In the footsteps of mobile phone lights

The list of the best Hungarian press photos in 2014 was announced last week. On the first place in the news category is the photo of the demonstration against the internet tax taken by Simon Móricz-Sabján. In October 2014 thousands of Hungarians took to the streets and lifted their mobile phones to protest against the government’s new tax plan for the introduction of the internet tax. Simon Móricz-Sabján took this picture at the Elisabeth Bridge in Budapest. He managed to climb up somewhere so he could photograph from a really good angle.


I really like the many streaks of phone lights in this picture and that the faces of the people are sharp. Whenever I was photographing with long shutter speed to get nice long light-streaks the people in the picture were usually blurry because they were moving during the recording. So if you want to get a picture like this above you have to find the perfect camera settings.

Watching this picture I remembered when I got my DSLR camera a few years ago and the first things I learned were what aperture, shutter speed and ISO are and how they works. During the years I tried many varieties of this three camera settings but I’ve never tried out them systematically. So I decided to take two photo series, one with fixed aperture value and variable shutter speed and an other with fixed shutter speed and variable aperture values. My photographed object was my mobile, inspired by the picture above.

I have a Nikon D3000 camera (with 18-55mm lens) so it has the following limits:
F4.5-F29 and S1/4000-S30. (ISO is set to the possible lowest value, which is 100)

First I made the series with a fixed aperture value (F29) and variable shutter speed. Here are the pictures taken with S1 and S30.



I made a video of the images taken with different shutter speeds (S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6, S8, S10, S13, S15, S20, S25, S30), so you can see the changes:

Then I made the series with fixed shutter speed (S5) and variable aperture values. Here are the pictures with F29 and F4.5:



And here is the video from the aperture-series (F29, F25,  F22, F20, F18, F16, F14, F13, F11, F10, F9, F8, F7.1, F6.3, F5.6, F5, F4.5):

I really like the result and it was interesting to see what effect the different settings have.

Short summary:



7 thoughts on “In the footsteps of mobile phone lights

  1. Agnes, I was fascinated by this entry as, while I have been using a DSLR since 2008, I have not yet mastered (I’ve had a go) time lapse photography with it yet. Noise increase due to slow shutter speeds, was never a feature of film photography as you can see in this photograph
    There’s many things wrong with this shot, but noise is not one of them. I did a bit of reading, came across this
    and now I’m a little more enlightened. Thanks to you and your project!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m really happy if this project could help you a bit, Michael. DSLR and film photography are a bit different indeed. Thank you very much for sharing this site, there was some interesting new information for me too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am fascinated about this subject!
    I also did some studies about it back in 2010 anda I came up with this set of photos

    23 de maio - SP - Brazil

    The first one with only a couple of teenagers not blurred is one my favorite pictures ever!
    23 de maio - SP - Brazil

    Liked by 1 person

    • Really good set of photographs with very nice long lights streaks. :) The first picture is really special with the unmoving couple while everything else is moving around them. :) Great capture! Thank you for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

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