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Behind The Shot: Creating A Low-Light Canyon Light Trail With The Xperia 1 IV

When you see this incredible long exposure light trail image taken by photographer Jason Frankle of the Alpha Collective, you might picture him using a bunch of gear and complicated settings to make it happen. What if we told you he took it with the new Sony Xperia 1 IV? That’s right, he was able to dial in his settings on the newest Xperia to create this beautiful low light long exposure. We connected with him to learn more about how he did it – keep reading for his story behind the shot below.


Photo by Jason Frankle. Sony Xperia 1 IV. 30-sec., f/1.7, ISO 64

Creative Jason Frankle of the Alpha Collective describes how he was able to capture this incredible long exposure with the newest Xperia.

The Scene

If you’ve seen Frankle’s work, you know he isn’t afraid to put in some effort if it means an epic view and a successful image. “To capture this image, I drove to Grimes Canyon in North Los Angeles, California and hiked to a spot that overlooked the canyon,” he explains. “I waited until after sunset in order to photograph the lights from the cars as they drove around the canyon road.”

Getting The Shot

Frankle had the Xperia 1 IV fixed on a phone tripod ready for the cars to drive down the road. “It took about 30 seconds for the cars to drive the full distance,” he explains, “so I set the shutter speed in Photo Pro to 30 seconds to get the most amount of time for the cars to come all the way around the canyon and to allow the most amount of light to get to the phone.”

He continues, “If you click the shutter, you need some time for the phone to settle down so it doesn't blur the photo. So I used the self-timer feature to add a three-second shutter delay. This allowed me to keep the phone as still as possible and avoid any camera shake that could affect the final image. I also set the phone to capture in RAW format, fixed aperture and used manual focus on the road to retain as much detail as possible in the final photograph and to make sure everything was sharp and focused.”

“The final photo is pretty amazing. There's very little noise – it’s a very sharp photo. Since I was able to dial in all the settings like shutter delay, so I didn't cause any camera shake, and set a really long exposure to capture all the light from the photo, it handled the light trail perfectly.”

Low-Light Long Exposure With The Xperia 1 IV

Frankle was impressed by how much light the Xperia 1 IV camera was able to pick up from such a dark scene. “This image was taken over 40 minutes after sunset yet the phone was still able to capture colors in the sky and detail in the road with very little noise or grain,” he says. “It’s great to have the flexibility of bringing just an Xperia 1 IV phone while photographing and avoid having to bring a heavy gear bag. I think the Xperia 1 IV also really helped because I was able to switch to the wide angle and it's a very high resolution lens on that as well. It also really helped going into Photo Pro and being able to adjust my settings all the way up to 30 seconds, which very few other smartphones were able to do.”

Overall the ease Frankle had with setting up the device to get the shot made the whole experience rather simple and enjoyable. “I was able to quickly take out the Xperia 1 IV to set up my shot, which took about a minute, download all my settings, and capture a professional photo with a smartphone…that’s pretty amazing.”

The Edit

"I was shooting in RAW file format and I imported those files into Lightroom Classic on my computer. That's when I did the basic adjustments, like bring up the shadows, lower the highlights, and did all the final editing in Lightroom on my computer."

See more of Jason Frankle’s work on TikTok @worldpins and at jasonfranklephotography.com.

Learn more and pre-order your Sony Xperia 1 IV HERE.


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