Jul 272010

I think my whole vacation was a (failed) exercise in low light… or else a ultra successful exercise in blur.  Here I was thinking that I was finally mastering the concepts of photography, only to discover if you take me out the ideal blue skies of Arizona, I’m hopeless.  Anyway, I recognized early on in the vacation that my photos were not coming out well.  So I took the opportunity to try different settings while Fred (as in my mom’s boyfriend, the one featured in the Outdoors photos in previous blog entry) played music for the three of us.   I told you he’s a renaissance man.

ISO 400; f/3.5; 1.0s; 6mm (Canon SX10)

ISO 1600; f/3.2; 1.4; 7.8mm (Canon SX10)

Here is the original  photo still in color with a bit of tweaking:

  9 Responses to “MINI-ASSIGNMENT: Low Light”

  1. My favorite is the black and white – it gives it a vintage feel, perfect for the renaissance Fred.

  2. Gee, I really like the last shot that you tweaked. I love the vintage look and the detail in the shot. Fill light with a flash is a problem I have. Trying to gauge what it’s going to look like is always a challenge.

  3. You might want to look at Joby Gorilla pods, they are cheap and small and you can wrap them on a chair or something. Low light is tricky. I’ve had some luck sticking tissue around the on – camera flash and once a styrofoam cup made a much nicer light.

  4. Thanks, Mike. I forgot about the white balance, so that is valuable advice that I will act on. And yes, the tripod! I have only recently started getting the hang of using it… and then I had to leave it behind when I flew to NH. I really do need to find a comfortable place to take indoors photos here and practice before our season is in full swing again. Anyway, its a good problem to work on. Thanks for taking the time to give much needed advice.

  5. Judi,
    low-light photography is difficult at best with even the best point and shoots, so it’s not you! I have 2 suggestions, take them as you may: 1. you need to work on your white balance to eliminate or minimize any color cast( as in photo 1 and 3)…try the tungsten setting with indoor lighting and see what happens. 2. a tripod is a must for indoor low light photography, your shutter speeds will be too slow to avoid camera shake…I know there a pain in the a…. but in order to maximize your focus and desired lighting it must be used.
    BTW, I really like the B+W version the best…..keep working at it.

  6. Gotta show admiration for people like Grant Dixon who live in Dull places (Lively with dull light I meant) Who can do this stuff while standing on their heads. I thought it was a problem with being used to Australias great light that made me a failure at interior (low light) shots, but I have never got a portrait inside without flash that I liked SOOC. until I started my experiment with the 50mm prime and even these need work, but I think it is the lens, the f1:1.8 lens speed makes so much difference, I am thinking of robbing a bank so that I can buy a f1:1.2 lens then try so indoors shots again. As I stated on my post, from now on when I go out it will be accompanied by the f1: 1.8 lens what ever else I carry. In any event bow work is normally fast anyway and that should be blurry. Love the top one.

    • Thanks, Ron! These pics were done without flash. So the next evening I tried using my flash. I’m not proud of those photos either, but the ones that came out of the SX10 were better than the ones that came out of the Canon SD950IS. I made the mistake of letting the camera select the ISO and since, as Karen points out, this camera doesn’t shoot well over ISO 400, I still had problems. I made other mistakes too…

      I agree that lens/camera makes all the difference but since there is only one bank in town and I like the people there, I’m not planning on robbing it. So, I am going to have to figure out how this camera works best in low light. Problem is finding something to shoot inside… my family should have been perfect subjects but I was too busy visiting to concentrate. I’m wondering how the patrons of Silly Al’s bar will feel if I show up with a flash camera…

      By the way, I’m really admiring your 50mm work.

  7. If it’s any consolation, I have a terrible time taking photos in low light with my Canon SX10, too. I think your top photo came out best. Anything at greater than 200 ISO shows a lot of grain, even with ISO 400, but if I keep the ISO low, I get a lot of blur. I haven’t figured out the trick to it yet.

    • Thanks, Karen! It’s so good to know its not just me. I guess I’m lucky that I don’t have to do low light too often. I haven’t gone back to the manual but I remember reading something about a special thing that Canon did when you use ISO 3200 with the camera… but forgot about that when I was experimenting with Fred’ Fiddlin’ Have you taken any at ISO 3200?

      I do have an opportunity to practice this winter when social events start up again. But I’m sorry that my family photos came out so terrible.

      I do like my blur photos and am thinking of doing one more “Fred” entry for blur.

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