Tech tip: Plan for the unexpected

Let’s talk about shutter speed…

Shutter speed is one of the three legs of the exposure triangle and probably has the biggest effect on your image result. Thus it’s critical to understand why it’s so important and how it influences your image.

Too slow = blurry. (but with the right technique and shutter speed can portray motion)

Fast = frozen-in-time images.

If the above is news to you, get in touch so we can help grow your photographic skills. But let’s get back to the topic and get to the point.

Previously the basic rule to compensate for camera shake is that your shutter speed should be equal to or greater than the focal length of your lens. So, if you use a 200mm lens, your shutter speed should be 1/250th.

Again this rule only accounts for camera shake but not for something like the subject matter. In the case of wildlife photography, small bird species will require very high shutter speeds to freeze the wing movements and ensure the tips of the wings are sharp. In contrast, an elephant drinking water won’t necessarily require a shutter speed of 1/10000th of a second.

But what if I tell you that extremely high shutter speeds opened my world to new opportunities.

Below I will share some images that will portray the information I’m trying to illustrate.

E-M1X | ISO 1600 | -1.7 | 300mm F4 @ 300mm F10 | 1/8000

At Klipspringer photography hide, a herd of Kudu cows gathered mid-morning to drink water. I picked up the camera to capture an almost symmetrical image, and after taking the image, I thought that’s a great “record” shot as the light was good.

Twist in the plot…dum dum dum – after downloading the images, I discovered something truly spectacular! I shot at a high shutter speed and unknowingly captured an Oxpecker taking flight off the Kudu’s head. No one else sitting next to me captured that moment in time…

E-M1X | ISO 1600 | -1.7 | 300mm F4 @ 300mm F8 | 1/20000

The next image was taken between the morning and afternoon sessions when we had some downtime. I decided to photograph the Squirrels on a small patch of rocks in the garden, where seeds and fruit peels are left daily. Lying flat on the grass, enjoying nature, and listening to the birds’ calls, finally, my little friend showed up to their so-called “stage”. In the beginning, it was only one actively running about and grabbing a bite to eat, and about ten or so minutes later, another friend joined in on the feast. After a couple of minutes, they were eating together in complete harmony, and then all of a sudden, things took a wrong turn, and a squirrel clash happened so fast that my brain didn’t even release what was happening. To my surprise, after downloading the sequence of images, I discovered this little gem that perfectly replicates the moment I tried to describe.

So finally, we are at my tech tip for the day…try to keep your shutter speed as high as possible. Set yourself up for what might happen and not what’s happening at that moment. Things happen so fast, and our brains can’t always process it fast enough, but with your camera set up correctly and understanding the advantages of keeping those shutter speeds up, that’s when we truly start to see beyond the obvious.


Shopping Basket
A note to our visitors

This website has updated its privacy policy in compliance with changes to European Union data protection law, for all members globally. We’ve also updated our Privacy Policy to give you more information about your rights and responsibilities with respect to your privacy and personal information. Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our updated privacy policy.

Scroll to Top