Photography Basics ISO

So received your first Single-lens reflect camera or (SLR). Since it is 2020, it is likely a Digital variety (DSLR). Whether you purchased it yourself or received as a hand me down or a gift this is an exciting moment.  You take it outside or to a party and take that first picture and then you are disappointed.  “I thought these were supposed to be top tier cameras” you think.  They are, and just like everything in life it is knowing how to use it. There are the automatic modes, but if you really want to unlock the full power of your camera then you will want to use manual mode. Don’t worry phone users, this writing is for you too if your camera has a manual mode option. Lets dive into part one of my mini series: Photography basics ISO.

What is ISO?  Well the acronym is rather boring and refers to the name of the standards organization, The International Organization of Standards. As to its historical purpose it is the speed of the film. This effected the light sensitivity of the camera to the film. So in the world of DLSR’s it is the measure of the light sensitivity of the sensor. So when you change the ISO higher you are making it more sensitive to light.  A lower ISO is less sensitive. Many modern high end DSLR cameras with interchangeable lenses can reach ISO’s in near or beyond 100,000. The main problem with a higher ISO value is noise or grainy pictures. 

An example of grain and noise.

If you are wanting to take everyday photos you will likely use ISO 100.  It is the standard and default. This value collects the most detail information for editing (post processing).  It is because of this detail I suggest setting the camera to save in RAW.  Once you get the image to a the larger screen you will see all the flaws you are unable to see on the small camera. (Unless of course your camera is connected to a desktop or laptop for for previewing and shuttering.) Be aware when you venture into higher ISO’s. Older DSLR models (and crop sensors) often produce grainy or noisy pictures at the higher ISO values while newer models and full frame sensors are less likely to have noise in the pictures. My current Canon 40D is a rather old model now and it also is a crop sensor camera meaning it is highly susceptible to noisy pictures. I have to do a lot of post processing (editing) work to make a halfway decent picture.  Therefore I am also looking to purchase a newer full frame DSLR.

How do I select an ISO with low Noise?  Simple remember lower ISO is better.  A lot of the high ISO use is reserved for very dark settings such as taking astrophotography pictures as is my hobby. Generally you want to use a high ISO with a low f value ( for a different blog explanation) for a depth of field. A lot of this is easily found through trial an error or through math calculations. I plan to develop a spreadsheet for those who love the images but hate the math.

So when you pick up your camera or switch to manual mode on your cell phone, you now have a better idea what the ISO value is for, being how sensitive to light the image sensor is.

Canon 40D | ISO 800 | 18mm | f/3.5 | 20 sec | Maglite and paper



What is a Manager, Supervisor, and Leader?

What is a Manager, Supervisor, and Leader?  Many places consider these all the same role by default. Many times they are. However, they are actually three separate roles. The lack of understanding is where many in a managerial or supervisory role fail. The leader role is thought to be inherent, but in reality it is earned. It is because it is earn that I I dislike the term Team leader.  So I will discuss these.

First why do I dislike the term Team Leader?  Well, it is a term companies are starting to use to soften the effect of someone  who is a manager or supervisor.  Many people fear those terms because they expect a person to be “bossy.” So the companies use the Team Leader term to create a softer role that is looked to as a leader. There is one problem with that, I believe a Leader role is earned. Why?  The best leaders are ones whom people naturally follow. When people feel forced to do something, they are less likely to be receptive to a leader.

For me a leader is just that, a person who has earned the respect of others and people naturally follow them. Just because a person has the title of leader does not mean they are due respect to be followed.  The true worth of the leader is their ability to have a following that respects them and are able to influence that following with respect. Respect is two ways and it is earned. As I feel a leader values respect then the ability to be a leader must be earned.

So what is a manager then? Manager is a person who has been given the responsibility of controlling an aspect or section of an organization. In short, they manage resources. A Manager is not a Supervisor.  However, being a supervisor is one role that may be assigned to a manager.  In fact, a Manager can very well supervise no employees. AN example an organizational procurement manager may over see all procurements having control over that part of the operation. That person can also be the sole person for the job with no subordinates. A manager ensures that the necessary resources are where they need to be when they are needed. 

What is a Supervisor then?  This is what most people think of when they hear the term Manager.  A supervisor oversees employees.  The supervisor coaches and takes corrective action when necessary.  While a Manager might write an employee schedule, the Supervisor ensures employees adhere to the schedule.

What does a successful person look like who is a Manager with Supervisory roles attached? They may write the schedule and make sure employees adhere to it.  When a customer complains about an item they investigate fairly to determine if it warrants employee corrective action or if a process needs adjusted.  Perhaps the employee or process needs a new tool. If the manager that is a supervisor can balance all this (and perhaps a budget) with the respect of the employees who gladly follow that individual, then that person can also be labelled a leader.

