in that app that makes it a major draw for me. They have a great website, too. Ω

  17. Night photography just doesnt seem to work for us, but probably is our subject. Love the whimsy of yours, and the new panorama category…those we like and do lots of! Thanks =^,,^=

  18. Lignum Draco says:

    I agree. Night street photography is very difficult, but the reward is great when you get a good shot.

  19. Amy says:

    That is a great shot, Sally! I haven’t tried night photo with iPhone 6 yet. Very inspiring. 🙂

  20. DG MARYOGA says:

    When enlarged it’s so spectacular,dear Sally! The dark, dark backdrop impressively sets off the lit parts and makes a perfect contrast. My knowledge concerning photographic techniques is very poor, but as you said above, it’s difficult to take night shots, especially in big cities where most parts are either over-lit or poorly-lit. Happy Monday,my friend 🙂 xxx

  21. ~meredith says:

    Love the “retro” ice cream cone pic… 🙂

  22. Sally, I like the way the lit part of the cone stands out while the rest is suggested but not really seen. I’m looking forward to having panorama as part of the Challenger’s Choice. It’s a feature I love but, like you, too often forget to use. Yet it was one of the things that made me want an iPhone.


    • Janet, good morning, autumn seems to be edging our way. Even though the temps are summer, trees are de-leafing and signs are everywhere. Now you’ve pushed me even more about panorama. Our Smartphones do make it easier to take the plunge into this unknown territory. Onward to panorama. Thanks so much.

  23. pattimoed says:

    It’s a great idea to add panoramas to the challenge. I’ve tried using the native app on the Samsung Galaxy, but was not happy with the results. You’ve spurred me on to learn how to use it more effectively! I tried Photosynth when I had the iPhone and liked it very much. And–I love that great big ice cream cone in your night shot! Happy Monday.

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