ISO Setting: Hard Lesson Learned

One of the best ways for photographers to learn is to realize the mistakes of other photographers that have come before them and take notes.  The great thing about history is that we get to learn from our mistakes and our successes, then adjust accordingly in the future.  Here’s one of my own personal Hard Lesson Learned:

Last weekend I went to Washington, D.C. to walk around and do some shooting.  It was pretty much what you would call a “photo walk” since I didn’t have one specific subject or shot that I was looking for.  I spent the entire day walking around the National Mall taking shots of monuments, landscapes, buildings, you name it and I would shoot it. 

The night before I very carefully ensured my batteries were charged, I had all my gear, and packed everything into my travel bag that I might need.  The day was going great and I was getting some good shots and seeing some interesting things.  I even visited a couple of spots in D.C. that I had never been to before. 

I stopped off for lunch in one of my favorite spots in Washington, “Old Ebbitt Grill”.  It’s not only my favorite, because it’s the 5th richest restaurant in D.C.!  Regardless of that, they have great food and beverages and it’s very fairly priced.  It’s also well known and busy.  I thoroughly enjoyed my clam chowder and Reuben as I had worked up an appetite walking around.  I finished my beer, paid my tab and headed out again.

Whenever I visit the Vietnam Memorial I’m overcome by the powerful feeling that surges through me and the gratitude I feel for those that came before me and gave their lives for their Country.  It’s simply amazing.  From there I went over to the Lincoln Memorial which was my last stop.  I went inside and took some shots as there were lots of flowers left over from President’s Day that past Monday.  I had set my D40 to ISO 800 to get those shots.

Here comes the Hard Lesson Learned: when I went back outside, I forgot to change the ISO setting back to my usual 200 while I’m shooting outdoors.  Now the rest of my shots for the day weren’t all that bad, they just have some extra noise which no photographer wants.  If I were shooting for a client, the shoot wouldn’t have been blown, but I would have to spend extra time in Photoshop reducing noise.  As we all know, in business time is money. 

So there you have it, learn from my mistake and remember to check your camera settings every time your environment changes.  You’ll thank me for it!  Have a great Thursday!

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