No flash


These days it’s allowed to take pictures in museums for private purposes. It makes no sense anymore to forbid taking pictures. The mobile cameras are so tiny these days, the museum attendants couldn’t control all the people who like to take a picture.

Today I visited an exhibition with pictures of Carl Strathmann. The title of the exhibition: Jugendstil bizarre'.. About 7 pictures weren’t allowed to photograph. They were pictures on loan from other museums that didn’t allow to photograph them. Next to these pictures was the symbol for ‘no pictures’. Yet all the other pictures were allowed to photograph.

Using flash is never allowed in museums. It’s understandable. It would annoy all the other visitors if every other moment another flash would illuminate the room.

This means one must know the own camera. One must know how to switch off the built-in flash. In addition one must know how to compensate the lack of light. It’s possible to hold down the flash. Yet usually one wants to take pictures of good quality.

In museums the light situation can be called difficult. There are often artificial lights to highlight the pictures. The rooms are often very dark. Sometimes the light mirrors in the glass that protects the pictures. Light changes all the time. Also the brightness of the pictures or exhibits changes all the time.

ISO comes into play again. I set it on Auto. It compensates the flash and adjusts quickly.

If one likes Art Nouveau in general, one might also like Carl Strathmann. I liked his pictures and created even a board on Pinterest. Yet in museums I often think that the visitors are as interesting as the pictures or exhibits.

Seeing the work of other artists is very inspiring. Every artist has another favorite topic. How the topics are presented and translated is so different like the artists themselves. Every artist has his/her own language and own preferences.

ISO - an approach


Yesterday I googled ISO. I had the feeling as if everything about ISO was written already. Pictures showed the different ISO settings applied on the same object. At the end I knew how useful ISO is and how powerful.

What was still missing is how to approach ISO in a more practical way. It’s great to know what is possible. But how can I use ISO when I take pictures?

  1. ISO is the first setting that I check on my camera. Before I adjust anything else, I adjust ISO to the current light situation. The first question is about the light. This is done rather fast. The correct ISO setting can save a picture.

  2. First orientation I got in a workshop. The teacher told us to use ISO 400 when outside and to use ISO 800 when inside a room. I found this as a very good start. From there I could fine-tune my camera. When the room is very dark I use a higher ISO. Once I was on a beach on a bright day I knew at once that ISO 100 would be great. When the main subject of the picture is bright I can use a lower ISO.

  3. ISO 100 creates pictures of the highest quality. The higher the ISO the more corny the picture gets. This can be wished. It can be a mean to express the night. Corny doesn’t equal bad picture. Yet usually one aims for a low ISO setting.

  4. By now I mentioned two light situations: Inside a room and outside on a normal day. But there are much more difficult light situations. A difficult light situation is when it’s very dark with bright light somewhere, and when in addition the main attraction of the scenery is moving. Then I adjust my camera to ISO Auto. Especially when the light is changing all the time, this is my setting.

  5. It’s a good tip to know the camera by heart. Also in a dark environment one should be able to adjust the camera.

    I remember how to adjust my camera to ISO Auto: Camera on - second button (back, from below) - wheel at the front.

    I remember how to adjust my camera individually: Camera on - second button (back, from below) - wheel at the front to ISO - wheel back to adjust individually.

    There are two respectively three steps to adjust ISO to the light situation..

  6. It’s difficult to forbid to take pictures these days when in a museum or a concert. Usually to take pictures is allowed, but without flash. With ISO a flash can be compensated. It makes sense to understand ISO and how to set it in different light situations.


I took the above picture with a Nikon 750. ISO was in auto mode. I later checked ISO. It was set to ISO 12800, which is the highest setting. Is the picture unpleasant corny? I don’t think so.

To combine situations with ISO settings might help to get faster:

Beach is ISO 100

Snow is ISO 100

Outside is ISO 400

Inside is ISO 800

Concerts is ISO Auto

These are only rough orientations, but it’s a beginning to get familiar with ISO and to adjust it.

I’d appreciate to hear if this post was useful for you. Please comment. Thank you.