I've started this discussion in the Nature forum too so apologies if you've stumbled on it twice.
I've found a place nearby where there are lots of small bats (20cm across the wings) flying around at dusk. They look really interesting silhouetted against the evening sky and I'd like to capture that.
I've a digital SLR, a Pentax K10D with standard 18-55mm lens, and not quite sure of the best set-up for shooting fast-moving, dark, small objects against a lighter background in a low-light setting.
Here are some of my thoughts, questions and assumptions:
1) It's low-light (just after sunset) so I assume I'll need a higher ISO setting.
2) I'll use a tripod but maybe I should use the image stabilising, shake-reduction option instead.
3) I need to freeze the motion so a flash must be a requirement. Is it possible to adjust the flash speed incase it's not fast enough.
4) What distance is the flash effective to? The bats will be about 3 metres away.
5) The bats move too fast for the auto-focus to lock-on so I'll need to do that manually in advance.
6) If I allow in the most light with a low F-stop and large aperture it'll reduce the depth-of-field making it even harder to catch them in focus.
7) What white level setting would be preferable?
8) Should I take a spot meter reading from a tree branch which is also in the frame or is this irrelevant if I use the built-in flash?
Any suggestions or experience in similar scenarios would be appreciated. I know I can go out and test all these options myself but it would be nice to go out armed with a bit of received wisdom.