Shutter Speed – on the Road

I’ve written five posts about migrating to Shutter Mode – most of them featured shots taken right here at the Stone House. It’s one thing to put something into practice in a semi controlled environment – it’s quite another to risk the uncertainty of a new skill out on the road when you are shooting subjects that you rarely see.

Thursday a friend texted me at work asking me if I would be up to a drive over to the Boxley valley after work. These long summer days have afforded me more late day opportunities to shoot and I was totally excited about ending a very busy work day with a drive out to elk country. We left at 6 and had about 45 minutes of decent light once we arrived. We spotted an elk coming out of the woods into the meadow, it was followed by another, and another, and another until there were about a dozen young elk. This appeared to be a colony of teenagers – a mix of young bulls and cows. The meadow was their hangout and they were there to feed. I quickly snapped up several pastoral scenes.

So you may be asking what this series has to do with shutter speed – I had the shutter set at 1/640 second with the ISO at 2500. The meadow was in the shade of the mountains to the west – so although we were shooting before sunset, we were doing it in the shade – shooting with that higher ISO in low light can result in lots of grain, but if there was some action a reasonably fast speed would be required to capture it. I was just about to lower the speed and ISO when something happened.

A pair of young elk decided that a pastoral evening dining on grass what not what they were looking for. A young cow taunted a young bull with amazing results…

It was the equivalent of overturning all the tables at Denny’s – the other elk weren’t sure if they should react or finish their dinner. None of them decided to join our happy pranksters, but none of them reacted negatively either – what a great society!

I was losing light during this series and the shots are noticeably grainy as the scene comes to an end – but there’s the dilemma. Do you catch the action and live with the grain, or do you lower the ISO and shutter speeds and deal with blur and darkness? I chose to capture.

I’ve been shooting the elk for a couple of years now and have been admiring the work of other local photogs shooting in the valley for far longer and this is something I have never seen – so capturing it, even a bit grainy was a thrill. Who knew that a Thursday could end so perfectly!

Related Posts:

Shutter Speed Part 1

Shutter Speed Part 2

Shutter Speed Part 3

Shutter Speed Part 4

Shutter Speed Part 5

34 thoughts on “Shutter Speed – on the Road

  1. Pingback: Black Friday in Boxley Valley | the eff stop

  2. Pingback: Seeing Spots | the eff stop

  3. Stunning and so much fun! I agree the music was perfect for the video. Elk and horses certainly have scrawny legs for all the dancing they do with those big bodies. No wonder I can’t run and dance around like that! Stumps just don’t move as well! 🙂 Can you imagine elephants doing those kinds of moves? 🙂 Great pictures! 🙂

  4. Another great post with fantastic photos and I simply L-o-o-o-o-o-ve the song you put together in the video clip. I think I am with you on this one, to catch all the action was the right choice.

  5. Now I just love that song! I mean I did before, but now when I play it I will have these two playful elk in my head. Good deal Lorri! You did great! I am smiling as I go off to bed. 🙂

  6. Great shots, Lorri.
    I think I would have done the same. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss the action.

  7. I am with you, capture and live with the grain- unless you have a portable light source stronger than the sun!

    Great photos and a great way to wind up a week. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  8. Nice Lorri. And, indeed, it sounds like a lovely way to finish a business filled day. Thanks for the glimpse of Elk!

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