Our Favorite Reader Photos from the "Low-Light Noir" Assignment


Dark Intentions
Wes Iversen’s murderous image sent a chill down our spine. The shot was captured in a totally dark room using a Nikon SB-700 Speedlight as the only light source. “The image was created with the 1974 neo-noir film ‘Chinatown’ in mind, specifically the scene in which a man flicks a knife and cuts open Jake’s (Jack Nicholson’s) nostril,” Iversen explains. He shot it with a Nikon D7000 and a Tokina AT-X 100mm f/2.8 Pro D Macro lens at f/22, 1/2 sec, ISO 100. He then converted it to monochrome using Topaz B&W Effects, with additional processing in Adobe Lightroom 5 and Adobe Photoshop CC. “The gleam on the knife blade was added using Topaz Star Effects,” Iversen says.
© Wes Iversen

We didn’t know what we’d get from Shutterbug readers for this month’s Low-Light Noir assignment but we knew it would be interesting. And it certainly was! Readers gave us what we asked for, posting a range of dark and moody images that recalled classic “film noir” movies. There were so many great shots, most in grainy black and white but a few in crunchy color, that it was hard to choose just 10 low-light noir favorites but we did. Here’s looking at you, kid!

Reading Terminal At Night
Bruce Casale captured this overhead image of “the famous Reading Terminal in Philadelphia at night” using a Canon EOS Rebel T2i. He later converted it to black and white using Topaz B&W Effects software to get the über-grainy and contrasty look. The image was captured at ISO 3200, f/3.5, 1/8 sec.
© Bruce Casale

Library Noir
Bob Larson shot this shadowy “self-portrait” from the top deck of the library in Prescott Valley, Arizona. “Camera set on the floor, timer set, then I ran to the window,” he explains.
© Bob Larson

Car Chase
Seanna Kennedy’s dramatic photo looks like a movie still from a classic film. Kennedy captured it with a Nikon D90 and an AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens at 42mm, f/9, 1/40 sec, ISO 200. A Nikon Speedlight SB-910 flash was used as an off-camera light.
© Seanna Kennedy

On The Cliff
“While on a vacation in Maui, we took a day trip to the island of Lanai,” Abe Wischnia says of this Hitchcockian image. “Clouds were forming over the island in the afternoon. My wife was wearing a white cover-up as she explored the cliffs on the other side of the small inlet from me. I was envisioning this in black and white and could imagine the kind of music that would accompany this scene in a noir movie.” The photo was captured with a Canon EOS 20D and an 18-55mm lens at ISO 400, f/13 at 1/1250 sec. Grayscale conversion was later performed in Photoshop CS5.
© Abe Wischnia

Nighttime On The Ganges
Robert Sachs’s nighttime photo along the Ganges River is quite the moody scene setter. He captured it with a Leica M and a 90mm lens at f/4.8, 1/25 sec, ISO 3200.
© Robert Sachs

Morning Walk In Erice, Sicily (Italy)
“While exploring the ancient Greek city of Erice on top of Mount Erice in Sicily, I spotted a local man on his morning walk,” Marilyn Helms says about this shot. “With his topcoat draped over his shoulders, he looked almost sinister in the fog; so I made this photo.” Helms shot it with a Canon EOS 7D at 1/100 sec, f/5.6, ISO 500, 28mm focal length.
© Marilyn Helms

Hillary Mae
We don’t know what the woman on the phone just heard but it probably wasn’t good news! Robert Brosnan shot this cinematic image as part of a “one-light photo class.” He captured it with a Sony SLT-A57 camera and a Tamron 16-300mm lens at 150mm, 1/60 sec, f/6.3, ISO 800.
© Robert Brosnan

Mexico City Night
“It was pouring rain in Mexico City when I got this shot,” Frederick Allstetter says. “The couple is about to step into a big puddle, but they move along undaunted. The sepia tones are an artifact of the white balance for the streetlights.” He shot it with a Sony DSC-RX100, which he calls “a fantastic small camera,” at f/1.8, 1/60 sec, ISO 1600, 10.4mm focal length.
© Frederick Allstetter

