She Wouldn’t Say Boo To A Goose

geese being herded in Masham

Photographed in Masham in Yorkshire during the annual fair in 2009.

I spotted the geese and I was in a rush to get in front of them as they were being herded up the street.

I always try to keep my ISO as low as possible. But here I should have used a higher ISO so I could use a smaller aperture with a faster shutter speed.

But things were moving quickly and I didn’t make the changes and the shots were out of focus.

It was one of those times when it was driven home to me how important it is to have quick access to ISO and to know one’s camera ‘blindfold’ – literally be able to set the settings blindfold.


Higher ISO means more noise in the signal-to-noise ratio. It means less vibrant colours and ugly speckles in the shadows. But I shot this with a Nikon D700 and it was crazy of me not to use a higher ISO. In its day and even now it is noted for just how high the ISO can be bumped without destroying image quality.

So at least part of the reason why I didn’t change ISO here was the ‘High ISO is bad’ mantra that was running in my head.

Even that doesn’t make sense now when I look at the EXIF data. It was f7.1 at 1/2000 of a second. So I guess a lot of the out-of-focus problems were just down to user error.


She wouldn’t say boo to a goose means someone who is timid.

I wonder what the equivalent is for other countries?

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10 thoughts on “She Wouldn’t Say Boo To A Goose

    1. I don’t know about lazy, but I try to keep ISO down at its base setting.

      When I photographed some demonstrations and needed to be quick, I would increase the ISO, but I would do that before I started taking pictures, and not change it at all during the shoot.

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  1. I love this picture, but I see what you mean.

    I try to keep my ISO down to 100 for the same reasons. There’s easy access to ISO settings on my Nikon D7000, but I like to shoot birds, and it doesn’t always help.

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    1. Interesting about the easy access to ISO on the D7000. I ‘know’ it is second button up from the bottom on the rear of the body, but I don’t find it that easy to press without actually looking at it or counting up from the bottom with my fingertip. I know you can set D3 to ISO and assign it to the front Fn button, but I want it to be something I can set without taking my eye from the viewfinder.

      Here ends the rant.

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      1. That would be ideal!

        I’m not sure now, my memory is a little fuzzy, but I think, on my first (which was a D60), it wasn’t as ‘easy’ as it is now. Or maybe I’m mixed up — perhaps it was the WB they made easier.

        There are times I feel as if I ought to take a basic camera course all over again. I think I’m losing it …

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        1. I don’t recall what it was on the D60. On the D700 there was a dedicated button on the top plate.

          On the D7000, the bottom button on the rear of the body is ‘Qual’.

          Pressing that and spinning the rear dial toggles through RAW / RAW+JPEG FINE / etc.

          How often do you change the Qual setting? I hardly ever do.

          So why put that button at the bottom where it is so easy to hit by mistake.

          Second rant over.

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