Custom Shooting Modes

Canon 5d mkIII mode dial
Last month I was hiking up Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park when I decided to stop and set up a landscape shot featuring the Olympic Mountains and some wildflowers dotting the hillside.

I had everything set up, my tripod adjusted, and was taking a few shots, when out of the corner of my eye a blacktail doe wandered into my frame. I had literally two seconds to adjust my camera settings in order to freeze the deer’s movement in-frame and include her in my shot.

Not an easy thing to do and most of the time when things like this happen we end up missing the shot while fumbling frantically to switch our settings. However luck and preparation were on my side this morning as I was using my Custom Shooting Mode, C1, on my Canon 5D mkIII for my landscape settings.

For those who aren’t familiar with using the Custom Shooting Modes on your camera, they allow us to preset or program custom settings into a designated mode that can be quickly accessed on the camera. Canon’s 5D mkIII has three custom shooting modes located for easy access, C1,C2,C3. Each mode is programmable and located on the mode dial. You can program any settings you like into each mode, so when you switch to that mode, your settings are ready to go and you’re not left navigating endlessly while you miss that once in a lifetime shot.

On my camera for example I have C1 set up for shooting landscapes. I have programmed all the usual settings we start out with when shooting static scenes.

C1: Aperture Priority, ISO 100, f11, mirror lockup, 2 second timer.

This makes it quick and simple when I want to shoot a landscape and especially when I need to switch back and forth between shooting situations.

Blacktail deer Hurricane Ridge, Washington
So for my blacktail deer on Hurricane Ridge, I was shooting my landscape in C1 and when the deer entered the frame, I quickly switched my mode dial to AV mode which was already set for action at ISO 800 f5.6 with no mirror lockup or 2 second timer. I was able to fire off two frames and get one with the deer right in the middle.

Now by itself my landscape shot was not a very interesting one nor one that I really cared for. But with the deer in the foreground it made the shot more interesting and added a little something extra. This was the absolute perfect example of the convenience of the Custom Shooting Modes and also an example of how they can help us capture shots that we ordinarily may have missed.

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