Nature pictures with a Point-and-Shoot camera

Thanks Massiel from Down Under, Michael Hayes, Maura Graber, Anne Brown and Terra for all your support. The name change wasn’t a crisis at all, but it’s always nice to be appreciated.


This egret surprisingly didn’t mind that I approached within 3 feet of it. It must either have been used to humans or was hungry. I waited patiently for it to get used to me and I didn’t push my luck. ISO 50 1/15 sec @ f8. Why did I choose the slow shutter speed?

Nature Images with my Powershot G3

low_shutter_speedIf you plan to seek out creatures in the wild, I wouldn’t recommend you use a PS (point-and-shoot) camera.

You’ll only end up being very frustrated because of the shutter lag.

Whenever you half depress the shutter on any PS camera, at least 3 things need to happen:

  • the camera acquire and locks the focus on your target
  • the camera figures out the exposure to use
  • it probably figures out the best white balance setting to use

So you really need to hold down the shutter button, pause, before fully depressing the button.

The more settings you choose for the camera, the more likely you’ll speed things up because the camera will have less settings to figure out.

Whenever I use my PS camera, I choose the ISO, the White Balance and even set it to either Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority.

That way when I actually press the shutter half way, the camera just needs to acquire focus and exposure.

If it’s something which I have lots of time to figure out like a landscape, then full manual is what I use, so that all the camera has to do is acquire focus according to the square in the middle of the viewfinder.

My 5-year-old PS G3 has apertures from f3 to f8. It has a digital zoom which I never use.

The images with optical zoom are so bad, I disable it.

The ISO range is 50 to 400. Needless to say at 400, the pixelation, banding and noise in the shadow area is ugly. If it’s something I have to have, I have to apply a healthy dose of Noise Ninja to make it acceptable.

I chose the slow shutter speed because of 2 reasons:

  • I wanted to make the water appear soft and fabric-like.Earlier I captured the egret with a fish in its mouth, but I didn’t like how the high shutter speed froze everything including the bubbling water.
  • Since the egret was hardly moving and keeping very still and watching the water, I knew I could get away with a slow shutter speed. Without a tripod to help, I took a chance as you can see.


ISO 50 1/250 sec @ f3 froze the action enough for me to see the fish in its beak before it swallowed it. The tradeoff is the high shutter speed froze all the bubbles in the water and created a background I didn’t like.


Next time…

Needless to say, if I had my dSLR and my compliment of lenses, this would have been a much better picture.

I should have cleaned up the background by moving so that the stick wasn’t as prominent in the picture taken at the slower shutter speed.