Dark Silhouette
Mike Haidley’s description of how he shot this image is pure “gumshoe” detective-speak. He writes: “I was in the Haymarket District of Lincoln, Nebraska, where I had finished a job for my good friend Jake, when this classy bit of brickwork jumped right out in front of me. Never being short on words or actions, I spied this classy-looking dame just behind me. I asked her to snap a shot with my iPhone. She complied but didn’t stick around long enough to see the results, which is the story of my life. Besides, I had a cold beer waiting for me at Dixie’s and I didn’t want it getting warm.”
© Mike Haidley

Picture This! – Our Next Assignment
Great Lighting

For our next assignment, show us images that have great lighting. In terms of the light source, we’re not picky: it could be a completely naturally lit scene or something that was shot in the studio with 100 percent artificial light. Subject matter is also completely up to you. What we want to see are photos with beautiful light, which is really what photography is all about.

Last Rays Of Summer
Back in late September 2007, I was testing the Canon EOS 40D in New York City’s Central Park for a review and wasn’t having much luck with getting any interesting images. I was just about to call it a day when I saw the sunset was casting some gorgeous rays over the Sheep Meadow area of the park where people were enjoying the pleasantly warm weather. It was only later that I realized this was the last official day of summer. The photo was shot with a Canon 40D and an EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM lens at f/6.3, 1/160 sec, ISO 100.
© Dan Havlik

How To Submit Online
1. Go to www.shutterbug.com and register. Scroll down the page and on the right side you will see a box for entering your username and your password. If you have already registered and/or submitted images for the Galleries you can skip this step. Respond to the activation e-mail. Registration is free. You will use your username and password whenever you visit or, with some systems, it will automatically load for you when you visit www.shutterbug.com.

2. Check the assignment and closing dates in the magazine. When the magazine is printed we will create an appropriate gallery for your images. The limit is two images per assignment.

3. Select and prepare your images. We only accept files at a maximum 5MB size, JPEG format. Save the JPEG at a quality level of 10 or higher. Note that file size in your image folder directory will determine upload size, not the “opened” file size, as JPEG compresses at 1:4 at higher quality ratings. If your images do not load it probably means you have exceeded the file size or have not used JPEG format.

4. Click on the Galleries tab on the homepage. In the Category section use the drop-down menu to select the Picture This! assignment. Note that images are simultaneously loaded into the assignment category as well as your own personal gallery. When the Picture This! assignment deadline date has lapsed the assignment gallery will be removed, but your images will still reside in your own gallery.

5. In the Description box add title, camera, lens, exposure information, and your full name. Also add any other comments or anecdotes you think relevant. We reserve the right to edit comments as needed.

6. Click the Save button at the bottom of the page. This uploads the image.

7. You retain copyright on the image.

8. We will choose the images after close of the due date.

9. Please feel free to comment on images submitted by other readers.

Please Note: If the photograph includes a minor or a recognizable individual or group you are guaranteeing that you have a signed model release form, and especially a parental or guardian release form for minors. You should keep a copy of that release in your files. Scan that release and keep it handy. If an image is chosen for publication, failure to provide a form when requested will eliminate the image from consideration. You can find release forms at http://asmp.org/tutorials/model-release-minor-child.html and other resources on the Internet. By uploading images you attest that the model release form is valid, that any depiction of a person is with their consent, that you have a model release form available on request, and that all images you submit have been made by you.

Deadline For Submission: June 1, 2015.
Images will appear in our September 2015 issue.

Our next topic: The Power of Black & White
Deadline: July 1, 2015
Publication Date: October 2015

Please Note: By submitting you agree to give us the right to show the image(s) on the web and for publication. You give us publication rights in the magazine and on the website(s) of Source Interlink Media.

Want to see images selected for past picture this! Assignments? Go to www.shutterbug.com and click on picture this! In the “more articles…” box on the homepage.

If you have any questions or problems e-mail us at editorial@shutterbug.com with Picture This! in the subject line.