Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet" and "Endangered Edens."

Photographic Oops!

Blue Heron

Marty’s photo of the day #1909: Here’s another of my favorite bird photos from Deb’s and my late-August Rock and Roll Road trip. But believe it or not, I actually screwed up on the shot. The evening before, I was on Antelope Island, photographing giant mule deer in late twilight. To get those shots, I had to set my camera’s ISO on 6400. For those who don’t know, ISO is the digital version of film speed. I normally shoot wildlife photos at 400 to 800 ISO, as the photos stay crisp and noise-free. Once I get to 3200 ISO, noise creeps in, and at 6400 I get visible digital noise and a bit of a color shift. Nevertheless, an ISO of 6400 allows me to shoot practically by candlelight, without a flash.

The morning after Antelope Island, Deb and I hiked through the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, where I photographed tons of birds. Unfortunately, I forgot to lower my camera’s 6400 ISO setting from the previous night. Even so, this photo isn’t as “off” as I would have expected, and I was able to get rid of some of the high ISO problems by using my photo editing program to add a bit of saturation and a touch of noise reduction.

This post has been more about photography than wildlife, but we mustn’t forget the bird! It’s a great blue heron.

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