Sometimes when a person doesn’t get much sleep they have been known to do the occasional odd thing… like trying to photograph a heron before sunrise. This article features a couple of handheld images which are firmly in the experimental category.
Yesterday I arrived at Hendrie Valley quite early. By that I mean it was still ‘dark o’clock’… before sunrise. I walked down to the pond area with the intent of doing some early morning handheld landscape photography during the ‘blue hour’.
As I got half-way across the bridge I could barely make out what I thought was a Great Blue Heron standing in the shallows. Not wanting to scare it off, I approached very slowly, and confirmed the species.
My brain immediately went into experimental mode. I wondered if there was any way that I could actually capture some photographs of the heron under such poor lighting. It was something that I had never tried before.
So, I quickly changed lenses and fitted my Olympus OM-D E-M1X with an M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 zoom along with the M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter. I decided to push my E-M1X and set my camera to ISO-12800.
I adjusted my shutter speed until I was able to arrive at a decent exposure… 1/25th of a second with an aperture of f/5.6.
I new from previous experience that my E-M1X could auto-focus under dark conditions, but I wasn’t sure what would happen with this particular opportunity.
I placed a single auto-focus point on the bird. My E-M1X locked on quickly without any focus hunting at all.
As I was photographing the heron, it began to move slowly around the pond, so I had to time my image captures when the bird was motionless. It was actually fishing before sunrise! How it could see any fish under such dim light amazed me.
The point of this article is not to suggest that people rush out to photograph a heron before sunrise at high ISO. The photographs in this article are simply examples of experimenting with camera gear to better understand its capabilities.
Never accept what other people say are the limitations of any camera at face value. Put it to the test yourself. Just because someone else can’t use a camera within certain parameters doesn’t mean that you will not be successful under the same conditions.
Learning how you can work with your camera in a range of difficult situations are valuable lessons. This is something that each of us can do regardless of the make and model of camera that we may own.
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Photographs were cropped to taste, then resized for web use.
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