Cocktail Party + Lightroom 3 Beta Noise Reduction

Nikon D300s + SB-900 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 17mm f/4 ISO1600 1/15 Second

This past Saturday evening, we were invited to a friend’s house in North Beach for some cocktails. We met lots of new people and had a great time. The hosts asked Bridget to sing a couple jazz tunes with Chris on the trumpet, and set up a spot on the roof for the performance. Ambient light was provided by…nothing…except for some hanging, incandescent, decorative lighting. Photographic yikes!!! I had one SB-900 to work with, so I set up my camera in manual, cranked up the ISO, set the flash to fire at rear curtain, and draaaaagged the shutter to get as much ambiance as possible, trying to make sure the little event looked like it happened on some sort of rooftop and not in outer space. As I uploaded these images to Lightroom 3 Beta, I was amazed at how well the new noise reduction tool worked on these photos. More on that in a bit.

Bridget and Chris
Nikon D300s + SB-900 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 26mm f/3.5 ISO1600 1/15 Second
Nikon D300s + SB-900 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 28mm f/2.8 ISO1600 1/15 Second

Bridget and Chris (above) entertaining the many guests (below) crowding the small San Francisco apartment. Those small hanging lamps you see on the wall there were the only lights helping me expose the scene. Gaaah…

And then….there was Alex:

Nikon D300s + SB-900 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 50mm f/4 ISO1600 1/15 Second
Alex Sings
Nikon D300s + SB-900 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 38mm f/3.5 ISO1600 1/15 Second

Alex sang something interesting. Yes, very interesting. And Chris did his best to keep up with him on the trumpet. Here was their audience:

The Crowd
Nikon D300s + SB-900 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 17mm f/2.5 ISO1600 1/15 Second

We headed back downstairs after the performance and enjoyed some drinks. Bridget and I brought a bottle of Absinthe, a spirit that was banned in the US for nearly 100 years. It’s some potent stuff for sure, and cannot be enjoyed without a good amount of dilution in water. Bridget made me a great mix by pouring ice water through sugar cubes on top of a specially made spoon into an ounce of Absinthe. The green alcohol turns a milky white as you pour the water in, which I believe is the result of releasing the herbs that the spirit is distilled in.

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 31mm f/4 ISO1100 1/15 Second


Adobe Lightroom 3 Beta: Noise Reduction

For a few days now, I’ve been using Lightroom 3 Beta to handle my processing needs, and so far I’m really impressed by the new features they’ve added. One of the highlight features for me is the new and improved noise reduction tool in the develope module. The noise reduction tools available in Lightroom 2 are just sorta-kinda ok. It looks like Adobe really worked at improving noise reduction this time around. As of now, luminance reduction is not available in Lightroom 3 Beta, so I’ve only had a chance to work with the improved color noise reduction slider. But boy does it work! Check out a couple of 1:2 crops from the first image I posted above that demonstrate the new color noise reduction’s effectiveness in Lightroom 3 Beta:

Comparison Noise Reduction
Left: LR3 Beta Noise Reduction Applied / Right: No Noise Reduction Applied

You can see a drastic difference in color noise between the two crops above (cropped from the upper left part of the frame from the top image in this post). The color noise reduction algorithm employed by Lighroom 3 Beta is extremely effective. In the image on the left, color noise was virtually gone at a mere 19% reduction setting.

That’s all for now!

For the Crowd

Ah, good times…..

3 thoughts on “Cocktail Party + Lightroom 3 Beta Noise Reduction

  1. Hey Jonathan!!

    These photos turned out great. The photos of alex are so classic! Thanks for posting. Man, you are talented.

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