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The dark skies of winter #photography

Despite the dark skies, I went out and took a few photos on Sunday afternoon. The sensor on my camera can be adjusted and made more sensitive to light simply by adjusting the ISO. This is similar to changing the film on the old SLRs to a 400 ISO film, except on a digital camera the ISO can go up much higher than that. There is a problem with very high ISO settings however and that can be noise. The sensor will pick up stray light that shows up as tiny spots on the photograph. I shot the following picture on manual and the camera’s exposure meter showed it would be underexposed at ISO 100.

dark skies

ISO 250

I increased the ISO to 200 which would normally be enough, it makes the sensor twice as sensitive to light. In this case, I wanted to shoot quite fast and I set the ISO higher at 250 and the shutter speed to 1/200th of a second and took the shot at f/8. I think the image is quite sharp and I can’t see any noise. I can usually go to ISO 400 or a little higher without any problems. The rain clouds make the picture quite atmospheric and it would obviously have had a different mood had the Christmas lights been switched on.

Conservation Zone

I intend to photograph a lot of the features on the buildings in the Conservation Zone. The light was so poor on Sunday I only did a couple. This window looked interesting and I zoomed in to take the shot. I increased the ISO to 320 for this shot but I could have taken the shot a lot wider.

Window feature

Clock Tower

I wanted a photo of the clock tower but to get the composition right I would need to stand in the middle of the road. Fortunately, there is a little traffic island in the middle of the road and so I stood on that and zoomed in with the 28 –  300mm lens to get the shot.

Clock tower


I like the composition of this shot and the same shot with more light and perhaps a narrower aperture might be good enough for a printed postcard. I shot this at f/8 and again the ISO was 320. My fast shutter speed of 1/200 of a second compensated for any camera shake caused by zooming in. This was shot at 92 mm so 1/200 of a second was about right. More light would help give the clock tower form. I think a shot with the sun beginning to set might be worth trying too.


There will be more dark skies through the winter but I’ll keep taking photographs. The work on the Conservation Zone will begin next year and I want lots of pictures of the buildings and their features before then. I can then record the changes.

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