Advancements in digital photography used to be measured by the megapixels that its sensor can capture for each image.
Thank goodness that race has ended at least in the DSLR market.
Now, it’s about how good the image looks at high ISO.
It’s not that I have an aversion to digital noise in an image.
I lived with digital noise for years when I worked in news because there are lots of instances when flash photography is not allowed yet I had to had to produce an image to illustrate what took place.
Two such instances that come to mind is in the courtroom and some athletic events like badminton tournaments.
These days the ISO setting on my Canon 5DMarkII is never set higher than 400.
Even though I know the camera handles low light very well, I prefer to ‘light’ my subjects if it’s a portrait for better control.
I find if I’m doing a portrait, I want to be in control of the lighting anyway except in the case of this Saturday at the close of the 2013 Lunar Festival in Riverside.. Continue reading Photographing fire dancers in low light →
A portrait to match the holiday season is fairly easy if you have a flash you can fire off-camera.
But you’ll need a lens that has a wide aperture.
That is often called a fast lens because the wide opening or aperture allows you to shoot with a ‘fast’ shutter speed.
Then it’s a matter of finding a location where there are tiny twinkly lights like outdoors or even indoors next to a decorated Christmas tree.
The more colorful, the better.
Yes, you can shoot this with only available light too.
Just be warned you will most likely be shooting at high ISO using really long/low shutter speeds and may have strange white balance issues. Continue reading A portrait for the holiday season →
When I left off on my previos post on friendly faces at the carnival, I had mentioned ambience.
Once the sun sets, the carnival looks very different especially during that very brief window when the sun has set but there is still a lot of light left in the sky.
Objects in the vicinity of lights stand out while the rest of scene recedes and lose their prominence.
Colored lights start to stand out.
But to get those color saturated, you have to guess a little with your exposure.
With any digital camera where you can adjust shutter speeds manually, all you need is a tripod.
A cable release helps but you can always use the self timer.
The idea is to not shake the camera during long exposures.
Bracket Exposures for Success
Bracket your exposures by changing the shutter speeds instead of the aperture especially if you want to try your hand at HDR (High Dynamic Range).
Continue reading Capturing carnival ambience →
Of the obstacles you face whenever you want to take a picture, low light is probably the toughest to overcome. Things get even dicier when your subject is moving.
Whenever light levels are low:
- you won’t have the shutter speeds needed to handhold long lenses successfully
- you can’t freeze the action even if you use a tripod or image stabilization because your subject is moving
- your lens might not focus
- color temperature or white balance might be an issue because most environments choose lights based on practicality and efficiency instead of whether it’s good for photography
Bear in mind, your ISO is already set to the highest that you can live with taking into account digital noise. Continue reading Low light action photography Part 2 →