ISO 12800? I was pushing my camera to the limits in the dim lighting of Unit 7 Studios in Bladnoch, near Wigtown.
Steve Dowling and The Obliviates released their new album, "Austerity", on Saturday, and I was delighted to be invited along to the launch party. With driving rhythms, a strong blues influence, and a moothie (harmonica) player who creates sounds like some metallic beast rising from the depths, I've been enjoying their music for a couple of years now.
I wasn't asked to bring my camera, but I would have felt naked without it. And as I had it on me, I wanted to try and capture a few moody shots.
Unfortunately the space we were in was designed for musicians to be recorded in, not to be filmed and photographed, so not a lot of consideration was given to performance lighting. A few soft overhead lights, and a lamp on the floor was fine for the sophistication of the human eye, but not so great for the camera.
When photographing something like the night sky, you can stick the camera on a tripod and have the shutter open for 30 seconds to let enough light in to give you a decent exposure. However, when photographing performers, they are constantly moving, and anything much less than about 1/125th of a second is likely to end up looking blurred - especially when I was using my large zoom lens to get in close. The bigger the zoom, the more exaggerated any movement becomes.
In the end, a lot of my photos were unusable, however I was able to rescue a few in the editing process afterwards - boosting exposure levels, softening noise levels and generally playing around with a lot of buttons and sliders in Photoshop.
If you're interested in knowing what they sound like, here's a video of "Rolling Sea" from the new album