Auto-ISO for Wildlife:

An African Photo Safari is a dream adventure for most. The unpredictability of wildlife photography is what makes it so exciting. By setting the ISO to auto, you’ll have one less camera setting to worry about while you’re shooting.

The main challenge with wildlife photography, you don’t know what the lighting situation will be. What you do know is that it’s often unpredictable and inconsistent, which can make it difficult to capture an image without either underexposing or overexposing your photo. This is where Auto ISO comes in. With this function, you don’t need to change your ISO manually and risk overexposing or underexposing your image. With Auto ISO, this setting automatically adjusts depending on the situation. It’s a great way to get a correct exposure and keeps you from getting frustrated during the shoot.

So What is ISO

ISO is the acronym for International Organization for Standardization. It’s a worldwide standard that defines how to measure, test, and specify materials or products. ISO was first introduced in 1974 when ASA and DIN became “ISO”. Ever since the two film standards were combined, ISO has been widely accepted by many companies across different industries as well as everyday consumers.

Why Do We Care

ISO is a measure of the sensitivity of the film or digital sensor to light. In general, lower ISO levels are associated with bright lighting conditions and higher ISO levels are required where ambient lighting is poor. Why do we care? In less than one second the chase is on. From wildlife taking cover in the shade to a full out sprint on the savanna. Auto ISO will help with these tricky situations.

Most photographers set the camera ISO to it’s default and forget about it. However this isn’t the best for wildlife photography.

High ISO Means Noise

When shooting in very low light, you may end up with too much noise in your images. Most digital cameras let you set a range for your ISO to avoid this problem. The downside, if you set the range too low or too high, then the camera will prevent you from clicking the shutter button. Wouldn’t you rather keep shooting, and decide later if the photo is usable or not? One thing you can do to avoid high ISOs and still keep shooting is to compromise and lower your shutter speed – it may mean missing some shots because the subject is blurry, but with luck, a few will come out sharp. Let’s not forget there is software available to help remove the noise.

Conclusion

To get that national geographic photo we want, we work with three variables: aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Remember the exposure triangle? Change one, we need to alter one of the other two. With Auto-ISO, we control the two creative variables, shutter speed and aperture. These have the most artistic impact on our photographs. In full manual mode, we are constantly adjusting settings according to the changing light conditions. Auto-ISO ensures the camera does it for us. This way, we only need to worry about our creative decisions.

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