Jan 27, 2011

ISO 4000+ horrors

The lunch and dinner below were shot in horrific lighting conditions so bear with me here. Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia is really one of a kind. I was thrilled to grab lunch there while I was down there. The only real advice I have for anyone going is to be VERY VERY sure of your heat-handling abilities when ordering the Spanish Flies (spicy wings) which I think are described as "HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT" on the menu. Trust me on this one. I don't know what possessed me to order that dish twice before. I think I'm through with spicy masochism for now. But do go for the beers, mussels and pommes frites. The burgers are a great choice too.

Anyway the corner we were in pretty much had no light so these shots were taken wide open with the slowest shutter I could really get away with and at ISO 4000 (the empty mussel shells at ISO 6400).

Ok, so these were somewhat presentable after heavy editing.

The below indoor shots taken at Alma de Cuba, pretty much all at ISO 6400, are rather hopeless. I doubt they are fixable at all, or my editing skills aren't strong enough. I wasn't going to bother shooting the rest of the meal but just did for kicks. Plus, sometimes I have to remind myself that I am also at a restaurant to enjoy the food and company. :P Alma de Cuba is one of those places that was on my college bucket list forever, but it just never happened while I was there. This was way too much food for the two of us, and those addictive mounds of warm (slightly sweet) bread they serve were extra dangerous. Not to be defeated, we got dessert anyway, a lit chocolate "cigar."

Overall, I do commend my camera for handling this lack of light. It still amazes me what it can capture in almost darkness. I think I've got at least one more lingering Philly post on the queue if I ever get around to it.

Mm feeling like a Thai takeout + Netflix kind of night. :)


  1. I'm always impressed by your ability to edit night-time indoor photos. I'm terrible at it and if I don't trash the picture completely, I always end up a bit embarrassed of my lack of skills in that department.

    Also, I actually really like those shots from Alma de Cuba. Sometimes I get bent out of shape trying to get a "perfect" shot, but remind myself that the environment in the restaurant is just as much a part of the experience, and thus should be part of the photograph, too. I certainly think this is the case - the yellow cast and blue shadows make me feel like this place is just totally happenin'.

  2. Impressive processing for such high ISO.
    I totally know the spicy masochism esp. with sichuan food. I was outraged at the weekend that my regular sichuan dig had up'ed their prices (hadn't been there for 2 months). Great food, some pics but just that little bit less value for money :(

  3. I love the mussels shots. You take very well photos of dark objects which I always fail to do.

  4. These high ISO shots are still very nice! Very usable. It's what is so tempting to me about the mkii, the low light capabilities.

    Also, you go to the yummiest places.

  5. Beer, mussels and frites sound awesome about now.

    You did a fantastic job of just going with it, and with the recovery. Having fought (and lost) at ISO25600, all I can recommend is to look at it again (much) later; you will better about it.

    And remember; in a pinch, convert to B&W. Noise is good!

  6. Wow, these came out great for such a dark setting! Cameras are amazing, indeed. I usually don't even try inside dark restaurants because I think I'm just wasting time on dark pictures. Good work :)

  7. For that high an ISO, these pictures look clean! Lots of color in all of them too. I like spicy food... I want to try these Spanish Flies hehe

  8. these are all came out really nicely, even with the high ISO! Your camera is impressive! It's the reason I want to upgrade to mkii!

  9. I really like the pictures, I think they are very cool!
    Viele Gruesse, Kristina

  10. Wow! I all ready wanted a 5d MKii but after seeing these low light photos makes it even more desirable! Glad you chose to work on these photos & keep them. Isn't it funny how with film we never throw anything away yet we are more expendable when it comes to digital files?