824 – White Is In The Winter Night

It’s Friday morning now, I’m still behind, these are Wednesday’s pictures, I may catch up during today’s five hours on the train though.

On Wednesday I rose at 4:30am, hoping to see the HTTPS problem fixed, that prevented me from posting. No luck though, so I simply went to work much earlier, even before 6am, taking my time, shooting in the dark of pre-dawn morning on lonely streets.

I arrived at work before dawn and left long after dusk. In the meantime snow fell. You may have noticed that my attitude against winter is largely positive this year. It’s funny, but I like it. It could still be argued though, that snow in the city is one of the more unwelcome presents of nature, and as such it is treated. It takes about 20 minutes, and the white streets are filled with black sludge. With current temperature levels it’s to stay for some days though.

On a more technical note, Jen commented on the low noise of Tuesday’s picture, the one with the couple who needs to talk it over. I read the comment only minutes ago, but it comes as a nice coincidence that all images of today’s bicycles were shot even higher, not at ISO 2500, not at 3200, no, at ISO 6400.

The noise level at 100% size on screen is not as low as it looks here, but it is pretty good. The D300 is no D700, but the D700 is no D800 either, if you know what I mean 🙂

Cameras come and go. What the D300 can do, that is much more than the D2X ever could, and that one was considered pretty high-level pro, right? Today’s craze is the D700, but in a year, when a D800 will be with us, it will be considered obsolete. In fact, I could buy cameras all the time, one each year, every one will be better than its predecessor, at least in a certain way, but – really – even with the D300 I am in territory that had never been charted in film days. And still there were some pretty good photographs taken on film, don’t you agree 😕

The Tuesday image was developed with DxO Optics Pro, that’s part of the low noise level. The combination of Adobe Camera RAW and Noise Ninja (or one of the other leading anti-noise plugins) can come close to DxO, but DxO is still better.

Today’s images are JPEGs straight out of the camera. That’s how ISO 6400 looks unprocessed. I can see no fault here, can you? Doing it in B&W does the trick. ISO 6400 in color is unacceptable on the D300, at least unprocessed. Using DxO it can well be usable though.

When I’m talking about noise, I’m talking about looking on huge images, like prints of at least A3, or looking at full-screen images on a 1920×1200 display. I don’t talk about the image sizes that you see here on the blog or that you get by clicking on any of my images. Noise is no problem of web-sized images today. No problem at all.

Deliberately shooting at ISO 6400 and with the camera set to B&W is something that I do once in a while. It is fun. Try it. Set your camera to the highest ISO, turn it to a B&W preset, shoot RAW + JPEG. The JPEGs will be B&W, the RAW will still have all the color information, but chances are, that you won’t miss color. You wouldn’t have missed it with a roll of B&W film loaded either. Now go out and shoot. Forget about ISO and technical image quality. You are at the lowest level now, it can’t get any worse. Shrug, see, compose and shoot some good pictures. Just don’t consider shooting test charts 🙂

As regards image titles, I’ll soon be through this album, I guess. The Song of the Day, “White Is In The Winter Night“, is one more time from Enya’s 2008 concept album “And Winter Came”. Hear it on YouTube.

2 thoughts on “824 – White Is In The Winter Night”

  1. I have a D80, and love it, but I do drool over the D300/700. I have barely begun to scratch the surface of what the D80 can do, and plan to use it until it dies. 🙂

    Thank you for the insight into your wonderful, low noise, photos. I will try setting the ISO up high and shooting B&W.
    I really prefer B&W to color, and sometimes I really like the grain/noise in a B&W photo. It gives it personality, texture…life.

    Great photos, I am so glad I stumbled on your blog!

  2. Andreas, Thanks for your comments and suggestions, I've been playing with high iso settings for star photos. I'm going to take your idea and try B&W…

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