Green Heron with prey, Mississippi River, Mud Lake, iowa

Sometimes it is not possible to shoot with a low ISO setting if you want to capture what is in front of your eyes for just a brief moment. The moment can be as great as it gets, if you don’t have enough light, increasing the ISO setting in camera might be the only choice. I’m a big advocate for using the lowest possible ISO in order to have as much detail as possible. For my wildlife photography ISO100-200 is the standard, sometimes up to 400, very seldom beyond that.

Yesterday evening I took the Nikon D750 with the 70-200, f/4 with me while going for a walk down to the Mississippi River with our dog Cooper. When I saw this little Green Heron, who had just caught something and posed nicely on a piece of drift wood, I knew that 200 mm was really not enough focal length and light was critical. I still gave it a try, cranked up to ISO1600, and made the click. I shot in DX mode (with just part of the sensor), which already limits the amount of pixels to play with and still had to crop the image a little bit in Adobe Lightroom to make it work. The image needed of course more noise reduction than what is usually applied. With every little bit the noise reduction slider was moved to the right, more details in the bird’s feathers went away. I think the photo still tells the story of that moment down at the river and it works somehow here on the website, but making a nice print for the wall…? I guess not.