Sunday, April 15, 2012

If You Saw It, You Missed It

With an single lens reflex camera, the mirror has to move out of the image path when the shutter is opened.  In that split second, as you are looking through the lens, your view is blocked by the mirror.  If you are trying to capture something that occurs very quickly, you have to anticipate (think "guess") when that will happen.  If you are seeing it through the lens, then you are not recording it on the sensor.  In other words, you missed it.

You can compensate for this somewhat by shooting a burst of several frames, but that doesn't always work either.  Once the camera's buffer fills, it stops taking any more frames until there is more room in the buffer (which can seem like an eternity while you are waiting).  So if the action you are trying to capture doesn't occur until after the burst ends, you still miss it.

And then there are things that you just can't anticipate.  When an osprey catches a fish, it will often pause in flight and shake like a dog to shake off excess water.  They have to have enough speed to glide for a moment, so it doesn't occur immediately after coming out of the water, but sometimes they travel quite a ways before they shake.  In other words, it is anybodies guess as to when, or even if, they are going to do it.

This particular day, it was raining pretty hard, but it was a shower, so I was hanging in there waiting for it to pass.  I had the camera on a tripod, a rain jacket over my camera, and I was holding an umbrella over me and the camera trying to stay as dry as possible.  All that and trying to film the action at the same time.  It was just by chance that I caught the osprey shaking, but it is one of my favorite images of an osprey.  I thought it ironic that it would try to shake off the water in the pouring down rain.

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