High Iso portraits from the Omo valley in Ethiopia with the Nikon D5

High Iso portraits from the Omo valley in Ethiopia with the Nikon D5

I am Albi, a German photographer based in Paris. I work with Nikon since many years, up from the D1 till now the D5. I also have a photo blog since 6 years: pictures-by-albi.com; I consider myself as an Amateur. All pictures on this post are taken with the Nikon D5.

Albi in June 2016 in the Omo valley: 1/640s – f/4,5 – 2800 ISO – 70-200mm f/2,8

I went to a workshop “Masterclass with Steve McCurry” to the Omo valley in southern Ethiopia organized by  http://better-moments.com/ , a Danish photo travel agency.

I never work with flash and I thought going in June to Ethiopia there will be light enough…

1/125s – f/4 – 51200 ISO – 24-70mm F/2,8

In fact, I was very happy to had the D5, because there wasn’t that light I did expect: the Mursi, an ethnic group living in small villages far away from any civilization can only be visited in the morning because they drink a lot of an 80% Alcohol in the afternoon, taking pictures will be too dangerous….

we arrived at 10 o’clock in the Mursi village and soon we had this called by Steve “noon-light”.

There was no other solution to made the portraits under trees, in the shadow.

So we had to take most of all pictures on this trip on late afternoon in the shadow, or inside. Also we went to different market places, early in the morning, with very good light, but we had to wait till 10-11 o’clock, because the people arrived very late.

I was so surprised to do pictures in Ethiopia up to 51.200 iso.

I always work in “M” manual mode and ISO auto, and don’t want to go under 1/100s, the D5 works phantastic, with my D3 I was limited to 800 iso, the D4s allowed me to shoot correctly till 4000 iso, but the D5 now gives you much more possibility to do portraits everywhere.

1/125s – f/7,1 – 32000 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

This family was very, very friendly: 1/125s – f/4,5 – 18000 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

In fact we had all over a very warm welcome, it was very easy to take the portraits, everybody knows that in this place of the world you have to pay for it, but for me it is a win-win relation, they wait for you, they made themselves pretty for you and you came to do portraits.

He owns one t-shirt, no shoes, but he has a great smile: 1/125s – f/7,1 – 6400 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

The grandmother, 75 years old:  1/125s – f/5 – 4000 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

Almost overdressed, but he is “the men”: 1/125s – f/5 – 5600 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

Inside the bar, some drinks, playing cards: 1/100s – f/7,1 – 5000 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

Beautiful lady, beautiful eyes and proud to be: 1/200s – f/9 – 4500 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

Another picture inside the bar of the village: 1/160s – f/3,5 – 16000 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

The famous honey alcohol with 80°:  1/125s – f/4,5 – 2000 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

Traditional body painting in the Omo valley: 1/1250s – f/6,3 – 1600 ISO – 70-200mm f/2.8

1/1000s – f/5,6 – 2500 ISO – 70-200mm f/2.8

1/200s – f/4 – 3200 ISO – 70-200mm f/2.8

1/200 – f/6,3 – 4000 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

Too much sunlight outside, we had to go inside of their houses: 1/125s – f/3,5 – 11400 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

1/640s – f/3,5 – 3200 ISO – 70-200mm f/2.8

On the market place late afternoon: 1/640s – f/3,5 – 2000 ISO – 70-200mm f/2.8

On the market: 1/640s – f/3,5 – 2200 ISO – 70-200mm f/2.8

Just before sunset on the market: 1/250s – f/4 – 10000 ISO – 70-200mm f/2.8

Mursi village: 1/250s – f/8 – 2000 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

Too much sun, we went into the shadow: 1/640s – f/5,6 – 3200 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

1/200 f/6,3 – 2500 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

1/200 f/7,1 – 2500 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

On the road: 14/2000s – f/6,3 – 4500 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

1/2000 – f/8 – 2200 ISO – and the new 200-500mm f/5.6

This new zoom seems perfect for the D5, the weight allows you to “shoot” by hand, but you need a very short speed (1/2000) and an aperture at f/8, so you need these high ISO.

We paid the haircut: 1/125s – f/8 – 4000 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

People didn’t expect we paid the haircut to everybody: we had a very warm , and the “shooting” was very easy, I put white balance on “auto”

1/125s – f/8 – 4500 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

Steve McCurry showed me this place, that’s his colors!  1/160s – f/5 – 6400 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

Same place, same colors: 1/160s – f/5 – 12800 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

6 o’clock pm and a real dark place: 1/160s – 5,6 – 7200 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

1/160s – f/6,3 – 45600 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

1/160s – f/6,3 – 16000 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

Late afternoon in the school, 1/100s – f/4 – 5000 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

After the sun went down:  1/200 – f/6,3 – 7200 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

Inside a bar: 1/320s – f/4 – 2500 ISO- 24-70mm f/2.8

The kitchen of the bar: 1/60s – f/3,2 – 11400 ISO – 24-70mm f/2.8

First of all I will say “thank you” to the travel agency “Better-Moments” to organize so well this trip, I like to make photo workshops with a group, you do more and better pictures, there is an ambiance of photography: nobody cares of time, there is no hurry, everybody is on the same “run” of light and takes care. Nikon doesn’t sponsor this post, I just wanted to explain that with the Nikon D5 you are much more free to shoot at any situation without taking too much care of the light, it is just incredible the change of technology in a few years!

Another word to Steve McCurry who managed this workshop: a very smart friend, very simple, close to us, he is not a technology freak. He took only a Nikon D810 with a 24-70mm f/2.8 in 9 days, he is just hunting the best light, when I say hunting the best light with the best frame, it’s just an obsession, he is searching for those colors that he is famous for…

…by the way I think 80% of you and including me: we think too much technic, too much settings of the camera and loose that time for a perfect frame and a real search of beautiful colors and the perfect background.

Thank you for reading my “Amateur” view about the ISO performances of the Nikon D5.

Albi from http://pictures-by-albi.com/.

If you have an interesting idea for a guest post, you can contact me here.

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