Make it fast
Elliott says... When you’re working with long lenses, you have to stick with the law of reciprocals in respect to shutter speed. Harry needed at least 1/500 sec to avoid camera shake with the 500mm f/4. He started with an aperture of f/11 as he wanted as much depth of field as possible. I suggested he open it up to f/4, the lens’s maximum aperture, which gave him a shutter speed of 1/640 sec.
Hit the spot
Elliott says... If you spend a lot of time in the hide the light will be ever-changing, with clouds flocking overhead and sun bursting out throughout the day. Aperture-priority mode eliminates the worry of changing settings too often. However, I told Harry to use spot metering mode; the owls would be so large in the frame that this would work excellently, and it is much more reliable than matrix metering if you have bright windows or a dark background behind the subject.
Burst for success
Elliott says... When the birds come down and you see them posing, you want to shoot with everything you’ve got. Setting continuous high burst rate is ideal here. As the birds spin their heads or blink it’s possible for them to blur in the final image when working in low-light conditions on long telephoto lenses. Using this high burst makes it more likely Harry will get that one perfect shot.