Scene Investigation Before Shooting At A Bird Show


If you consider doing a shoot at a bird show and you want to come home with a little more than the usual snap shot you probably want to prepare yourself and your camera settings for the shoot beforehand.

To understand this video it’s paramount that you understand the exposure triangle, what isn’t really hard to do.

Of course it is possible that you shoot in full manual or that you prefer shutter speed priority above aperture priority. Anyway, you can transfer this to the priority of your likings.

I prefer to do things like bird shows in aperture priority. Everything is going very fast and I know that I want to shoot with an aperture between f2.8 and f5.6.

I also know that I want (as in the example above) the camera to deliver me a shutter speed of at least 1/1500. Of course it’s not a problem to get a higher shutter speed, but for for this example I don’t want to go under the 1/1500.

So knowing this two facts leads me to the very core of what I have to investigate on the location. I’m going to sit or stand at my favorite location and then browse the area looking through my viewfinder with the shutter button half pressed.

I take the smallest aperture I want to shoot with (f5.6 in this case) and then I search for the darkest area within this area. Now I control the the ISO so that the slowest shutter speed that will be delivered by the camera is 1/1500 of a second.

The result of this is that if I shoot with a larger aperture like 2.8 and/or at a brighter part of the area the shutter speed will be higher than the minimum of 1/1500.

Of course you can also get great results with 1/500 or 1/800, 1/1000 but I had to set a benchmark for the purpose of this explanation.

I hope you have fun shooting.

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