Lessons Learned

Notice the bar top in this shot where the LED flash on the iPhone fired

Notice the bar top in this shot where the LED flash on the iPhone fired

News flash:  Pat and I changed our eating routine!

Mellow Mushroom pizza had become our regular thing on Friday nights.  The problem was that we could only count on the pizza being cooked properly about 50% of the time.  Sometimes it was burned.  Sometimes it was under cooked.  Often it was cold after I stood waiting for a long time to get waited on.

The final straw was when we invited Twiggy’s dad to join us for pizza the previous Friday and when we got home with the pizza, it was still raw in the middle.  I don’t mean undercooked, I mean raw.

So, we decided it was time to find a new Friday night gig.  We failed miserably and ended up grabbing a really awful take-and-bake pizza from Whole Foods.  We decided to try to find a Saturday gig instead (we’ve never had a Saturday gig).

Notice that while the bar top is darker and the beer taps less bright, not much else has changed

Notice that while the bar top is darker and the beer taps less bright, not much else has changed

Saturday mid-afternoon, we got so hungry we decided we would have a late lunch/early dinner at our new Saturday night place.  We headed out to get barbecue at the “Q with the View”–Sugar’s on Missionary Ridge.  However, when we arrived, they had a tour bus out front and a line of about 20 people outside the door.  We drove around for a while and, getting slightly lost, ended up at Public House in Warehouse Row–an area near the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel that has been recently reinvented as a shopping/dining area in the original warehouse structures.  Public House is a restaurant we’d heard good things about, so we figured, what the heck.

We ended up eating at the bar because the restaurant wasn’t serving food at the time we arrived.  Thinking I needed to take some pictures for my blog, I played tourist and took out my iPhone.  The first shot I took, my flash went off unexpectedly, suddenly making us the center of attention at the bar!  Not exactly stealth!

By choosing the floor as the exposure setting, everything is visible (although maybe that's not a good thing here)

By choosing the floor as the exposure setting, everything is visible (although maybe that’s not a good thing here)

Let that be the first lesson about taking pictures with an iPhone in a public place with low light.  If you don’t want everyone to know you’re taking pictures, make sure you check the flash setting before you take the shot.

But, it affords an opportunity to make a few points about back-lit indoor photography with an iPhone when you don’t want to use flash.  First, notice the difference between the first two photos.  This first one was with flash the second without.  The only thing that’s brighter is the bar top.  The flash doesn’t fall far from the iPhone.

By choosing a lighted inset for the exposure setting, the people fade into silhouette and the floor disappears

By choosing a lighted inset for the exposure setting, the people fade into silhouette and the floor disappears

Now, look at the next two photos.  The first, using the Camera! app, I chose the floor behind the bar for the exposure setting, which allows us to see the floor (not very appealing).  In the last photo, I chose the lighted insets under the bar for the exposure setting.  It makes for more dramatic lighting and keeps everyone at the bar anonymous–not always a good thing, but works here.

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