Dave Hamman Photography

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Best shutter speed for capturing sharp wildlife images

leopard-sharp
Best shutter speed for capturing sharp wildlife images
The reality is, there is no such thing. You could go the easy, no risk route and settle on a shutterspeed of 1/3000 of a second, but to get there a number of compromises would have to be made. The most common compromise is ISO, bump this up and the quality of the image goes down. The other alternative is to reduce depth of field (f-stop) as far as it will go. The accompanying image of cubs playing high action tag in low light was shot at 1/125 of a second. No compromise on image quality. What I did do however was to add a little extra light in with a flash, dialed way down to 2 stops under so that the ambient light was not overpowered by the flash and panning with the action gave me enough speed to produce an image with some movement and a critical area of sharpness around the face and eyes. Going back to answering the opening question, there is a rule of thumb- 1/500th sec is pretty much fast enough to freeze the action and the closer you can keep you camera to the sweet spot of f-8 the better.

Efficient Predators

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Efficient predators
What makes this image special for me is that the vultures are investing a lot of energy in following the dogs, purely on the grounds that they know there will be a reward at the end of it. What other predator is so successful that vultures will do this? Vultures flying low over the dry acacia in the cool predawn of a Botswana winter, long before there is a hint of a thermal can only mean one thing, dogs out on the move.

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