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More Christmas lights, and some photography discussion

Tonight I drove through the Millbrook subdivision off Oakley Pirkle and took some pictures of the lovely Christmas lights.

Georgia fans

lots of pretty white lights

I don’t know if it’s a problem with the C3030 Zoom camera, with all digital cameras, or with the way I take photographs in minimal light, but I have had to deal with the problem of bright, floating pixels in my nighttime photography for quite some time now. Usually I just leave the pictures alone; you can probably find examples of the evil pixels in my smugmug somewhere.

Tonight, however, I wanted to clean my Christmas light shots up to make them look as good as possible. They are all blurry due to the fact that I took them from my car, which, even while in park, likes to jump around…but I thought I could at least get rid of the floating pixels and despeckle the images a bit (thanks for that suggestion, btw, Charles!).

It took me something like two hours to go through and clean up the 24 new images I’ve uploaded to my December 2005 gallery. Here, for your amusement, are before and after versions of one of the pictures.

BEFORE AFTER

I opened each image in Photoshop, eyeballed it for floating pixels, and drew over the pixels with the Pencil tool. Then I Despeckled and did Auto Layers. Obviously I’m not a professional, but at least the pictures look better than they did before.

I just need to learn how to take night shots correctly. What I do now is set the ISO to 400 (I can’t adjust the shutter speed, I don’t think), turn off the flash, hold the camera as steadily as possible, and hope for the best.