Power was Restored and ISO 6400 Looks Great

High School Graduation - Austin, Texas

High School Graduation – Austin, Texas

I was about to throw in the towel and expect rather dismal documentation of my son’s graduation. As I explained in the last two posts, we lost power in the arena. I tried everything to take pictures in dim lighting, without enough success. The ensuing scramble had speeches done through a megaphone — barely audible. They started reading the student names, too, by smartphone light and desperately announced via a handheld bullhorn. It was all very messy and totally understandable.

Somewhere in the Cs — last names in alphabetical order — the power was magically restored. Moments after, I snapped today’s picture. ISO 6400 never looked so good. My son and I were lucky that he got to walk across the stage with full electrical power. I had adjusted the Fuji X-E3 to the highest burst rate and captured multiple clean images. A critical change I made after lessons learned at my older son’s college graduation.

What many people might not understand is that ISO performance is highly dependent on exposure. Get the exposure right, and ISO 6400 can look quite good on a modern APS-C camera. If it’s underexposed, the process of raising the shadows can uncover unwanted noise. That’s the problem you can see with yesterday’s post-processing. Something that I had very little control over.

So there is a happy ending to the high school graduation saga. And, my years of photographic experience helped me determine realistic expectations of what’s possible under trying conditions.

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