June 06, 2015  •  Leave a Comment


Murray Reynolds Falls, Ricketts GlenMurray Reynolds Falls, Ricketts Glen


ISO seems to be something confusing to most photographers. It did me at first. There is no real meaning to the letters except you are supposed to equate it to film speed.  Film speed how many today knows what that is either?    I find that when I understand what something means or does I can remember what it is when I need to use it.  ISO. if you think about it as a window blind.  Want more light open up the shade until you do.  As simple as it sounds a camera still has limitations on the use of ISO.  It does let more light on the sensor but it also adds some noise. Noise is a grainy effect on the photo.  Even some grain can be good or learn some Photoshop to help manage it.  ISO does not factor in the creativity of taking better photography but it allows you to push shutter speeds or F stops to stop movement blur or deep depth of field when you need it.  Pushing your ISO lets you hand hold a camera longer in low light. Street photographers, moms chasing kids, entertainment venues you might need to push that number to get enough light.  The school of thought is to have your shutter speed to match the focal length of your lens. Hand held cameras you still need a minimum shutter.  If you are shooting with a 14 MM lens 1/15 of a second off the tripod can result in blurry photos. I shoot a lot of low light sport events and start off with an ISO of 6400 to 12800 on Friday night football games. I shoot at F2 or F2.8.   I  need no less than 400 shutter speed to prevent the blur of running or throwing during the game. I can't go any lower F stop so now I have to look at the last option ISO.  The perfect world you want the lowest number mine is 100.  I can tell you I rarely use the lowest number unless I am doing creativity with long shutter speeds.  I need shutter to shoot sports, wildlife and even people that are continually moving in the frame.  Creativity with smooth creamy backgrounds, catching a raindrop on its way down or a milky waterfall makes great photography but you still have to get the shot.  Shooting in extreme low light I push the ISO  because I read the longer the shutter is open the noisier the photo can get from over heating of the sensor.  Film never had that problem. People who need to get the shot wedding, news and other documentary photographers tend to buy the more expensive cameras to enable the high ISO capabilities.  The newer cameras are providing that opportunity with better or high ISO.  One time you had to spend $5000.00 to even think about it.  So there a  few choices in regards to ISO.  If you want to always shoot low ISO pick subjects that don't move in low light, always use a tripod or quit shooting when the light fades. 

I prefer to open the window shade and let some light in when I need to.


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Silo City, Buffalo NY an abandoned grain silo area along the Buffalo River.




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