Tuesday, 20 December 2011

High ISO

There are occasions when the available light is so low that in order to get an image the ISO has to be set high. On a recent early morning visit to Thetford Forest the situation looked grim. It's 19th December 09:30 overcast with a slight drizzle and I am inside one of the darkest forests in the country. We have already seen Fallow and Roe although only through the binoculars and we start the stalk deeper into the forest with the breeze onto our faces. Roe in the distance but even with the 600mm f4 on the D3 they are specks and not worthy of a frame. While not well concealed 2 Fallow move out into the clearing and feed on the grass. They are over 100m away and with heavy cropping there might be a frame worth recording. As soon as I take a frame they look up. Their hearing is so acute and they stare in my direction, while I keep behind the camera, aware that my face is the only part of me not camouflaged and they will be off if they know ime human. The ISO is at 2000 and I am struggling to get anything that wont suffer from camera shake. Wide open at f4 I am just getting a reading that is maybe 1 stop underexposed at 1/125 sec. A few more frames and they quickly disappear as the camera spooks them once too often. Later that day after I had made some prints and they are laying a round so people can look at Bambi and ohh and aaah a bit I realised just how important it is to take an image, even when the technical out come is not perfect. The D3 with its legendary high ISO capability is going to struggle at -1 stop when at ISO 2000 and then later I make a crop that is only 30% of the image, but what matters is that there is an image. It wont win any prizes but myself and others have a record of that moment, the contact I made with the camera and an incredibly shy creature whose only predator is generally a man with a gun.It is a privileged to photograph wild life in their habitat, it may not be art but it is great fun.

D3, 600mm f4, ISO 2000, f4, 1/125sec

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