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Digital Photography Tip: Be Ready

Digital Photography Tip: Be Ready!

This digital photograph was taken along the eastern side of Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake area. As I slowly drove along the road, I spotted two buck antelope grazing through the sagebrush. I noticed a lone buck antelope in the distance standing on a ridge while it looked into a ravine at something I could not see. Realizing I would be able to get some photographs of the two antelope, I set up the camera, slid the beanbag onto the open window doorjamb, settled the camera into a groove then started taking photographs. A movement to the side of my eye caught my attention. I saw the lone antelope sprinting at that famous antelope full speed towards the two I was photographing. I simply swung the camera to catch him, zoomed the ring, then held down the shutter to get a burst of him running.

Digital Photography Tip: Be Ready

Always be ready – you don’t know what will present itself, there is no time to change your camera settings nor are there any re-shoots.

What and Why

This photograph was taken by a Nikon D300 camera with a Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm 1:4G lens coupled with a Nikon AF-S TC-14EII teleconverter. Zoomed to 280mm the lens captured the antelope but left enough room in the viewfinder to keep the subject in the viewfinder. The image was slightly cropped to give maximum impact. Most wildlife photography is shot with aperture priority so the aperture was wide open (f/5.6 was the maximum opening because the teleconverter loses one stop of light) to permit a high shutter speed as well as blur the back ground to permit the subject to stand out. The camera selected the shutter speed.

I used ISO-200 with this bright light to get the maximum detail. I used the pattern exposure setting. To get more saturation of the image, I set the exposure compensation at -0.7. I select the focus selector at “continuous” and the shutter selector at “continuous-high speed” to get the fastest burst of images possible. The camera was supported by a beanbag although I had to pan to keep the subject in the viewfinder. The Vibration Reduction was turned on, set at M/A and the focus search was limited from infinity to 6 meters.

More Articles by: Steve Guymon, Outdoor Digital Photographer:
Digital Photography Tip: Depth of Field
Digital Photography Tip: Crop for Impact
Digital Photography Tip: Polarizing Filter
Digital Photography Tip: Finding Subjects
Digital Photography Tip: Can’t Stress this Enough Look Around
Digital Photography Tip: Look Around
Digital Photography Tip: Shoot Many Images
Digital Photography Tip: Be Ready


  1. Great shot. Still following your helpful advise and glad to see a shot that really shows the benefits of “being ready” at all times.

  2. This is a gorgeous photo! I love the description you gave, Steve, of the moments leading up to the shot. I felt like I was there with you! Thanks for the information on the settings, etc. Very helpful.


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