Meet Bert – one of our two indoor-only cats. Bert gets bored easily and needs a lot of attention to keep him happy, so I am always looking for ways to entertain him. Spending some time in the dresser is one of those diversions.
Once Bert had settled in I decided that I might be able to get a decent photo out of the situation, so I grabbed the backup D70 and mounted my brightest lens – an old 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor. On the D70 it works like a 75mm lens on a full frame film camera due to the 1.5x “crop” factor – a nice focal length for portraits.
I’m not a fan of flash, not even of fill flash for the birds I photograph in the wild most of the time. So I didn’t bother with flash for this indoor portrait, either. With the camera mounted on a tripod I set the ISO to 800 (a setting I try to avoid to keep image quality as high as possible).
Even at ISO 800 I needed a shutter speed of 1/5th second at f/4 (to keep enough depth of field for Bert’s face). To improve my odds of getting a sharp image I took a series of shots – they’re free with digital so why not? When I was satisfied I added flash “just in case,” but those shots look completely artificial and lost all the charm of the natural light images.
You never know if things will work out when you push the limits of reason, but if you never try you guarantee that they won’t. So use the advantages of digital and try anyway – you might be pleasantly surprised at the results.