Hopefully, through my opinion based definition you can better understand and answer What is a Manager, Supervisor, and Leader?

An example of the spreadsheet in action.


Make Your Own Credit Card

Many of the frustrations we have as consumers is obtaining a credit card, making the monthly payment and then realizing that only $10 out of the total $55 payment went towards your balance.  Well maybe that is an exaggeration but you know the feeling. What if you could make your own credit card?  That is what I will describe here. This is the page where you candownload this spreadsheet. So lets get to it, make your own credit card.

First things first, if you do not have self control and feel you must spend money that sits in savings, this concept is not for you. As such This will not affect your credit score in anyway. This truly takes self control and dedication. Second, You will need spreadsheet software.  That is not as expensive as you may realize. In fact you can get one for FREE. LibreOffice is an Office suite absolutely free to use. LibreOffice Calc is the spreadsheet program.

Lets open the file I created.
Lets start with the basics. In cell B1 You set your own Credit Limit. Cell B2 cannot be edited and will tell you your current available to use balance.  In Cell E1 you can set your own Interest Rate. What does all this mean? Well you do not need any money up front to start using this spreadsheet. In fact you can start using it in a maxed out state in order to start saving money for purchases. You can go ahead and set any credit limit you would like. Be mindful, that you still have to make payments (to yourself) and they have to be big enough to cover your interest costs. Here is the cool part, the Interest Rate. This becomes your savings plan.  You can set your rate as high or low as you want.  I suggest setting an obscene rate like I have done. After all you are not giving that money to a bank, you are keeping it for yourself. So if you are broke, you may want to do yourself a favor and start with a $200 limit and low interest rate so you can get your self some cash to use for purchases on your self credit account.

The payments area and you can only edit the Payment column (Column B).  First this is where you will find out how much you can afford to set up. Go ahead and type in what you would like to pay each month.  Then go back to the top and adjust your limit until you are comfortable with the amount you will be paying to the balance each month. In the above example I have $200 available to spend now. So I entered a payment and found that the interest charge is $7.23. If you are fully funded to start each year you can either pay the interest to your savings (like an annual fee) or just ignore it. The next month I used the credit and made a purchase.  It charges me interest against the previous balance of $0 so I opt to pay just $15 to allow myself to earn an interest charge (because that means I will be saving money) and I am left with a balance of $17.49. I continue then with $25 payments while using my credit until I have everything paid down in the 10th month. What happens after the 12 month?  We roll over and clear out the month 1-12. After a full year write down your available balance and delete all the payments in Column B. We will discuss this written down balance after the next section where you track your purchases.

Before then, you likely have one important question.  How and where do I make my payments too.  Well that is up to you.  You can use your own checking and savings. Keep the payments in your checking and then transfer your interest charge to your savings account.  You could also get creative with online banking options like I did.  I use CashApp for my “Credit Account” and ordered a physical card. I recommend finding an online financial institution that will give you a debit card so that you can make your own credit card. Therefore I issued myself an actual physical “credit card.” It also has cool engraving options. Then I transfer my interest to savings.  Then I earn interest to grow my savings. Remember this requires you to be very vigilant and have self control over your own cash.  If you don;t have self control over keeping money in savings or having money sitting in an account for a card then you may want to leave this whole process up to the professionals…

The above is where you track your monthly spending. I left 5 rows for each month (Numbered at the top of each column) for spending.  A handful of rows as you should be using any credit account as little as possible or for large purchases. You will notice in the first month the total is ($200). This is because I entered -$200 in order to have a full $200 to start with. Remember in the previous section I said to write down the available balance at the end of Month 12, this is where you will enter that to start the new credit year. Keep track of your spending for each month and everything will auto calculate when you make the next months payment. As will the payments, after 12 months you will need to delete all your entries. This time entering the ending available balance as a negative in the 1st line of Column H in Month 1. So you want to increase your credit limit? Lets look at that magical section.

This is what this little section is for.  This keeps track of the total interest, er um, your total savings for the year. In this case $20.90.  The next line rounds that down. Why?  Well, my thinking is use the save money to create a higher credit limit and make it immediately available to use. Round up, would mean using funds that don;t exist. So in this case, I would have saved $20.90 over the past year and I could then use a $20 self made credit increase. My new limit could become anything between $200 – $220.


I hope this has been helpful and insightful and you learned how to make your own credit card.

You will need software that can open a Spreadsheet in the XLSX format.  A free to use option is LibreOffice.

Everyone gets frustrated with paying Credit cards and not getting anywhere because of the interest charges.  What if instead, you could collect those interest charges yourself as savings?  Here is a spreadsheet that will help you do just that. You can either use 100% of your payment towards the balance or save the interest into your savings account.  This is possible because everything is controlled by you. Use your accounts and debit card. Set your interest rate as high or low as you would like. I have a blog post explaining how to use it. This Blog Post explains how to use this file.