Almost all wild animals have a bad habit of coming out of the woods almost always at sunrise or sunset. This preference for the twilight hours creates, indeed created, many difficulties for photographic hunting with the 'long': today, in fact, thanks to the programs of modern digital SLRs, the absence of 'noise' offered by high ISOs and, above all, , thanks to the great twilight value (measured in DIN) of long Swarovski Optik, the 'dark' is defeated.
Let's see what and how to do both in this space (with the exemplary story of a young roe deer) and through the pages of the exclusive book "DIGISCOPING STORIES”, Where each photograph is accompanied by metadata real: a precise graphic choice that has (deliberately) kept the original lights and the relative exposure times, rather than heavily manipulating the images in print, making them better, glossy, bright as in broad daylight but… clearly false.
A young roe deer over the sunset.
October. It's cold and we have a photographic 'problem' to deal with: roe deer like twilight hours; as long as the sun illuminates the lawn well it is very difficult to see a subject in the open. When, however, the shadows run fast, the roe deer, foxes, wild boars and other wild animals begin to move. This puts a strain on the long exposure capabilities of the cameras. For these reasons, since the sun has disappeared behind the forest, we check the exposure data every half hour. For now, we are still in optimal conditions, but we know that soon we will have to adapt to the sunset lights. The same thing happens - in reverse - before and after dawn. I fear that the roe deer will not come out this evening. Patience, it will be for another time. It pays to go home. We also consider that - with the 'old' photographic equipment and the ancient ASAs - we would have been on the way back for at least half an hour. Suddenly, in absolute silence, we hear the grazing of an animal. We have not seen him go out, but he is in front of us (less than 80 meters) and he eats quietly. The light is so poor that we can't even grasp the age group or gender. Only a confused and indistinct shape that emerges from the grass that is still very tall, compared to the season. While we almost swallow the small pile placed in our mouth to collect our things and leave the place, we try to frame the point where we suppose the roe deer is. It is pitch dark in the viewfinder; then we insert the live-view, we frame in the long term at the minimum enlargements and it returns… day.
ISO 1600 is no longer sufficient; we have to push ISO 3200 and 6400. Now we finally see that it is a very young subject, with a shy sketch of poles; he does not see us, he does not hear us, but the long one gives us a 'luminous' image that was absolutely unimaginable until a few years ago. The high crepuscular value of the long Swarovski it makes us smile if we think of the 'economic' models defeated at sunset. We take some photos, in the moments when the animal is relatively still - we must use an exposure time of less than 1/10 "!!! - and we can't contain the emotion of having defeated… the dark!
This simple story is just an example of the 'philosophy' that pervades all the images in the Book on Digiscoping, in whose pages the protagonists are not only the animals, but the digiscopers and the often difficult conditions of light and exposure. Hence the choice to keep the menu settings without forcing postproduction. The problem of "darkness" is very much felt by digiscopers and by all those who know wild animals well. Everyone asks us: "How did you do???", "What program did you set up? ","How did you get rid of the digital noise? " and things like that. It is worthwhile to give a precise answer to these questions.
Summarizing the 'darkness' issue from a photographic point of view we simply have to make the most of the qualities of the objectives and / or telescopes. In practice, if we want to obtain good results, all that remains is to translate the exceptional crepuscular value offered by the long films into a photographic file. In other words, the camera sensor must be able to read what the long offers, with particular reference to the brightness of the scene, which is often higher than what we perceive with the naked eye. Even without the sun, the scene still has its own light, grazing, which draws things and subjects with sufficient precision: this is the "light" that we must capture. At a certain point of the day (for example, at sunset), however, the light, initially good and grazing, begins to give way to shadows, which are increasingly longer. It is the magical moment of the day, the one long awaited by animals and digiscopers. The ISO standards, however, are no longer sufficient; the view in the display or viewfinder is no longer optimal; focusing cannot be as precise anymore; exposure times approach the dangerous border of blur; the flash cannot intervene; the air that separates us from the subject becomes a real 'wall'.
What to do to translate the 'miracle' of brightness that the brightest telescopes offer? The first 'intervention' concerns the ISOs. We exclude the AutoISO and set the adjustment in manual. The light varies (a lot) at sunset and remains fairly stable after the disappearance of the sun: this forces us to set and check - about every quarter of an hour - the optimal ISO value, with an eye to the exposure times below which we want to go. Whatever the program, including the manual, we keep the diaphragm at maximum aperture and forget about it. The only variable adjustment therefore becomes that of the ISO, to go up; if we work in manual, however, we also relate the exposure times to the ISO. Let's take a simple practical example. After sunset, with low light, adjusting to 400 ISO, in synergy with the magnification and aperture of the long, we will have an exposure time that is around 1/20 ". This time - if we are stable on the tripod - can be sufficient for still or slow moving subjects; but it is too long in other cases. Let's start, then, to go up by ISO. If we adjust to 800 ISO the times go up to about 1/40 ”. Sometimes it may be enough, but for a short time. When the ISO 800 becomes insufficient, we can easily go up to 1.600, with exposure times of about 1/50 "; a time that allows even some walking subjects. When the darkness increases, it is the turn of ISO 3200 (with 1/80 ") and ISO 6400 (with 1/100"). The main objection of photographers calls in the field above all the great digital "noise" at 3200/6400 ISO, or more, and the objective difficulties of seeing (and focusing) in the viewfinder and / or monitor what is offered by the exceptional twilight value offered by the long.
Regarding "noise" it must be said that the images generated by digital cameras have less and less "grain" than analog. But not only that: even at 6400 ISO the new sensors generate a more than acceptable noise, sometimes almost in a way that is hard to believe for old photographers. This is due to the new sensors and is even more extraordinary in semi-professional SLRs. Finally, remember that shooting in RAW, or NEF, not only can you correct a photo that is too dark, but there are programs for the PC created specifically to reduce (with various gradations) the noise or eliminate it completely. About the optimal vision, in order to focus easily when the going gets tough and the viewfinder is no longer enough you need to use the Live-View: just observe and focus on the monitor, also adjustable for brightness, translating the precise manual MAF on the millimeter ring. of the long. In this way you not only choose the desired point to focus, but ...the dark is defeated!
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