The value of Auto ISO

Seven lucky participants from my “Bears, Bears and Bears, Oh My!” tour came away with outrageously great sets of images. We saw spring cubs, yearling cubs, bears clamming, bears in trees, bears fishing, and of course bears eating grass, something they do a lot of this time of year! The weather was exceptionally great this year, we were more concerned with sunburn, than rain!


One thing my students were able to learn was is the value of Auto ISO. I am sure you are accustomed to Aperture Priority, where you select the aperture and ISO and the camera picks the shutter speed, or Shutter Priority, where you pick the shutter speed and the ISO and the camera picks the aperture.  But what if neither of these modes gives you the settings you require? When shooting wildlife the most important setting to get correct is the shutter speed. Because if there is unintentional motion blur than the picture is useless. You’ll be surprised how fast a lumbering, grazing bear will move it’s head when looking around.  The act of lifting the head is enough to ruin a perfect shot.  If you pick Shutter Priority and get a fast shutter speed, the camera will probably deliver a fairly wide aperture limiting your depth of field. With long lenses, that limited depth of field will yield sharp eyes (if you focused well) and blurry snouts or ears. If there is more than one animal (mother and cubs), Shutter Priority will not usually give you enough depth of field to have them all sharp. This is where Auto ISO comes in. In Manual mode select the shutter speed you need to freeze the action and the aperture you need to get enough depth of field, then set you camera on Auto ISO and let that be the variable the sets the correct exposure.  Most people are hesitant to shoot at high ISO, yet given the choice of out of focus images due to motion or lack of depth of field, I’ll take a little noise any day!  Most all of my images taken there were with ISO’s between 320-3200. I think the images still look good, how about you?


I am really looking forward to next year’s trip!  It’s scheduled 3 weeks later, August 5 -12, 2016, hoping to get more fishing bear action.  Of course that will depend on the salmon, but chances are pretty good! We will still have a few low morning tides for clamming and of course the mother bears always nurse when they need. Next year’s trip is open to 6 participants and two of the spots are already taken!  Click here to join me for an adventure of a lifetime - make your deposit now!


Of course there are some more upcoming events because I love taking people like you on so many wonderful experiences:


September 26thPresentation - Modesto, CA “My Stretch of the River: A Photographer’s Journal.”  A live presentation of my first year photographing on the American River in Sacramento, CA


October 15 – 30 “Photographer’s Myanmar with Angor Wat – A Photo Cultural Journey.” A once in a lifetime experience photographing the magical land of temples, pagodas, beautiful scenery and be at the incomparable World heritage site of Angkor Wat for the full moon


Nov 16 – 18 “Create Stunning Nature Images/Everglades Photography.” Three days of instruction, photography and digital darkroom techniques in sunny Florida!


Dec 11-13 San Francisco Holiday Lights – sponsored by Canon Live Learning (more info coming soon)


Jan 19 – 23, 2016 Fotofusion – Palm Beach Photographic Centre – where else can  you be with more than 80 professional photographers learning anything and everything from the digital darkroom to sports, landscape, portrait, photojournalism and more!


April 11 – 22  “Photographer’s India – Land of the Tiger” this will be my 5th year guiding for Destination Himalaya/TourDirect and my 3rd trip to India


I’m here for you with tips, tricks and photo ops!


Keep making great pictures,