Wednesday, 2 May 2018
Shooting in the dark
As the nights have got shorter, food has got scarcer and there are hungry cubs to feed the foxes have been coming to the garden before dark. They generally arrive at dusk but are very wary and melt away if anyone is out late walking a dog along the lane. It has been an interesting challenge learning to take photos in such low light. I shoot through the window and use aperture priority at maximum aperture (f/4) and auto ISO, which sets itself to the maximum, 12800. The only variable then is shutter speed but by deliberately underexposing by one stop I can get a bit more speed. These photos of the dog fox are taken at 1/60s so most were blurred and I kept the few that are not too bad.
These photos of the vixen were taken at 1/20s (!) in near darkness with some light from a wall light.
The other problem is that is is so dark that the autofocus doesn't work and I can't see well enough to focus manually through the viewfinder. The only solution is to use manual focus on live view on the back of the camera. Many photos are not in focus so the rejection rate is high. Because of the limitations of high ISO even the photos that escape movement blur and are more or less focussed are soft and grainy. As they are such regular visitors I usually just watch the foxes without taking photos. And most of the time all they do is sit and chew peanuts. So once I got over the excitement of them being there the rest of it isn't very exciting. Still, I am happy to see them.