The Possibilities of High ISO

April 13, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

     First, I admit straight off - the action photo below is not perfect. Nonetheless, it is one result of a fun experiment with shooting at high ISO.  My problem is a simple one - I like to photograph dog sports, some of these take place indoors, and flash is not an option.  This particular panning shot was taken at an ISO of 3000 with a shutter speed of 1/80th sec.

     Earlier this week, I attended a fine ClickMonkeys workshop, with expert photographer Art Suwangsan, on the topic of shooting at high ISO. I know it's possible to shoot at ISO's of 3000 and upwards, and Art gave great insight into the equipment and post processing that makes that an option. But the key point he made, was that he routinely shoots handheld at shutter speeds as low as 1/15th sec. Wow!

     The secret he said, is to stand steady, hold your breath, and shoot a burst of three images.  One those, he explained, is likely to come at a moment when your heart is not beating, and to therefore be still and sharp.

     It's exciting to have an opportunity to try out new ideas, and I did so over the following days at a dog show at the Cal Expo in Sacramento.  The image below is a panning shot, 3000 ISO and 1/50th of a second. It isn't perfect, and yet I think it does a good job of capturing the moment.

     Other, still photos were even more successful.  If you like our furry friends, take a look at them in the dog gallery on my webpage at Michele McCormick Photography.

     But in general, there are lots of tricks to fine photography. Every one I can add to my repertoire creates an exciting new world of possibilities.


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