Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ongoing Lessons-2 of 3

Okay, I'm posting these
so we can remember
what a great time we had last night,
but be warned,
these are poor shots.

The boats were beautiful,

and the company superb.

But gosh, it was cold!

This was one of my favorite boats.

Yeah, I know, not too sharp.
Let's call it my artistic vision.

Or not . . .

This is the best shot of the night,
but it's nothing to brag about.

A bit better
(but this ship was at anchor).

This is what I mean when I say
I cannot hold a camera steady.

As we were leaving the harbor, I was complaining to Terry about my crappy shots. I was really discouraged.

He reminded me that years ago, we were at Disneyland and wanted to take pictures of the Main Street Electrical Parade (something we had never gotten good shots of). We took our (film) camera in to the Camera Shop on Main Street and the fellow very kindly sold us 1000 film and set our camera to something (but we don't remember what). Whatever he did, for the first time we got great night shots.

Remembering this, Terry mentioned that he had set his camera to ISO 800.

As I said before, I never mess with the settings in my camera, because I really don't understand them.

But this got me thinking . . .

Since we were heading out the the wharf for some nice warm soup, I decided to try a few settings myself.

I looked in my camera manual (which I keep in PDF form on my iPhone and my iPad) and saw where I could adjust the ISO setting and put it at 1600.

Not really understanding exactly what the correlation was, I also changed the shutter speed to 250.

Then, as we waited for our soup, I started taking pictures. The restaurant is glass on three sides, dim fluorescent lights inside and lots of ambient light outside, street lights, neon signs, etc.

And interesting things started to happen. Even though the light was dim and indirect, my pictures were fairly good. We ate our soup, then went out on the wharf and shot some pictures of the boardwalk across the dark water. And they weren't half bad.

So very slowly, the relationship between how the digital sensor deals with light (which is what ISO stands for in the digital world, I think) and the speed of the shutter have started to make a bit of sense.

I haven't had time to work on the pictures, but I will in the next posting.

Just so you know, I'm writing this all out here so I can reference it. Hopefully by the time I'm done working this out, I'll be able to use it when I go out and shoot pictures!


Angie said...

I highly recommend Bryan Peterson's book called Understanding Exposure. I promise you will understand shutter speed, ISO, aperture and how they work together to take the kind of photos you want. I had to read certain parts of the book multiple times for it to sink in, but it was well worth the money and more. The only problem with a higher ISO is that it creates more noise in the photo. My latest camera, the Sony a33, has a great feature that reduces the noise in higher ISO photos so if a faster shutter speed or higher F-stop doesn't let in enough light for long enough in low light situations then I can fall back on that. Anyway, I really do believe you would find Peterson's book beneficial.

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

I can relate to the picture quality. We were in the Destin, Florida boat parade on Sunday. Great time, but since I left the SLR home, the little point and shoot was having a hard time. It still will be a great way to remember:)

Russ Krecklow said...

I can say that your pictures of the boats sure are better than any pictures like that I have ever taken. You're getting it, Kate. I have a couple books on taking low light pictures, and I still need to get back in there and read some more.

BJ said...

Not being a professional or even close to it I loved all of your pictures. I just use my little cell phone camera so I know I can't even think about taking night time pictures. We are going on a sternwheeler dinner cruise on the Willamette river next week. I'm pretty excited becasue the Christmas Ships will be on the river at the same time and we will get to enjoy all those beautiful lights too.
Betty and Joe