Light painting Dubai super nights with Huawei P8

The show is about to start - A super night mode shot using Huawei P8
Dubai, a city of bright lights and vibrant nights, makes every popular spot a luminous treat. Many of us carry DSLRs to capture those moments.  Not all the time though we want to carry one.

As a blogger, and heavy Instagrammer, it is important to take good photos all the time - lively, telling and powerful.

There are times when DSLRs are really necessary, and there were some situations in past events I'd wish not bringing one - because it adds inconvenience to move around. Other events are also too elegant to be carrying a DSLR at hand, unless I am the photographer.

Last night, I was at Dubai Mall and thought of seeing the Dubai Fountain again. No big camera, just a mobile phone. Yes, a smartphone. Thirty minutes after sunset.

Huawei P8 camera features a lot of different modes and 2 of my favorites that produce decent photos amidst dark environment are the Super night and the Light painting.
Another super night shot while waiting for the fountain show
The super night mode is for taking photos in low light environments. It requires a very steady hand or a tripod because it takes a shot with an exposure time between 10 to 30 seconds - depending on the amount of light in the surroundings.

Light painting is a photography technique in which exposures are made by moving a hand-held light source or light displays while taking a long exposure, either to illuminate a subject or to shine a point of light directly at the camera.

I used super night mode on the 2 photos above (and at the last part). The ones below were results of light painting mode. They are resized but unedited and unfiltered. Click them to view the original resolution which is 16:9 3264x1840.

Light painting has 3 sub-modes: tail lights trail, light graffiti, silky water and star track.

Tail light trails, as the name suggest best capture the trails of light made by moving cars in the night. Light graffiti captures the trails of light in a dark environment.

Silky water captures the flow of moving water in a silky smooth effect.

Star track is ideal to capture the trails of the stars and galaxies in the night sky.

I used a tripod to take these photos - because even the slightest shake or pulse of hand could blur the output.  Thanks to the real-time preview, I can choose the right exposure length for a great shot.

They may not be as perfect as what DSLR gives us, but the photos are somehow alive. These features also inspire me to be more creative in taking snaps and in using them as contents for my materials.

The above results testify that P8 is a dependable mobile camera even after the sun goes down. (Just don't forget your tripod).

These features doesn't consume much power. The only drawback is the battery heats up quickly when light painting mode is used continuously. You'd feel the phone warming up when reaching 5 minutes of usage.

The time lapse mode is cool. It allows you to take photos at specific intervals and convert into a video, like this one I took while my phone sits steady on the dashboard. If this is cool, the battery is not so. It's great but do not overuse.

The other camera features include panorama, HDR, all-focus, best photo, watermark and auto note (which lets you record 10 seconds of audio after you take a photo).  Settings allow you to set the resolution and switch the following functions on or off: GPS tag, perfect selfie, timer, capture smiles, optical image stabilization, object tracking, ultra snapshot, ISO and other image adjustments.

Watermarks in the city
Watermarks allow you to add a predefined yet customizable foreground text or graphics. You can select from location, weather, mood or food categories.

Here are some photos around Downtown Dubai. See how I put the watermarks on top of them. Ideal for photo blogging. Great for Instagram huh!

Again, a steady yet moving hand or tripod is necessary to take a seamless panorama. I wasn't using any tripod on the photo below and the level of the phone was not consistent, hence the cuts are obvious.

This was taken at Shangri-la Muscat beach front during our holiday stay there
Supernight, again
The photos below are results of super night mode. What I also love about this mode is its color and brightness accuracy. These shots exactly show what my naked eye sees.

Shangri-la Muscat at night. I held the phone on a steady hand and the length of exposure was a long 22 seconds.
Deira Clock Tower taken from a footbridge 150 metres away, slightly zoomed.
Quality indeed. After all, Huawei P8 uses DSLR-level image signal processor, has a 13MP rear camera, optical image stabilization, F/2.0 aperture and four color RGBW sensor.

So gone are the days when we can't rely on smart phones to take superb photos in dim lights. I guess I'll keep discovering every emirate with P8.

Online, it sells at AED 1,599.

* I am a Huawei P8 brand ambassador but the opinion in this review is impartial and true based on my personal experience, emotion and preferences.

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