Apple had lost its mojo with the iPhone camera for the last couple of years, till the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models landed. Apple made huge improvements to the still camera especially with regards to the portrait mode, dynamic range, detail and low-light imaging with a new night mode. With its haloed space amongst creators, the iPhone was already the most popular camera on the planet and Apple doubled down on that iconic heritage with a new “Night Mode” challenge to its #ShotOniPhone campaign. 

As a part of this “Night Mode” challenge, 6 photographers from around the world won the challenge and the photos were tweeted out by Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. Amongst the 6 photographers was Mumbaikar, Mitsun Soni who had posted a photo of a tree on Instagram, which won the challenge. The 28-year-old is a concert and travel photographer, whose photo of an outwardly looking tree, won the challenge alongside contestants from China, Russia and Spain. 

“It’s crazy man. I’m so excited and overwhelmed. I got to know that I’m the winner yesterday itself after Apple posted the picture on their Instagram,” said Mitsun Soni in an interview with NewsX. “Now for this picture, you know, I was just clicking from my own self, like how I click for my Instagram. Then Apple one day announces the night mode challenge. And I was like, might as well give it a shot. So I put up the picture and used the hashtags,” he added. 

Apple’s jury for the challenge included acclaimed photographers Malin Fezehai, Tyler Mitchell, Sarah Lee, Alexvi Li, and Darren Soh. Also, Apple’s marketing leadership also featured in the jury featuring its senior Vice President for worldwide marketing Phil Schiller and his team — Kaiann Drance, Brooks Kraft, Jon McCormack and Arem Duplessis. 

“This one blows my mind. I have no idea where that deep rich red light is coming from on the tree. It almost feels like a UFO sighting above the tree, just out of frame. Absolutely beautiful composition as well,” said Tyler Mitchell of the composition. 

Soni also felt overwhelmed about the scene. 

“I was in Dubai for a festival last December. One random night I was going around walking through the streets, I came across this beautiful plant. A tree flooded in red light. I was so much in awe of that tree because it felt so outwardly. I couldn’t describe the feeling when I saw the tree I couldn’t just like you know, help myself from taking a picture of it,” he added. 

Soni also said that he took many photos of the tree, but this was one of his favourite compositions. He used Snapseed and Lightroom to colour correct it, while he used the VSCOCam app to add a slight tone to it, but gently so, to not overpower the photo with a filter. 

The photo, of course, was shot using an iPhone 11 Pro in night mode. “I used a 3-second shutter, “ Soni added. Soni also admitted that he used the stock camera app for this shot, and felt if he had used a third-party app for RAW capture, the photo could’ve come out even better. 

Soni, who has been a shutterbug since the age of 16, started shooting photos on Nokia phones. He used to own a Nokia N95 before he moved on the iPhone which he has used ever since. 

In his day job as a concert photographer, he uses Canon’s EOS R full-frame mirrorless cameras which he believes are very good. He’s shot many concerts including Sunburn, Justin Beiber, Avicii and more. Recently he even shot the OnePlus festival in Mumbai where Dua Lipa and Katy Perry performed together, last November. 




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