Cellpic Sunday – New York City Skyline at Night

New York City view from the Hudson River.

New York, New York.

Early in the morning of September 17, the Carnival Magic arrived at the mouth of the Hudson River and completed our journey to Canada. There was a bit of mist in the air, but only enough to make the images I captured flat and lacking in contrast. It was my first view of New York at night, and it would be the last for this trip, even though we were staying for a couple of days in the city for sightseeing.

About the photo: I captured several images as we proceeded to the cruise terminal. Of course, it was easy for me to find a couple of cellphone shots that I could merge into a panoramic view of Manhattan Island. Adobe Lightroom did that heavy lifting and then I moved the Adobe DNG image over to Luminar Neo. From there, I tried out two new add-in modules made available just a few days before my working on the image.

Neo is a great photo editor with essential tools, but Skylum Software is creating special-purpose add-ins that extend the program’s feature set. The early November release included two modules that would get a good test in this image. Neo has a noise removal tool, but the new Noiseless AI add-in module provides a more sophisticated noise removal. This image was shot at f/1.8, 1000 ISO, 1/25 second. Keeping my maximum ISO at 1000 was also helpful in keeping the noise down, but there was still more noise in the image than I liked. Noiseless AI offers three steps of noise removal and analyzes the image to recommend which of the three levels I should choose. The program recommended the middle level and after processing, I was presented with a much more noise-free image, though there is still some noise in the final image that is visible in the sky.

The second module I used is SuperSharp AI. It’s designed with Motion Blur, Defocus, and Universal modes. An email from Skylum shortly after the module release noted that this first release only features the Motion Blur mode. The two other modes are not up to Skylum’s standards at this point, but when they are ready for release, there will be an update available. Luminar’s add-in AI modules are extra-cost options, so Skylum is offering a Neo Presets Pack at no charge to purchasers of Supersharp AI as compensation for the incomplete delivery of the module on the promised release date.

As it happens, the images at the slow 1/25 shutter speed, suffered a bit from motion blur as the ship was moving slowly down the river. For this photo, Motion Blur is the tool needed to tweak the image, and using both modules made quite an improvement in the final image.

I posted the panoramic image prior to Neo processing and the final image on my Flickr site here. Click on either of the 2KHD images to zoom in and use the arrows on the left or right of the image to move between the two images for comparison. I thought about using the WordPress comparison tool, but the small image size and white background around the images make comparison difficult. Flickr’s larger images on a dark background make for a much better way to compare.

I encourage fellow bloggers to create their own Cellpic Sunday posts. I never have a specific topic for this feature, and the only rules are that the photo must be captured with a cell phone, iPad, or another mobile device… If you have an image from a drone or even a dashcam, that’s acceptable as well. The second rule is to link your challenge response to this post or leave a comment here with a link to your post in the comment.

John Steiner


  1. Great capture of a beautiful city! I found your detailed description of the new Neo add-ins interesting. I won’t be purchasing however as I’ve meanwhile invested in Topaz Sharpen AI and Denoise AI which do similar jobs and do them very well 🙂

    • After watching reviews of Neo’s new tools with comparison to the Topaz tools, I believe the Topaz tools are probably superior. I know they operate much more quickly than the Neo tools in doing their work.
      Clearly, one size doesn’t fit all. >grin<

    • I still don’t know all that I should know about Luminar Neo, but then again I’ve used Lightroom Classic for much longer and there are still many things I don’t know how to do. 🙂

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