Our neighboring Barn Owl makes an appearance most nights directly after the sun sets. Right now that is around 6pm-6:30pm. He (or she I’m not sure which) flies out of the darkness swooping low to 5 feet above the Levee then heads directly south. I’m not sure how to set the camera for zero light, but that didn’t stop me.
I managed to get a shot of the Sun Set, I’m not fond of it other than the undeniable strong Orange coloring. This is how dark it was while waiting for the Owl to make his entry. Which he never did and is a good thing because the image would have been bungled. I decided to experiment by setting the cameras ISO 3200, F 5.6 and the shutter 4/5 (slow).
It’s not exactly frame worthy, but it paid dividends for me in so far as knowing what not to do. Everything was set well except for the shutter speed. I am not able to hold a camera perfectly still for nearly one full second. It doesn’t seem that long but apparently is, I may have been able to cure it if I had used my tri-pod. However expecting the Owl to fly directly overhead my intent was to hand hold enabling a wider range to shoot. Well as you can see that didn’t work out so well.
For a test I set the ISO 25,600 super sensitivity and the highest my camera will go. I then set F5.6 with a shutter speed of 1/10 second. The image at first glance looks to be workable, however during editing the background noise was severe. So heavy I was not able to clear enough of it up in order to make it worthy of using in my blog other than as a comparison.
The word fail does not exist in my vocabulary, from my perspective everything is fluid. I also don’t use the word try, I only try the taste of something or temperature of the water. I back up, come up with a new plan, think about it, prepare then do it again. Sometimes things don’t work out but that doesn’t mean it failed it merely means there must be another way; there usually is. I am going to wait for a full moon when I will have some light to work with. It may make the difference, but I think focusing may become an issue then. One spot focusing most likely will not be the best choice. I will use the full grid with the high speed continuous shutter. I don’t like using that combination mostly due to a loss of control of what is being focused on. Here’s my issue now worrying about focusing when I should be thinking about seeing the Owl in the dark first.
I’m expecting that technique to work either the first try or on subsequent nights after. It’s going to be a great shot after I get it all ironed out. I’ll write about that as I go along.
Jacques Lebec Flutter Shutter