Diwali and long exposure experiments

Happy Diwali! Those of who celebrated Diwali or Deepavali, I hope you enjoyed, had fun and pigged out on food like I did. I regret nothing!

So back home Diwali is celebrated loudly with firecrackers and lights and eating sweets. When I was young, our neighborhood used to have an unspoken contest of who had the most firecrackers left even the next day and after. Few ‘hydrogen bombs’ (just a very loud firecracker) will be saved just for this contest the next morning. A ‘bomb’ will go off nearby and in response several others from afar will be heard. This went on until somebody had the last blast. That was my childhood. This year, some of our friends got together, had beer, ate food, then ate food and then some before lighting up the diya’s and few sparklers for diwali spirit.

It wasn’t long before somebody had the idea of taking a photo with the sparklers in the background making shapes. I didn’t have my camera and tripod to set up those shots but remembered how the iPhone can shoot long exposure with the help of Live photos. The long exposure on iPhone works by stitching together all the frames in the live photo and this setting is available by swiping up on a Live photo and selecting the Long exposure effect. The key to long exposure is a still camera and I was doing it all at 9 in the night with my left hand while holding a baby on my right arm. Needless to say, everything came out blurry and I didn’t like the results. The day after, however, I had an epiphany of sorts and recovered super crisp long exposure shots from the live photo.

What I did was to save the live picture right where it shoots the most crisp picture of the subject, mask the background out in Polarr and darken it. Repeat the same procedure with the normal long exposure image but mask out the subject in Polarr this time to work with the sparkler colors in Darkroom and leave the subject area dark. Then combine these two images in Snapseed with the Double Exposure tool. It came out well. Now excuse me while I pitch this to Apple for ‘shot on iPhone’ ad 😅️.

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