Photographic Tip #4 by Kevan Dobbie

The continuation of a new series of blog posts that are here and available for your reading pleasure, I have decided to not only tell you about the amazing Sigma brand, but to teach you about how to use your camera along with your Sigma lens to capture photographic content that you’ve always wanted to have.

In our last blog we discussed using Aperture and Depth of Field when photographic certain scenes and wildlife. Each blog we are going to advance on the previous blog in developing your skills of being the photographer you want to be with a few extra tips or tricks brought you from Sigma and myself.

In this blog, we will be looking at a function that I find is critical and the most important when coming to wildlife photography especially action shots, movement – as all animals move around and also utilization of natural light… and that is, Shutter Speed.

Before heading into the subject of shutter speed, one trick that I was told way back in the beginning with regards to our subject of shutter speed was: “If your shutter speed is high you have a better chance of creating a clear, crisp image of a fast moving object like a bird, if its low, the chances aren’t great of the clarity you want and it might be blurred. A high shutter speed and you will freeze that bird in flight.” Its easy to say settings and then to remember them when you have an action shot or fast-moving subject, not so easy, I know, and I agree, and I have learnt the hard way. The number of photographs I have missed, blurred, or messed up because of my shutter speed being too low or being too caught up in the action and forgot about my settings on the camera. Yes its true, we are all guilty but, an easy way to over come it is, remember the what was said above and Ill re-say it again: “If your shutter speed is high you have a better chance of creating a clear, crisp image of a fast moving object like a bird, if its low, the chances aren’t great of the clarity you want and it might be blurred. A high shutter speed and you will freeze that bird in flight.”

 Now with, shooting in a high shutter speed all the time will not provide you crisp and clear images, as shutter speed also determines the amount of light being captured. A fast shutter speed will decrease the amount of light captured compared to a slower shutter speed. However, when shooting in Aperture Priority (A) or (Av) on your exposure mode, you do not have to select or increase or decrease your shutter speed, the camera automatically does it for you. Is that not that great? However, your settings must be right for all to correlate with one another for a sharp and clear, crisp image with regards to the environmental conditions such a sun light. A quick tip: Shutter Speed and ISO always go together to get that crisp, clear image you want. If the weather conditions are poor, then a higher ISO to provide artificial light to the sensor is required to increase that shutter speed to freeze your image making it clear. Like we mentioned its all about trial and error and learning your camera and what works best for you to achieve your photographic potential. In conditions that are perfect, then you can leave your ISO or even lower it to get the best natural lighting. My best opinion is to play with the two, ISO and shutter speed and see how the two work together.

Use your exposure meter through your view finder to see where you will find the best light available and remember to review your photo before carrying on so you can adjust or change anything you need to and fix the problem if there is any.

Here are my settings used on my DSLR camera to capture my chosen images below:

Sable Antelope

  1. Exposure Mode of Camera: Aperture Priority (Av)
  2. Focus: Automatic (Back button focus)
  3. Aperture: f/5,0
  4. ISO: 400
  5. One-shot drive mode
  6. White balance: Daylight
  7. Metering: Evaluative
  8. Shutter Speed Achieved: 1/2000 sec

White Rhinoceros calf

  1. Exposure Mode of Camera: Aperture Priority (Av)
  2. Focus: Automatic (Back button focus)
  3. Aperture: f/5,6
  4. ISO: 1600
  5. One-shot drive mode
  6. White balance: Daylight
  7. Metering: Evaluative
  8. Shutter Speed Achieved: 1/1250 sec

Now that you’ve read up about Shutter Speed, try it out using settings from our previous blogs, settings I’ve used above and once again settings you feel works the best for you to achieve your own photographic potential when understanding Shutter Speed and how Shutter Speed and ISO work hand-in-hand.  Send us some photos and feedback on how these tips are assisting you. In each blog we will contribute in growing your skills as a photographer.

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Kevan Dobbie
Wildlife Photographer

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