Well I got out yesterday for a walkabout, as I usually do on Christmas day. Got a few keepers, too. On the way back to my car, after the sun had set, I noticed the full moon, a Christmas moon.
I walked down to the Distillery District and managed to snap this one. Since I was without a tripod I had to shoot is wide open (f4) at 1/20th of a second and ISO 6400. It’s pretty clean for that high of an ISO, I think.
If I’d had a tripod I would have dropped by ISO to 1600 (two stops). The problem then would have been that my shutter speed would have slowed two stops too, to approximately 1/5th of a second. At such a slow shutter the people in the photo would have definitely been blurred to the point where the photo would have no longer been any good.
A lot of people forget that a tripod isn’t always the lifesaver they think it is for night photography. Yes, it’s a must if you’re shooting landscape, where nothing is moving, but for street where you often have people walking through your shots, a tripod with a low ISO will slow your shutter to the point where anything in movement will be blurred.
There are, however, times when that’s actually the look you are going for, like for an artistic look. In that case you might even want a tripod in the daytime. I took a photo yesterday of skaters on the ice rink out front of city hall. For a change I put the camera into shutter priority and shot it at 1/5th of a second, very slow. The image I captured showed all the skaters blurred to one extent or another, because of the slow shutter. It’s something different. If I’d had a tripod with me I might have shot the scene with a 2 second shutter speed, to really capture the blur of the skaters.