BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Joanne Kerse

Shooting Modes

If I was taking a photo of a birds nest far up on a cliff in daylight with very long telephoto lens, which shooting mode would I be best to use. I want to get it with the bird in the nest so should I use Shutter Priority (Tv) so that I can use a fast enough shutter speed to capture movement? Or would I be better off using Aperture Priority (Av)?

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2/17/2008 6:21:25 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Either one will yield the same result if the exposure value is within the limits of your camera's meter. If you select aperture/priority and choose a wide open aperture (like f-4), the shutter speed your meter recommends will be the fastest your ISO setting will allow in whatever light is available.
I use manual settings 99% of the time but when I have used semi-auto, I prefer aperture/priority because DOF cannot be controlled. It is what it is at a given aperture ... and at a given distance away. I prefer to set that first, then apply whatever stabilizing techniques are required for the shutter speed that's recommended at my chosen f-stop.

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2/18/2008 4:00:59 AM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Bob is absolutely correct. I might add that each individual shooting style, scene and composition will dictate the route to take. You may or may not want a limited DOF etc... To say "I will only use Tv" places constrictions on you and often the camera's ability to comply.
All the best,

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2/18/2008 4:06:55 AM

W.    Bob and Pete are correct. Also, with a "very long telephoto lens" you need to use a tripod to minimize camera shake. Have fun!

Editor's Note: For more info, check out BetterPhoto's online courses, such as: Wildlife Photography and Better Exposure: How to Meter Light.

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2/18/2008 4:38:24 AM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  uh oh.waaaait a minute.lost for a minute.i prefer aperture priority because dof cannot be controlled?well it can't be controlled in auto or semi-18 wheeler auto?
this very long telephoto lens manufactured by sherlock.

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2/18/2008 9:53:10 PM

Marc Apfelstadt  
In addition to the tripod, factor in a remote shutter trigger (manual or electronic).

Personally, if there are times where metering is a challenge for a shot, I will use AP to determine a rough Aperture and Time setting, then bracket that range with manual settings.

I encounter similar challenges even though I am focused on the "other end of the magnification spectrum"... filling the image with that 1/2 inch insect. AP is sometimes required because by the time the manual settings are determined, the wildlife (whatever flavor) has frequently absconded.


You can peek at some shots at:

My wife & I are Habitat Ambassadors with National Wildlife Federation, and have +/- 120 species of native plants on a 50' x 100' typical residential lot... so going to the park lets us see a of the life that already visits our yard.

Nothing like having Toad Trillium outside the front window (endangered in the wild in Ohio).

My major challenge is that the critter/bug/butterfly/bird picks the background, so options are often limited from a composition standpoint. DOF is very important in those situations.

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2/19/2008 6:52:12 PM

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