marlon du toit, south luangwa, iso, photo safari, educational

ISO800 to 4000 in just 15 Minutes…

Marlon duToit All Authors, Marlon Leave a Comment

On my recent photo safari to South Luangwa, we found ourselves waiting for a leopard to move on to the carcass of a bushbuck she had killed earlier that day. The light was incredible, it was golden and had she moved now we would get incredible shots!

I instructed my guests as to the proper settings for this kind of light. The carcass was tucked away beneath a dense shrub, but lovely light still filled the undergrowth.

marlon du toit, south luangwa, iso, photo safari, educational

ISO 800
1/640, f/4
-1 & 1/3 EV

Those were my suggested settings for the image above. Note the time.

Now the light changes so quickly during the last minutes of sunset and you really need to be aware of these changes in order to get the best possible exposure!

The scene above had lots of shadows and darkened areas, and I due to my shooting in AV (Aperture Priority), I had to control my ultimate exposure with my Exposure Compensation function. I see it as an override to the shutter speed my camera provides me with.

marlon du toit, south luangwa, iso, photo safari, educational

ISO 1600
1/400, f/4
-1 & 1/3 EV

Notice that this is only FOUR MINUTES later. I had to increase my ISO to atleast 1600, double what I had 4 minutes prior!!

Now I knew that it would be unlikely for any drastically quick movements from the leopard, and felt comfortable to keep my shutter speed at around 1/400 to 1/640. If you wanted faster shutters, you would have had to increase your ISO even more! You have to understand your equipment and how to use it in tricky light, such as here.

marlon du toit, south luangwa, iso, photo safari, educational

ISO 4000
1/400, f/4
-1 & 1/3

When she finally decided to move on to the carcass, only 15 minutes had transpired from my original image in this post!

My ISO had gone from 800 to 4000 in just fifteen minutes! That’s a huge jump and something most of my guests would not have noticed!

Always remember to look at the light around you, look at your scene and then expose accordingly! Always try to take a couple of “test-shots” if the situation allows for it. That way you ensure that when the leopard finally does move in for a feed, your settings are spot-on and you can happily fire away!

The light around you is constantly changing, and likely your position too! Always keep this in mind and keep a watchful eye on your exposure!

Till next time,

About the Author

Marlon duToit

Passion, enthusiasm and an unquenchable thirst to explore and introduce you to our natural world’s wildlife perfectly sums up my ambitions. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. Through my African adventures I kept my photographic passion alive. Behind a camera aimed at a lion or a leopard is where I am most at home, my heart skipping a beat at the mere thought of it. My intention has never been solely for recognition but for the plight of what’s left of our natural recourses. Using my love and understanding of wildlife I am able to convey to the viewer more than an image or a fleeting moment. I aim to tell a story, to bring that moment alive to you and to capture your heart through it.

South Luangwa Safari Trip Report - August 2015

Take a minute to read through Marlon's latest Trip Report from South Luangwa

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