Birder's Guide

DEC 2013

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 42 of 51

Oregon, Ohio Sherrie Duris An Introduction to Camera Settings with an emphasis on SLR photography Does this sound familiar? You're out birding and ready to capture a few photos of those colorful, fast-moving birds fickering around in the branches above your head. The moment strikes and a bird pops out in front of you at eye level, but your fngers stumble around with the buttons on your SLR camera. A beautiful Kentucky Warbler! By the time you press the shutter button, the bird disappears. All that is left on your LCD screen is an image of some out-of-focus leaves and a few branches in bad lighting. Or maybe the thought of buying a digital SLR is like trying to identify peeps. Not to fret, my birder friends, as digital SLRs aren't as scary as you may think. They aren't just for the professionals anymore. They can produce nice-quality photos if you are familiar with the three key elements that make up exposure: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. Before exploring these elements further, we need to understand what exposure is. Exposure is simple: It's a measure of the amount of light that falls on the sensor of the camera. Light is the fundamental element that all photographs need because it illuminates the subject. Good lighting is imperative to enhance the sharpness and color of the birds you are photographing. Now that you have an idea of what exposure is, let's look at each of the three elements of exposure. ISO ISO stands for International Standards Organization, which standardizes sensitivity ratings for camera sensors. The ISO speed is a measure of your camera sensor's sensitivity to light; a lower number is less sensitive, and a higher number is more sensitive. On bright, sunny days, using a lower ISO should be suffcient because there is plenty of light available. If you are in a darker wooded area or lower light, increasing the ISO will help add more light. Note, however, that in low-light conditions, especially, an increase in ISO will also cause grainier or "noisier" photos. Using a tripod to avoid camera shake will help stabilize the camera for sharper Photo by © Jeffrey A. Gordon. December 2013 Birder's Guide to Gear 41

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