AutoMagic ISO

[caption id="attachment_86" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Eagle vs Eagle"][/caption]

As of this weekend, I'm back to shooting eagles on the Mississippi River. These guys are hard enough to capture and track as they fly above and then dive below the skyline - without having to worry about the correct ISO settings. But the drastic change from light sky to darker waters requires it - or else my shutter speeds would drag to a halt. Maintaining exposure compensation with gloves on is hard enough - adjusting ISO on the fly to be sure I don't run out of shutter speed is just more mental load then I can handle. Enter Auto ISO mode.

Now, not all cameras have this available - but if your's does (check your manual) it's worth playing around with. Here's the routine I run with:
  • In setup, I cap my ISO max setting at 3200
  • Set ISO to "Auto"
  • Shoot in Shutter Priority (Typically 1/1000th of a second for birds in flight)
  • Set initial Exposure Compensation to work for a sky shot

With this setup, my aperture almost always drives as low as it will go (f/5.6 in this case) and my shutter stays constant. So basically I'm locked in at f/5.6 and 1/1000th all the time. As more light (or sensitivity) is needed, my ISO automatically starts to increase.

As usual, this may not be the right or best way - but it's working for me! It allows me to focus on the two things that are most important, framing the shot and adjusting exposure compensation for correct metering. Give it a try and see what you think.