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Having Your Camera Ready All The Time

Updated: Mar 23, 2021

Whenever I go for a drive hoping to come across interesting wildlife, I always have my camera sitting next to me in the passenger seat, turned on, and ready to take a shot at any moment. And this is an example of when being ready came in handy.

This image was shot at Mount Carleton Provincial Park. I was driving back to my cabin after a hike when I noticed these two cormorants perched on that log in the lake from the corner of my eye. I I stopped the car on the bridge, rolled the window down (well, not really... I pushed a button. My car's not THAT old!) and shot this from inside my car. A few seconds later, one of the birds went in the water and the other flew away. I literally JUST made it!

It's a lucky shot, indeed. But I my odds of getting this shot were dramatically increased because my equipment was ready.

The Settings

Whenever I go driving hoping to see critters, I like to turn the camera on and set it to the Shutter Priority Mode (This mode is Tv on Canon cameras and S on Nikon cameras). That day, I chose a fast shutter speed (1/1250) to freeze the action. The lens I was using (Sigma 50-500mm) does not have image stabilization, so I needed a really fast shutter speed to avoid seeing the effects of camera shake.

In this case, my ISO setting was high (ISO 5000) because the light was rapidly fading. I was using an older telephoto lens, the Sigma 50-500 (which I no longer have) zoomed in at 500mm.

With such a high ISO, the image isn't as sharp as I would have liked it to be, but considering it was shot on a whim, handheld, at dusk, and without a chance for redemption, I think it turned out ok.


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