14 April 2016

The Next Twilight Bear

When the bear came in the last minutes of twilight on Monday, I made several rookie mistakes when trying to capture the scene even though I knew better.
•I rotated the mode dial in the opposite direction I needed (the lights were off so I could see out).

•I shot flash into a window.

•I forgot that even if the window had been open, the flash still wouldn't have reached far enough to make any difference.

•I gave up on shooting video too quickly.

•I slowed my shutter speed down so much to get a better exposure that the moving black bear effectively disappeared from the shot.
Things to do differently for the next twilight arriving bear:
•Open a window, quietly. Choose one without a screen if possible.

•Shoot video first and trust that it is capturing more than I can see on the LCD.

•If I rotate the mode dial and do not immediately get the video setting, stop and reverse direction! There are loads of scene modes I never use if I go the long way around. Manual and Video are adjacent. (I knew this on Monday but failed to account for how many other settings were on the rest of the dial—11.)

•Better yet, with the window open, I could turn on the counter light to better see what I'm doing.

•After I've shot some seconds of video, turn on a big flashlight to illuminate the bear (and probably scare it off). Be ready to follow the action with the camera and the flashlight.

•If the bear is unfazed by the light, try shooting some stills. Remember, Manual is one click away from Video. Shutter Priority is 3 clicks away.

•Remember, it is possible to raise the ISO. It might be worth the extra grain.

Ideally, I'd set up a tripod, but it's not realistic with how quickly bears can move on. Most of my previous sightings of bears in my yard lasted less than 5 minutes.

A camera with better low light sensitivity would also be helpful, but for now I know I can do better with what I have.

11 years ago on TTaT: tip du jour-how to obtain a free credit report*

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