My Weekend, Feathers and Flowers
It’s somewhat early on Sunday morning as I struggle to find something new to write here.
The replacement 300 mm prime telephoto lens arrived late Friday afternoon after I left for work. I was outside the door for the apartment office waiting for it to open yesterday so that I could get my hands on it. When I did, I went up to the Pickerel Lake Nature Preserve and wandered around until the weather got too bad for even me. It was a good thing that I went prepared, which surprised me, that didn’t use to be the case. I had a rain jacket and the dry bag with me to protect myself and my camera and lens respectively. That was even though the forecast had predicted that the rain would hold off until evening.
The day started sunny, but the clouds rolled in soon after I started my hike, and by mid-afternoon, there was a steady, moderate rain falling. I really wanted to stay out longer, but the rain drove all the critters to cover, so I packed it in. It turned out to be a good thing that I did, for just after I got back home, I saw news reports of severe thunderstorms rolling through the area that I had just left, complete with 85 MPH winds.
I should do a post on just yesterday, as most of the photos that I shot were excellent, if I do say so myself. However, even though the photos are great, they are of the same old same old for the most part. I may still do post on yesterday, but if I do, I’m going to disable the “Like” button on that post. In fact, I may well disable it from here on in.
I almost went on a rant about the drive-by “likers” but I deleted what I had begun. I’ll just say that you shouldn’t be surprised if you no longer see the “Like” button for anymore of my posts.
Anyway, there’s a front draped over the area, the same front that brought the rain and storms yesterday. Right here where I live, there have been occasional showers, but not very much rain all told. To the north, they are getting hammered by wave after wave of storms. To the south, just a few miles, it’s been much warmer, with no rain.
So, if I were to go somewhere today, my best bet would be to go south, but, as changeable as the weather is, I think that I’ll just wander around here today.
Now then, about the replacement lens, WOW!
I thought that the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) produced great photos, and it does. I thought that the first 300 mm prime lenses produced even better photos, and it did. But, the replacement lens does even better if you can believe that.
I’m loving the new lens already, as it’s great having a lighter, easier to manage lens than the Beast for longer hikes. And, the new lens goes from shooting photos of subjects as close as close to me as at my feet, to being a great long lens for subjects in the distance. But, I’ll save my raves for the new lens for later.
It does have its quirks, Up close, and off in the distance, it auto-focuses extremely well, but there’s a range in the middle where I found that I had to help it out a little at times. Not always, but once in a while. I’ll see if that continues as I use the lens more.
I know why the lens performs as it does, in their efforts to make a lens that focuses very quickly, the engineers at Canon designed the lens so that very little movement of the focusing mechanism is required to make large differences in the focus of the lens. In simple terms, the focusing is fast, but touchy. If it’s off just a bit, it shows as being way off in any photos that you take.
So, I either tweak the focus manually, or force the camera into the servo mode of focusing, and I get sharp images, really sharp images!
Well, enough of that for now, I think that it’s time to eat breakfast, and then head on out for the day to see what I can find around here.
Once again, I found too much! I’m trying to be ruthless as far as deleting photos and not posting all of them that I shoot, but that’s getting harder everyday. I’ve been through the photos that I shot the last two days numerous times, and I still have way too many left, 80 to be precise. Some are of common subjects, but I can’t bring myself to delete them, as they either demonstrate how sharp the new lens is, or they are of those subjects engaged in interesting behavior.
Part of the reason for that is the new lens, I’m blown away by how well it does even under really bad lighting. I’ve also been pushing it to see just what I can get away with as far as critters partially hidden, as well as flying birds, and other things. All I can say is that I can no longer blame my equipment for crummy photos.
The new 300 mm prime may not be quite as good as the Beast is at getting birds trying to hide, but it’s close. And, what a one-two punch these two lenses make! The Beast is solid and dependable, it always gets the bird, the new lens may miss one now and then, but the images it produces makes up for any missed shots, at least so far.
So, where do I start, since I haven’t posted any photos of one of these for a while, I suppose this is a good place to start, a muskrat bringing fresh grass to its den.
Then, how about a female mallard that I rudely awakened.
I don’t know what it is about robins, they position themselves in some awkward positions for no reason that I can fathom.
Then, a couple of signs that spring is here.
Some one asked me about getting close to turkeys, this is how close I get, as this photo wasn’t cropped at all.
The next two are part of the “torture” test for the new lens.
Next, the flying mallard test.
The bird in the bush test.
The bird ID test. 😉
I know that I’ve posted many chickadees lately, but here’s one tunneling into a fence post to make a nesting spot.
I thought that chickadees used old woodpecker holes, but this one was chewing its way into the fence post as you can see from the debris.
How can I do a lens test and not shoot a photo of Fred the friendly fox squirrel?
The female yellow-bellied sapsucker has arrived.
As have the white-throated sparrows….
…and the field sparrows.
I was able to sneak up on this warbler, it took it a second to realize how close I was.
I don’t know if this is a lichen or a fungus, but it was interesting.
No day would be complete without a waxwing.
But, it was a sparrow kind of day.
Who soon joined the first one on the ground.
Not only is the new lens sharp, I love the color I get with it!
Back to birds for a while.
Bruiser, the male red-tailed hawk did a fly by so I could test the new lens.
Which caused this red squirrel to remain hidden.
Those of you who don’t care for snakes may want to look away.
I was tempted to put that last one in the slideshow that runs at the top of the post, but I was afraid that it would scare a few people off. 😉
With some sun, I was able to play with my exposure settings for turkeys, since they are a difficult bird to photograph well.
I should have removed the extender from behind the lens for those last three so that I could have gotten the entire turkey in the frame. 😉
And, to wrap this up, a couple of more flowers.
Sorry for so many, but I shot over 200 today just playing in the park that I walk everyday. But, with four first of the year species of birds, the first flowers of spring, and everything else on top of testing the new lens, and I just couldn’t stop myself.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!