Noisy, Dirty, Gritty Fun

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Sometimes, a photograph doesn’t have to have crisp, clean perfection. Sometimes, it’s kind of fun to let things get a little noisy, a little dirty, a little gritty.

This photo was taken in Portland, Maine, on the wharf off of Commercial Street in the Old Port district. It was a night in late May 2007, at about 10:00, and I bumped my ISO up to 1600 because I didn’t have a tripod with me. I just LOVE how it turned out, even as noisy as it is. I love the still ocean water reflecting the boats, and how the ambient light from the city behind me made the hulls glow. Looking at the shot now, I see I could have done a better crop, but all in all I’m pleased with the atmosphere the photo creates.

These shots were taken inside a Jazz club in the other Portland, the one in Oregon. I had the ISO set at 800 with a 1/4 second exposure. No flash or tripods allowed, so I just snapped away the best I could. Many of them had high noise and blur, but in this case I played around with the post processing – I converted them to black and white and ran a vintage action to make them even more gritty and more noisy.

This one was taken in a club in Chandler, Arizona – no flash and no tripods allowed. Again, the ISO was cranked to 1600 and I stood as still as I could to get this backlit shot of a friend of mine “in character” as Nikki Sixx in his Motley Crue tribute band. There was no smoking in the club – the hazy effect is all noise, baby.

As you can see, you can have a lot of fun and get really creative at the higher ISO’s when you allow noise to become part of the atmosphere of your photographs. Have fun, play around with it, and share your photos in the comments!

Photo credits (all): Snerkology Media

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