Old Folks

Old folks in JJ Smyth's Pub, Dublin, 2007

Here’s one of my earlier photos, after I had gotten my first DSLR.

I shot this photo (secretly) in one of my favourite pubs in Dublin, the JJ Smyth’s. Its upstairs part is fairly famous, being one of the main Jazz locations in the city; there are small gigs almost every day, and every now an then someone famous plays there too. On the street level, however, it’s just “normal”, pub — but a very nice and original one at that (i.e. with pretty much no tourists). Usually, you can see some pretty cool, funky old folks hanging out there, downing pints of dark stout at a rate I could never keep up with (or afford, for that matter)…

In any case, it was a very dark situation, so I had put on my brightest lens, a 50mm ƒ/1.4 and set the camera’s ISO setting to the highest possible value (1600) — this gave me a 1/40s of a second (which is still “handholdable”, thanks to the stabilised sensor). However, at the time, Sony was with their Alpha 100 even worse when it came to noise at high ISO values than they are today, so the picture had some really brutal noise in it.

So here comes the cheap solution: Try converting your picture to black and white. Depending on your camera, the noise may then look rather natural and pleasing — adding to the “flair” of the pictures.

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