Lansdowne and Environs
The Urban Group of the RA Photo Club organized an outing to Lansdowne Park and its surrounding area. This area is in Ottawa's fashionable Glebe neighbourhood. It features TD Place Stadium, the historic Aberdeen Pavilion, and several restaurants. The Rideau canal and associated parkway are also nearby. This was a nighttime outing, so dealing with low light levels was a key consideration. A photographer might use a tripod and a slow shutter speed in this situation. But for this outing we were asked to explore high ISO settings instead. ISO is the setting that controls how light sensitive the camera is. Higher settings degrade photo quality. In particular, they produce objectionable noise (i.e., grain and colour speckles). Some of this can be compensated later using software processing. But there is a point where a photo can't be salvaged by even the best software. The goal of the outing was to explore how far we can push our cameras while still producing good photos. I currently shoot with a Nikon D800 camera. This is a professional-quality full-frame camera. The camera operates optimally at ISO 100. I normally shoot in the ISO 100 - 800 range, and comfortably shoot up to ISO 3,200. For this outing I was shooting in the ISO 6,400 - 25,600 range (25,600 is the highest setting). I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop as my main tools for software processing. They work extremely well in most cases. But dealing with high noise levels calls for supplementary tools. There are many such tools, but Topaz Denoise AI has received strong reviews. This outing provided an ideal opportunity to try it. So, what did I discover? As the provided photos attest, I can produce (marginally) useable handheld photos up to ISO 25,600. But to do this, I needed the extra help of Topaz Denoise AI in my post processing. Even at ISO 6,400 I found that Lightroom on its own struggled in some cases to produce useable results. This is very subject dependent. Some extra grunge in an industrial-type scene doesn't matter much. But degradations in familiar subjects like foliage or water are very objectionable. For those who may be interested, I've noted my settings for each posted photo. While this was a technically-oriented outing, I still strove to find some artistic photos. It was a fun and revealing outing.