A terrible lesson in (S)hutter setting

If you’ve been following my [relatively slow] progress, you know that my friend Josh gave me some good advice when he told me to shoot in Aperture mode to get used to how I wanted the focus in my composition to look. It helped tremendously and got me thinking in new ways.

Now, I’ve moved to Manual (SO MANY BUTTONS) and in Yosemite I learned why (S)hutter setting is so important. I had such an epic fail on a wild life shot last weekend that I spent at least five entire minutes counting to ten and trying to let the disappointment go. I’ve been told I can’t linger on the shots I didn’t get, but dammit, I was so careful and conscious that I’d have a burst of 3 seconds to get the shot I wanted and didn’t get it because I had set the camera to (P) instead of the appropriate shutter speed (because I haven’t figured out shutter speed yet.) Here’s what happened:

We were on a walk close to sunset in Yosemite on Saturday and came across a meadow with a nice view of Half Dome. I saw a doe in the meadow and started shooting her, playing with variations of settings (she wasn’t in any hurry to go anywhere.)

And then I saw it on the far side of the meadow.

I grabbed Michele as my eyes popped out of my head, it was headed our way. Or I should say, the way of the deer.Black bears will usually not eat deer (probably because they can’t catch them) but I was interested to find out what would happen when these two figured out they were sharing a meadow. I was all set: I trained my lens on the deer in the foreground and the bear in the background. I asked Michele if I should just put it on P so I didn’t mess anything up. Immediately, she had perked her ears up, she knew something was nearby. I switched to P. The bear couldn’t see her but she was upwind so it’s possible he smelled her (but maybe not over my fruit leathers and cashew nuts in my backpack.)

The moment she realized he was coming she dashed across the meadow from left to right, about twenty feet in front of me.


Know what I got? A series of blurry deer pictures. FAIL. Why? My shutter speed was too low for how fast the deer was moving. Unedited below, PULITZER HERE I COME.

So the next day when we set out on our hike up to Mirror Lake, I had forgotten about my deer fail until we sat on the bank of a creek and watched as a family of ducks came to investigate whether or not we had any food for them. I was in deep shade and it was noon-ish so the contrast in the sun was pretty bad. I continued to struggle with the Shutter setting and ISO, as my camera would keep changing the exposure +/- button on its own. Or maybe I was doing that on accident. Either way, I got really frustrated but ended up getting some amazing shots at the right settings (with some help from Michele.) Here are those pics. I will learn. I WILL LEARN.

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2 Responses to A terrible lesson in (S)hutter setting

  1. shellymonster says:

    the water in these bird shots looks amazingggg…

  2. starkwe says:

    Even if the shots aren’t quite what you wanted, it looks like a great place to have been!

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