Learning curve

Posted by lionelbrits, 2010-12-09 22:00:34 [31 comments]

I sometimes think that a learning curve can be a subjective experience. I have a tendency to overthink and overcomplicate things, and a good example is probably low-light (or available-light) photography. I usually avoid using a flash unless it is absolutely necessary or can be used to enhance the photograph, and ever since starting out with our first "real camera", I have bumped up against the laws of physics at every step. There are many variables that go into pulling more and more light from a scene, and each variable affects the mood and focus of the image. So I've experimented with wider apertures and techniques for holding the camera still. Of course, setting a higher ISO results more light being registered, all things being equal, or the ability to use a faster shutter speed, but the increased sensitivity of the camera's sensor comes at the cost of increased noise. When I was first learning how to effectively manage lighting and exposure, the results of shooting at high ISO values were disappointing, and I developed a mental block towards shooting at anything over ISO 1600. As my technique improved, I somehow retained that aversion, and unnecessarily limited myself and what the camera could do.

While the photographers of old had to contend with much slower film speeds, I'm sure my experience is not in any way a modern one. What I've learned is that, handled properly, modern cameras can pull of impressive feats. These things can see in the dark! I'll leave you with a little bed-time pondering; the following shot was taken under the light of a 15W incandescent lamp.

Story time - f/1.8, ISO 3200, 1/20 sec
Story time - f/1.8, ISO 3200, 1/20 sec
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