Traveling, for me, involves evening and night time strolls around cities and visits to museums and cathedrals. All these have one thing in common, the available light is very low. When strolling after dinner and exploring a city, I don’t usually want to carry a tripod and prefer the natural light as opposed to using a flash. So, turning the ISO up helps me get the shot. After arriving late one evening in Oklahoma City, I went straight to the Memorial and arrived as the sun was setting. As night fell and the lights turned on, I turned my ISO up to 1600 and tried to do justice to the solemnity of the location.
Walking around the city of Paris one night I pulled out my camera and set my ISO to 800 and snapped this image.
A night time stroll about Rome lead to this famous fountain and it’s night time appearance. I used an ISO 800 here so I could use a slower shutter speed and let the flowing water blur.
Many museums and cathedrals don’t allow flash photography. At the Centre Pompidou, I turned the ISO up to 1600 which allowed for a shutter speed of 1/60 with an f4 to capture this intriguing work of art.
The Art Institute of Chicago is the home of many works of art and I was able to view one of my favorites, Paris Street; Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte. Seeing this up close and personal meant I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to capture it. ISO set to 800 for this one; you may find that the lighting in a museum allows a little lower ISO setting to be used.
In Europe, the cathedrals are just as full of art work as the museums and flash photography is often frowned upon or not allowed.
The statue of the Madonna and Child, in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, captured my attention by their outstretched hands and the way they seem to be welcoming and greeting so peacefully.
Newer cameras’ ISO capabilities have grown tremendously. My Canon 5D original version high end ISO is 1600 expandable to 3200. Last holiday season, I had the chance to use a Canon Rebel T4i with a high end ISO capability of 12,800 which is expandable to 25,800. I took it out in to my neighborhood and shot some Christmas lights hand held and was very impressed with the quality of the results.
Sometimes, a high ISO is necessary to get a low light shot.
Try turning off that flash and raising your ISO and see what you think.