Photography News Issue 35

Photography News | Issue 35 | absolutephoto.com

Technique 24

a decent size in the frame. Part of this comes from getting close enough, but a high-quality zoom lens is vital, too. Barrie uses a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II on his Canon EOS 7D Mark II, which gives a good range of focal lengths and therefore lots of framing options, but his BWPA shot was taken on the wide end of a Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5- 5.6 IS, illustrating that wider lenses can often pay off, too. Barrie has also made great use of the similarly versatile Tamron SP 70- 300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC. Each of those lenses incorporates image stabilisation, which can be the saviour of shots at slower shutter speeds, and prevents you from having to increase ISO when the light is low; make sure IS (or VR, VC, OS, SR, etc.) is always switched on, whether it’s in your lens, or camera body. Evolutionary exposure In terms of exposure, Barrie typically shoots in manual mode (M), and uses ISO 400 as a starting point in sensitivity. This guarantees full control of the shutter speed and aperture, which might seem daunting at first, but all DSLRs now have exposure bars visible in the viewfinder, so you can tell if you’re over or underexposing. Manual mode can also be faster to use than exposure compensation if you want to lighten or darken the scene depending on the subject’s colouring. Manual mode takes experience to use though, and when starting out, aperture- priority (A or Av) can be the best route; so you can set the aperture to create the depth-of-field youwant, and the shutter speedwill rise or fall to match it. Aperture and depth-of-field play a big part in telling the story of the subject, so instead of always shooting wide open (the

After setting up your hide, expect to wait; it will be worth the effort

require patience; you can’t just launch yourself into a location and expect the wildlife not to notice. After setting up your hide, expect to wait; it will be worth the effort. “I’ve recently purchased a bag hide,” confirms Barrie, “which is very cumbersome and takes a lot of getting used to, but I’ve had some successes on the cliffs with it already around shags. They display obvious signs of stress at the sight of anyone near their nests but when I’m in the bag hide I capture more natural behaviour.” Lens choices As accommodating as they can be in comparison to some subjects, the process

of shooting seabirds has other difficulties, according to Barrie. Part of this is due to the way they cluster on the rocks; “nests are grouped so closely that it can be difficult to get a clean image of an individual without an imposing head or tail feathers creeping into the frame.” But this, he says, is all part of the fun, andmakes you test your skills in refining the composition, or sometimes shooting wider so that you can “frame an individual within a wider scene whilst still drawing the viewer’s attention on to it.” What’s more, unless you’re shooting larger subjects like deer in the UK, you’ll have to magnify the subject a lot to get it at

Above British Seasons category winner 2015, Roe deer in four seasons (summer), Suffolk, by Kevin Sawford. Left Close to Nature category winner 2015, Mite walking in frog valley, Bristol by Chris Speller.

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