Back in May of this year I captured a special moment at ISO-10000 when doing a high ISO test at Biggar Lagoon Wetlands in Grimsby. Earlier in the day I had been successful photographing swallows in flight. It was getting later in the afternoon so I decided to change my approach and try some test images of swallows at ISO-10000 before I headed for home.
As is sometimes the case, an unplanned special moment can suddenly appear… then disappear in the blink of an eye. Fortunately my reflexes were sharp enough to capture this short run of Pro Capture H photographs.
I was actually focusing on the perched swallow in the composition when a second bird unexpectedly burst in and out of the scene. The 10 consecutive images below were captured in a total of 1/6th of a second.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
In the first four frames of this Pro Capture H run you’ll see a swallow suddenly entering the scene from the right hand side. It enters the scene too far away to be in focus. Pro Capture H locks focus and exposure based on the first frame of the run. In this case my single auto-focus point was locked on the perched swallow… as I waited for it to change its position and create a better shooting angle.
Obviously none of these first four images are useable, other than to illustrate how the second bird entered my composition. In the fifth consecutive frame (illustrated below) we can see the second bird almost flying into focus.
I love frames 6 through 9 of this Pro Capture H image run as they really capture the magic of this special moment. Over the past few years I’ve had a number of readers ask me why I use Pro Capture H at 60 frames-per-second on such a regular basis. Especially since there is a risk that a subject bird may not be in focus for the entire image run. The next four consecutive photographs demonstrate the value of shooting at 60 frames-per-second.
When I was capturing these images all I could see was a flurry of motion burst into my viewfinder. I had no idea of what… if anything… would end up being useable. All I did was instinctively fully depress my shutter release.
I captured this ISO-10000 image run using a fast shutter speed of 1/8000. It was one of those special moment gifts from Mother Nature that simply could not be predicted. These photographs also reinforce the notion that it is important for us to be out with our cameras on a regular basis. Special moments occur on their own timetable.
The final frame in this 10 image run wouldn’t typically qualify as a useable image. I added it to this article so readers could view the entry and exit angles of the second bird.
The four key special moment frames in this image run were captured in a total of 1/15th of a second. If I had been using a more typical frame rate of 6 to 10 frames per second provided in many cameras, I very likely would have missed this action… or if luck prevailed… perhaps captured one potentially useable frame.
Most importantly, if I hadn’t been using Pro Capture H and was already spooling images into temporary memory before the second bird arrived, I would have missed this special moment completely.
If you own an Olympus/OM System camera with Pro Capture H I’d recommend spending some time with this amazing technology. There could be a special moment waiting for you the next time you are out with your camera!
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard approach in post. I used my standard Pro Capture H camera settings for the photographs featured in this article: Pre Shutter Frames and Frame Limiter were both set to 15. I used a single, small auto focus point and shot at 60 frames-per-second. Images were resized for web use. This is the 1,214 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
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2 thoughts on “Special Moment at ISO-10000”
I have a Lumix G9 for BIF photography and airshows. Do you think it worth to buy a second hand Olympus E-M1 iii for photography or maybe an E-M5 iii?
I suppose it comes down to what you think another camera body will add to your overall photographic capability. It may be helpful to do an assessment of your photographic needs in terms of the photographic genres with which you are currently involved, and how you plan to expand your photography in the future. Once that is completed you can then logically assess your current gear to determine if there are any gaps that need to be filled, and if an additional camera body will add some capabilities beyond what your G9 provides. There may be some computational photography features that enter into your considerations.
I really can’t offer an opinion as this kind of equipment assessment, or recommend any specific cameras as this is a very personal exercise.