May 21, 2018 - Always Check Your Settings - Jacob Zozzaro Photography

This passed Monday, my father saw something moving in the grass outside in the yard behind our house. Not sure what it was, he asked me to grab my telephoto lens to see if I could recognize the creature.

Using my 200-500mm lens, we saw that creature was a large tortoise, approximately 1 foot in length and about 6-7 inches wide.

I fired off a couple shots, shooting in aperture-priority mode as the tortoise was between bright morning sunlight and the shade of a tree. Trying to get different perspectives of the tortoise was cumbersome with this lens. Sadly, the ISO setting were left on ISO 800, resulting in noisier pictures than I would have wanted.

I should have learned by now to reset my camera to a low ISO after a low-light shoot, but I did not in this case. Double-checking your settings, whether shooting full-manual or a priority mode, will be beneficial to any type of photography. There are some cases, though, when you just pick up your camera and shoot away. Most of the time, it is better to have a photo that is somewhat noisy or exposed slightly to the right or left than having none at all.

Thanks for reading.



  • Tortoise in the Grass

    NIKON D5200 + 200-500mm f/5.6 @ 750mm, ISO 800, 1/250, f/5.6

  • Side View

    NIKON D5200 + 200-500mm f/5.6 @ 750mm, ISO 800, 1/160, f/5.6

  • Retreating

    NIKON D5200 + 200-500mm f/5.6 @ 750mm, ISO 800, 1/80, f/5.6 I am annoyed that the shutter speed dropped this much; there is some visible motion blur from handshaking. Just another reason to double-check your settings.

  • Eye Contact with the Tortoise

    NIKON D5200 + 200-500mm f/5.6 @ 750mm, ISO 800, 1/80, f/5.6

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