While editing some older images (shot in ’04) I couldn’t help but see differences between photos taken during the early period of digital photography and the advanced technology we have available today. My first digital camera was a little plastic bodied Nikon point and shoot, it had barely 2mp of sensor, there was no such thing as shooting in low light because the digital noise would pretty much obscure the final image. I bought the camera around 2001 for $800.00! Memory cards were low capacity and high dollar.
When I later acquired my first DSLR, a Nikon D-100 and a year later a Nikon D2H I thought I’d arrived, the D-100 was soon replaced by another D2H when we started shooting weddings. The D-100 had a miniscule buffer meaning each shot took what seemed like forever to clear the processor, and no shots could be taken until that happened. The D2H was designed for news and sports photography, meaning its’ buffer could hold a lot of images and still allow more to be taken.
However, except for Cannon and even Cannon had its’ problems, low light shooting was still limited to ISOs below 800-1000. Even at these levels the final image would have lots of noise in the shadows. For those who spent their pre-digital days shooting film you know what would happen if you pushed Kodak Tri-X beyond its’ ISO ceiling of 400, the final image would contain a heavy dose of grain.
While theoretically I could shoot as high as 1200 ISO with the D2h, more often than not I’d have to run the image through noise reduction software to get a semi-decent final image.
All of the images below were shot at ISO400 to keep the noise down in the final image. Looking at the Metadata of the images from this series I couldn’t help but be amazed at the progress made in sensor technology. Had I had the cameras I have today I would have been able to shoot 2000+ ISO and a much higher shutter speed than the 1/40 of a second these were captured at.
Back in ’04 I had just added the Nikon D2h to our kit, so I was looking for any opportunity to shoot with the new camera. This particular day there were a lot of Canadian Geese flying over and to the west the sky was starting to show layers of reds. My goal was to try to capture formations of geese against the red sky.
I headed to Lake Nokomis, which isn’t far from where I live, and was met flocks and flocks of geese. The sun was in the early stages of setting so I focused on the geese, however, almost seconds after I had captured several flights of geese, I checked out the stage of the sunset and the photo below is the result.