will burrard lucas sony alpha rx10IV a penguin seemingly smiles for the camera

Survival of the Quickest

Will Burrard-Lucas

There was a particular shot I was looking for on my most recent trip to Antarctica,” begins wildlife pro Will Burrard-Lucas, “and it’s the kind of thing that the RX10 IV is perfect for.

Skirting the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula by boat, and occasionally putting ashore to lead groups of lucky photographers on a tour of the continent’s amazing landscapes and wildlife, Will was searching for a composition that brought the two together. “I wanted it to convey the immensity and desolation of the place, while also showing the wildlife within it – how it manages to survive in such an inhospitable setting,” he tells us.

will burrard lucas sony alpha rx10IV a group of penguins stand on an ice shelf dwarfed by a huge glacier

© Will Burrard-Lucas | Sony RX10 IV | 1/1600s @ f/4.0, ISO 100

The shot, which featured tiny penguins dwarfed by the icescape, was made possible, says Will, because of the RX10 IV’s immediacy – a camera that can be ready in seconds and used across a huge range of subjects with high-quality results. It’s opposite of glacial in pace. “I came out onto the deck of the boat,” he explains “and in that moment, the scene was just right there in front of me. Fortunately, I had my camera around my neck, so I could react quickly.”

“It's a superb camera for that,” he continues, “it’s so light so you can carry it and be always ready, and on any wildlife shoot, not just this one, you don’t know what you may come across. With a bigger system, you’ll often need to go get it when you need it. And by that time, you can miss the shot.”
will burrard lucas sony alpha rx10IV a seal lies on its side on the ice

© Will Burrard-Lucas | Sony RX10 IV | 1/2000s @ f/4.0, ISO 100

Aside from its lightness, the RX10 IV’s most welcome feature is its reach, says Will. “On a trip like this, I was often shooting at the full 600mm setting, and that’s perfect for situations where you can’t get close for fear of spooking the wildlife.”

will burrard lucas sony alpha rx10IV a bird soars above a mountain ledge with snow covered caps behind

© Will Burrard-Lucas | Sony RX10 IV | 1/2000s @ f/4.0, ISO 100

Travelling by boat also highlighted another key benefit of the RX10 IV. “The boat was very rocky due to the wind and waves, so it was pretty challenging!” he laughs. “This is where I really noticed the benefit of using a small and lightweight all-in-one camera. The more nimble set-up allowed me to respond and get shots that I’d definitely miss with a larger system, and the camera’s weather sealing put up with plenty of sea spray, snow and ice, too.”

will burrard lucas sony alpha rx10IV a group of penguins relaxing on the shoreline

© Will Burrard-Lucas | Sony RX10 IV | 1/1600s @ f/4.0, ISO 640

And how about the AF function? “The most recent firmware update really helped to ramp up the AF performance,” he explains, “so I could really push it with subjects like birds in flight. For an all-in-one camera, the AF is very impressive and particularly with these challenging subjects, which were swooping above and below the horizon. But it locked on like a predator, and didn’t get confused by waves or other distractions.”

will burrard lucas sony alpha rx10IV a lone bird soars above the ocean

© Will Burrard-Lucas | Sony RX10 IV | 1/1000s @ f/4.0, ISO 640

Shooting these speedy subjects, Will also made use of the RX10 IV’s Auto ISO mode, and setting the minimum shutter speed, too. “For fast moving birds in flight, I’d set it at 1/1600sec or 1/2000sec and use the lens wide open,” he explains. “I usually go as high as I need to on the ISO, because you can deal with noise but you can never come back from a photo that has motion blur in it. I’m never scared to use the higher ISOs, because the RX10 IV’s quality is so good.”

Of the RX10 IV, he concludes, “with all these helpful functions, it just makes it the perfect accompaniment to my main Sony Alpha gear.”

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Will Burrard-Lucas

Will Burrard-Lucas | UK

"I study the latest technology and consider how it might be used to photograph wildlife in ways that were not previously possible."

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