Welcowme to the brave, crazy new world of high ISO photography! Remember the days of defining high ISO as 400? (We actually said ASA 400 back then.) When I started as a pro, 200 ISO was as high as I could go, any higher the quality of the photo was terrible, unpublishable. When I got my first good, professional level digital camera I could shoot at ISO 1250 but no higher. My next camera allowed me to go to ISO 1600 and I thought this was bordering on magical. Now with my new Nikon D750 I can now shoot in the magical realm.
The picture above was shot at ISO 12,800. That’s right, ISO 12,800! No bad, huh? There is a little noise in the dark areas but it was easily dealt with by using just a touch of noise reduction in Lightroom. 12,800! Pure fantasy land magic.
The reason I had to use such a high ISO was to keep the shutter speed at a reasonable number for the Maasai women. I could’ve shot it at a much lower ISO but the much longer shutter speed would’ve meant that the women would’ve moved. The shutter speed for this shot was about 2 seconds.
The shot to the left was taken at ISO 6400. It was pitch black inside the house, the only light is from the Luci Light hanging above. Again, I picked a very high ISO because with 4 people involved I knew there would always be movement. the shutter speed was about 1 second.
The lesson is- use your ISO. It is an important tool in the photography toolbox. And don’t be afraid to crank up your ISO and see what happens. I think you will be shocked but shocked in a good, magical way.