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  • Don McCracken

Winter Light

The days are cold and the hours of light are few. The sun's warmth touches us but with diminished intensity. Nature photographers have less time to work and less light to work with. Usually, this means choosing higher ISOs. Most people who know their way around a camera know higher ISOs mean more noise, especially with dynamic subjects that require faster shutter speeds. So, how do we cope? The first approach is to be more selective about when and where we shoot. Also, we can lower our shutter speeds and hope to catch our subjects when they pause. The third approach is to underexpose our images. Unfortunately, this introduces even more noise. Finally, we can accept higher ISOs. Noise levels can be surprisingly tolerable if we use the right exposure and our subject fills the frame. This means being close to the subject which can take a great deal of patience, time and cold weather tolerance. The following Mallard image was taken at ISO 12,800.


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