The image today was taken a couple of nights ago from The Signature Lounge at the 95th at the John Hancock Center. It’s got to be one of the best free photo opportunities in the city! Months ago I was there and took a similar photo using my tripod from the observation deck one floor below, but this time I was more hurried and just snapped off a shot with other tourists doing the same. Sadly, when most of them process their images they will have lots of glare, be grainy, and for many, likely be a bit blurry. So what’s the trick?
First, you have to have a camera that can shoot well under low light conditions. This is one reason I shoot with the Pentax K-5 II. Not only can it perform well under low light, it has a shake reduction system equivalent to 3 EV steps in shutter speed. This is huge! But honestly, many cameras these days can do an equivalent job. Once I have a decent image, the real magic occurs in post-processing. To effectively manage noise (all the grain that comes from shooting with a high ISO) I use Topaz DeNoise, but there are many other great programs to deal with noise. Without this program many of my shots would end up in my virtual trash can. Finally, in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, I decrease highlights, increase shadows, bump up saturation, and increase clarity to bring out the final look of the image.
Whether you are just snapping away for the family photo album or a more serious shooter, it really is worth the time to learn a few tricks to get cool looking images.