Why I Don’t Shoot on Auto

I’m going to be offline for a couple of days and as things have been a little hectic around here I haven’t had time to shoot anything today. This means rummaging through the archives for a picture and as I’ve been out shooting the streets the last few days I thought it appropriate to use this style of image.

This picture was shot in Berlin back in 2006, on a day much like today and I’ve always liked it, mainly because of the quiet contemplative nature of the image and its high graphic content.

It’s also a good example of just how far digital cameras have come since then. It was shot with a Nikon D70, which had a noise level that used to drive me crazy, as can be seen in this image. Also a modern camera has a far greater dynamic range so the shadows wouldn’t be so noisy and there would also be more detail in the shadows.

The question is then, would the modern technical innovations improve this picture? I lean towards the yes camp because you can never have too much information in the DNG. With a higher dynamic range I could still have processed it to look as it does now, but with this picture, I have no other option.

As an aside, this young woman was a little ahead of her time fashion wise, because in 2006 almost nobody wore large headphones, now they are like smartphones, everybody’s got them.


Reading the pictures technical data it’s also obvious I wasn’t in control of things and that the camera was on auto, which helps to explain the noise and underexposure.


18-70mm, f13, 1/640sec, ISO1600 (these settings are crazy)


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