My buddy Chris often invites me to join him to hunt wild boars in the palm plantation near the forest reserve. Hunting is mostly illegal, especially if you use a rambo-type cross bow and having no permit. So I had to skip the invitations. Realizing my discomfort last night he offered me, again, to join him. Except this time he'd just show me around and keep away for hunting.
It rained heavily yesterday and usually after a heavy rain fall animals come out from their hide-out to search for food. And this was why Chris was so eager to check out things last night. I was quite excited as Chris told me that there was a good chance to spot wide tapirs.
I decided to take two fast lenses 35 f/1.4 and 135 f/2.0. Unfortunately none of them could focus in the dark. So we came up with our own focusing technique. We had an Eveready heavy duty flash light with us. In order to focus, Chris used to put the beam on the target and I used focus using AF. The moment AF was done, I'd set to MF and start hitting the shutter button. I started with ISO 6400, but soon realized i need to hit it to the max. So for the first time for a serious shoot-out I dared to set the ISO to 25600.. And how was the result?
Chris leading the way Taken at ISO 25,600 (Heavily post-processed)
Lousy.. But at least I could take hand-held shots while trekking through the thick palm plantation.
We search around till 3:30am and then we gave up. Except a few wild boar tracks and night calls from a jungle fowl there were really nothing to see or hear.
Before leaving took this long exposure shot.. Looks like day-light isn't it? Look carefully and you can see the stars
A few lessons learned from this trip.
1. Even if it feels heavy do carry your tripod. Otherwise you will miss really beautiful shots. :(
2. If you plan a trip inside deep vegetation, do carry a monopod and use it like a walking stick. It prevents you from sleeping, drive away animals and remove things from a safe distance (Not to mention nice steady shots)
3. ISO 25,600 might sound sexy but it sucks big time. But if used carefully can help you take shots which is no way possible.
4. Big and fast Zoom lenses are ideal for trips like this. I missed the chance to photograph an owl as I was changing my lens