A Brief Explanation of Noise


Night Sky, Bodie CA

Here is a brief explanation about why you get noise on some images, particularly on night shots with long exposures.

Noise is an extraneous electrical signal that is picked up by your camera’s sensor which translates into a pattern of color and graininess on your image.  Look at the image above, you’ll see specs and small streaks of magenta against the dark sky; this is the most common symptom of noise.  Heat is the primary culprit that generates the extraneous electrical signal.

Heat is generated in one of 2 ways: high ISO settings and long exposures.  The pixels on your camera sensor are very tiny.   The longer you hold the shutter open, the more electricity gets fed to your sensor which causes heat to build up in your sensor.   Increasing ISO is like turning up the volume on your radio.  When you turn up the volume on your radio, you are amplifying or increasing the strength of the signal to your speakers by pumping in more electricity.  Likewise, when you increase ISO, you are increasing the strength of the signal to your camera’s sensor.  The more electricity you feed it, the more the heat builds up and the more extraneous electric signals are picked up.

Each camera model has different noise characteristics.  Camera manufacturers are always trying to improve their noise reduction.  But, noise is a reality of digital cameras.  If you are planning to photograph night shots, experiment with your camera ahead of time to find your best noise performance so you can judge how to set up your camera when you are shooting for real.

Software such as Photo Ninja, Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom have ways to reduce noise.  They work well but need to be used in moderation.  As you apply more noise reduction the more you loose sharpness in your finished image.


A Playful Moment in the Life of Water

A Playful Moment in the Life of Water -Perspective 1

A Playful Moment in the Life of Water – Perspective 1

A Playful Moment in the Life of Water – Perspective 2

A river; water molecules traveling in unison; herded by rock and dirt; their progress blocked but not deterred.  They flow until captured and stored; until they drift apart, their individual courses changed to serve the purposes of nature, or of human civilization.  But here, in unrestricted freedom, they frolic, they crash, they splash and foam.  Basking in early morning light, they appear to enjoy the moment unperturbed; as if they know they can play now, before they must get to work.  They will do their part then some day will be reunited in the vast ocean, carried into the sky, and begin the journey anew.  Such is the life of water.Regards,


Images displayed on this page, and many others can be viewed and purchased on my website: http://www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting me directly.

Website Activity and Junk Mail

I’ve often marveled at the fact that I get 6K-10K visits to my website each month (www.earthwatcher.us). I’ve also suspected that much of that traffic is from web crawlers. If you aren’t aware of web crawlers, they are programs that constantly search the internet to glean information they can use for various purposes. Sites like Google and Bing use them to populate their search engines with web sites with which they can link keywords to speed their search results. I’ve recently begun using Google Analytics to analyze the traffic to my site. This week was a slow week because I haven’t posted any new images. So, it was a good week to examine the traffic. Interestingly, about 80% of my traffic originated in Russia. Every one of those visits hit my homepage then dropped off; they didn’t look at images. They hit my site daily looking for something. I get more than 100 junk emails every day, many from hot young Russian women looking for love. I suspect these searches are how they found my email address so they can provide me with so many opportunities. I’ll be analyzing my traffic further. Maybe I can find some other interesting tidbits to share.



All images posted on this site, my website, http://www.earthwatcher.us, and other sites are available for sale by contacting me at larry@earthwatcher.us or directly through my website.