High ISO — not just for weak light

High ISO settings are not just for night time or other weak-light moments. They can sometimes come in mighty handy in bright sunlight too.

Previous tip  |  Next tip

Scarlet Honeyeater

A fast-moving Scarlet Honeyeater flapping its wings in full sunlight needed a high ISO setting.

The tiny Scarlet Honeyeater in the photo above was constantly moving. I needed a fast shutter speed (2,500th second) to freeze its movement. I also needed a fairly small aperture (f/10) to get enough depth of field. Combine those two things and, even in bright sunlight, I was going to end up with an underexposed shot. But winding the ISO up to 1,600 made that problem go away. It gave my camera the “superpowers” it needed to get a sharp image of a fast-moving small bird.

So, don’t think of high ISO as being only necessary in weak light. Think of it as being useful any time that the light is simply not strong enough for your other settings.

Previous tip  |  Next tip


Beginners’ guides to digital SLR photography


Before you start


The essential basics


Making sense of technical stuff

Photography words

Photography words explained


Sneaky stuff


Common problems and their solutions

Preying mantis

Taking things further


Photography at night

Other photography stuff

Copyright © Mark David. All rights reserved