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Thread: Leopard at Night: ISO 102,400

  1. #1
    BPN Member Bill Dix's Avatar
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    Default Leopard at Night: ISO 102,400

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    It was growing dark as we headed back toward camp at the end of a game drive, when we spotted this pretty lady in the brush. We followed her through the brush for some time, as it grew darker, before we were able to get an almost-unobstructed view in the Land Cruiser headlamps. I knew this would be beyond the limits of Topaz DeNoise, but with nothing to lose I kept pushing the ISO. Anyway, I got a nice record shot of this memorable experience.

    A1 200-600 + 1.4 TC, @ 280 mm. ISO 102,400 (not a typo), 1/400s @ f/9, HH
    Last edited by Bill Dix; 08-12-2022 at 08:26 PM.

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    BPN Member Andreas Liedmann's Avatar
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    hi Bill .... as an image this night shot does not grab me , for two reasons .... in general I do not like night shots in wildlife photography , as we can produce great stuff in day light in good quality . and the disturbance of the subject is less because we do not have to shine in the eyes or the scene to make the subject visible for our eyes . even when being careful with the lights ... I think it is not nice for nocturnal animals . just my personal opinion developed over the years after been on several safari night drives .... today I will never join again this kind of safaris .
    what I do instead I sit at waterholes where the light is on the whole night and the animals seem to be used more to the lighting , not sure if it is any better .... at least it is giving me a better feeling .
    technically seen ... the IQ is simply not there , but no wonder at that ISO value . is this again a large crop as there are some squares visible in the dark tones .

    but glad you like the experience with this lady and got some shots

    tfs Andreas

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    Story Sequences Moderator and Wildlife Moderator Gabriela Plesea's Avatar
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    Hello Bill,

    Your image reminds me of the only time I pushed ISO this high...about six years ago, in the Kalahari. Also an experiment, was curious what my new gear could do. It was early morning and barely any light but I could not resist taking a shot or two of a little wild cat Was not very impressed with the image so it's still lying there in the folders, never to be processed

    Back to your image, for a record shot I'd say it is not bad - you had a source of light here so your leopard looks much better than my wild cat Unfortunately she looks somehow 'cut out', must be the way you isolated her from the background? Also, there's too much light on the subject and not enough on the BG, looks a bit unnatural IMO. Crop is a bit tight and tip of the tail missing, the back legs disappear abruptly behind the log.

    Regarding lighting I must say I tend to agree with Andreas. Animals find it quite disturbing, even though it is not always obvious as they seem to carry on with whatever they are doing. Predators need the cover of darkness to move about and find prey. And also to avoid other predators, in this case like lions.

    Thank you so much for sharing and I hope you have opportunities to see and photograph many more leopards on your future trips. As well as other species Any plans to come back to Africa soon?

    Kind regards,
    Gabriela Plesea

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    Wildlife Moderator Steve Kaluski's Avatar
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    Worth a punt as a record, but that's as far as it goes for me Bill. With the lens combo, does it take you to f/9, as going lower ie f/5.6 would have been better.

    TFS
    Steve
    Post Production: Itís ALL about what you do with the tools and not, which brand of tool you use.

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    BPN Member Bill Dix's Avatar
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    Thanks for your comments. As to the IQ, I realize that it is technically limited, with some PP flaws as well. I only posted it because: first, it was an ISO experiment - I had never attempted anything at ISO +100K and was amazed that I could get anything at all; and second, it recorded a memorable experience. I know you frequent African travelers have had many such experiences but for me and my family it was a thrill. We saw Big Cats on each of the six days we were in Botswana, and they always seemed oblivious to our presence. In the case of this nighttime leopard we did ask our guide if we were interfering with her hunt and he assured us we were not. Of course this is how he makes his living, but he has had years of intimate encounters with all of the big cats and is committed to their well being. I suspect that the cats near the various safari camps have become inured to the vehicles and their lights, just as they have at waterholes.

    Steve, with this lens combo, f/9 is "wide open". One of its drawbacks in low light.

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    Wildlife Moderator Steve Kaluski's Avatar
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    Bill, kudos in pushing the boundaries, very few do and really stick to old school rules - unless you explore you will never know. I know this was all in hire I think, but taking say a 70-200 f/2.8 would have been good, just shoot wide open. F/9 lens thought so, light, but it has its drawbacks.
    Post Production: Itís ALL about what you do with the tools and not, which brand of tool you use.

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