Shopping trolleys – the way to travel!

This is my daughter HB. Today we were shopping, (walking 327 miles around Ikea’s human-livestock milking maze), and eventually she decided that a trolley was marginally better when combined with a rare chocolate-coin bribe than me breaking my back carrying her around as is her usual want! Anyway, this is all irrelevant except to explain why HB was in a dark carpark with overhead floodlights. I have been consciously trying to connect with my photography again so I noticed the interesting lights highlighting her hair and grabbed my camera. In this case my Canon 500D with pancake f2.8 lens. She was playful and awkward to photograph, refusing to look at me and hiding behind her soft toy, but once she was finished playing, she was clearly happy and relaxed about the trolley pics.

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In terms of light, this was at ISO3200 which I chose from gut feeling only as there really wasn’t any time before the moment was gone. This gave me 1/15th of a second (which I didn’t check); with no flash, that was simply too slow, and I feel silly admitting it. Out of 6 exposures, there were only two that passed muster because of steady hand, “still-ish” child and pure luck. Only one of these showed a suitable moment! It is not pin sharp, but it is fun and full of movement and life, and that is what I need to become more relaxed with. (Perhaps with ISO 6400 next time at least). The wind whipped her hair up appealingly and although the light was way too low in level, the floodlight behind created great rimlighting and the floodlights behind me became “key” lights albeit a little unbalanced. Essentially what we had was a kind of studio light setup but with too little power!

Why not just use auto ISO? The truth is I have had so many bad experiences of my Canon DSLR’s allowing slow shutter speeds in some misguided attempt to keep the ISO low. The camera knows the focal length, and knows the rule of thumb about needing your shutter speed to be at least 1/focal length to have a hope of sharp handheld images. Apparently Canon didn’t programme this in, because it doesn’t always work. It’s almost like they have assumed that all lenses will be Image Stabilised these days, however very few prime lenses are. I use primes most of the time for portraits. I would love to hear if others have noticed this about Canon’s algorithm?

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