How ISO 1600, hyperfocal focusing made this stunning, handheld image possible

How ISO 1600 and hyperfocal focusing made this stunning, handheld image possible

Professional travel and landscape photographer David Clapp takes thousands of pictures, but one of his most recent favourites is this ethereal shot of a Hindu celebration taken during an excursion to Varanasi, India.

In his latest guest blog post he reveals how a high ISO and a hyper focal distance technique helped him capture this wonderful moment.

See more of David’s images by liking David’s Facebook page, or you can check out his blog.

How ISO 1600 and hyperfocal focusing made this stunning, handheld image possible

Image by David Clapp

This remarkable moment in Varanasi, India was taken during the beautiful evening ceremony of Ganga Arti, part of the days Hindu celebrations but take place every night along the River Ganges.

If you have never been, it is one of the most human places on earth.

I’m standing in the middle of a small rowing boat with the Canon 6D attached to my tripod and a 24-105mm lens. That’s our captain in the bottom left.

He had been trying to row us as close the action as possible but resorted to wedging the boat in between others who also couldn’t get any closer.

There were small children jumping from bow to stern, selling water bottles, jewellery and all sorts of other knickknacks, but above all it was the sound of the ceremony echoing across the water the overwhelmed my senses.

I saw the three ladies sat in the bottom right hand corner, repeating shapes and it became very apparent that a very special image was unfolding.

I took the camera in hand, cranks the ISO to 1600, hyperfocally focused the camera at f4, 24mm 1/8th sec and waited for our captain to turn his head into the scene.

I have to say, not being religious in the conventional sense, I have never felt more energy and affinity with any religious ceremony in my life, but this affected me for days after. Varanasi really is a wonder to behold.


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