If you want the ultimate experience of using Night mode on the iPhone 11, how about a town where there are 40 continuous days of darkness?

Head into the Arctic Circle, and you can visit places where the sun never sets for weeks on end in the summer, and where it never rises for weeks in the winter. Photographer Amos Chapple headed to one of these to shoot some truly stunning photos: the Russian city of Murmansk …

Chapple told the story in a photo essay on PetaPixel.

For my latest photo essay “Forty Days Of Darkness,” I bought the new iPhone 11 Pro and went to Russia’s Murmansk, the biggest city in the Arctic circle. From December until January the sun never rises over Murmansk. With the iPhone camera (most of the time) set to “night mode,” I shot life in the darkness there.

He said that just using the iPhone gave him an unprecedented level of freedom to just shoot.

On the first morning I woke up in Murmansk, it really hit me what a revolution this generation of phone represents. I got out of bed and was rummaging through my travel case to try to find my toothpaste and toothbrush. It took me a solid couple of minutes. Then after I’d scrubbed up, I grabbed my phone and headed out the door.

As I walked down the corridor I remember thinking I’d just had more trouble organizing the equipment I needed to brush my teeth, than I had preparing for a 12-hour day of professional photography. No SD cards to check, no stacks of batteries to charge, no bag full of lenses… Total freedom.

He described Night mode as almost witchcraft.

The iPhone’s Night Mode is the witchiest camera technology I’ve ever used. I still don’t understand it. I was shooting three second exposures made handheld, yet I never saw any movement blur. All of the shots I made were tack sharp.

Even more strange is that, whenever there was movement in the frame, like a person walking, or snow falling, the camera somehow froze, or only slightly blurred that movement, *while* it was soaking up light for a long exposure.

Interestingly, when the camera senses it’s on a tripod it behaves exactly like a normal camera — so during a long exposure people walking or snow falling just become faint blurs. I took a tripod with me but hardly ever used it after noticing this switch that the camera makes.

Chapple shared my frustration at the lack of any way to manually switch on Night mode when the camera disagrees, and at the internal reflections seen in images with bright lights.

These complaints aside, however, the photos are beautiful. You can find samples below, but visit his post to see them all. If you’ve been using Night mode, and have your own photos to share, please post them in the comments.


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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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