Grab Shot 24 - "Shipwreck"


"This shipwreck occurred in Ocean Shores, WA," said Jordan Matthiesen. "I took the photo early in the morning on the day of the wreck. We were told that the captain had fallen asleep at the wheel and the ship crashed into the rocks. He made it out OK, but what a terrible loss!"

Jordan captured this shot with a Canon 20D. The ISO was set to 400 with the camera in shutter priority mode, 1/200th of a second. The focal length was set to 22mm.

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Thats a great picture, I have just one question it says the iso is set to 400, why would that be so high during daylight.
Forgive me if its a stupid question as I am just starting out and dont know much about iso settings.

Hey Anubis. There might be a couple reasons for ISO 400 in this case.

With the excellent low-noise processor in the modern Canon DSLRs, ISO 400 still produce quite smooth shots. And there is a convenience to having the extra light coming in. For "walking-around" shots like this grab shot, Jordan might just leave his camera at ISO 400 to allow the most flexibility if he ducks inside for a few minutes, or if the sun hasn't quite come up yet. It's a convenient "safe" setting to leave the camera in for quickly grabbing a shot without thinking.

For this particular shot, perhaps Jordan wanted to freeze the motion of the waves crashing over the boat. In that case, ISO 100 would have yielded a shutter speed of 1/50s instead of 1/200s, which although exposed properly, and probably sharp enough on the rocks with a steady hand at 22mm, the waves would have been blurry and not quite so dramatic.

Those are my thoughts, although only Jordan knows for sure. ;-)


In this case, I was experimenting with a number of settings on my camera (it was new to us at the time) for these shots and I can't remember if this ISO selection was totally on purpose.

I wanted to freeze the waves as they crashed into the boat, so it definitely helped me get that faster shutter speed without sacrificing the exposure.

Thank you for all the info, its good to get an idea why people use certain settings, and the results they get.
I hope that soon there will be a podcast that covers stuff for the newbie to photography, I have always had point and shoot digital cameras, its only in the last month I purchased a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20, and it has a lot more settings than my other cameras