Pounding them out
I hate to brag, but I’ve been getting some of the very best photos of my life the past two weeks. Most of that is due to my equipment, and that I’m getting a handle on how to use it. It’s not that every photo from the past few weeks are great, but I’m getting at least a couple of very good images that I am very proud of each day.
I’ve talked a lot about the new 300 mm L series prime lens, but the real gem in my kit is turning out to be something that I didn’t intend to purchase, the Tamron 1.4 X tele-converter. While researching macro lenses, several constants turned up, one being that longer is better as far as focal lengths. That allows one to stay farther away from a subject such as an insect, without scaring it away.
I chose the Tokina 100 mm macro lens as it was relatively inexpensive for the image quality that it produces. The only knock on that lens in reviews was that it was too short, but you could overcome that by adding a tele-converter behind it. That led me to the Tamron extender, as it too is relatively inexpensive, and it functions correctly with all my lenses, both optically and electronically.
Seeing how good the Tamron extender is optically behind either the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) and the Tokina macro lens is what influenced my decision to purchase the 300 mm prime over a 400 mm prime. It was a wise decision in my opinion.
Yeah, I know, it’s only a fly, but it gives you an idea of what it’s like to have a 420 mm macro lens that can also turn out photos like these.
One of these days, I’m going to have to use just the prime lens without the Tamron extender and see what it can do on small birds in flight. I lucked out with the barn swallow, usually, neither I nor the auto-focus of the prime lens are fast enough to follow smaller birds as they fly. I can’t keep the birds in the viewfinder as close as 420 mm gets me, and the extender does slow down the auto-focus to the point where it can’t track the smaller birds as quickly as they move.
Anyway, changing the subject, here’s a few turkeys from this past week.
And for Allen, who asked where the females were when I posted images of the males, here are the females.
I think that I have also figured out why the turkeys favor that area. We had a very rainy week here, and it rained overnight several times. If you’ve ever seen a turkey in the rain, you’d see that their feathers soak up water far more than the feathers of other species of birds do. Every time I saw the turkeys in that open area, it was just after rain had stopped. I believe that the turkeys come out into the open like that to dry off, if they stayed back in the weeds and brush as they normally do, their feathers would soaking up the water drops that remained on the vegetation. At least that’s my theory for now, as it is rare to see the turkeys out in the open like that when the weather has been dry.
I have two more photos that require slightly longer explanations, starting with this image, which was shot with the Tokina macro lens.
I had wanted to get a photo of the trees still in full sun with the very dark storm clouds as a background. I tried to capture that with the 300 mm prime and extender, but of course that set-up didn’t allow me to get very much of either the foliage or the sky in the frame. I started to walk away, but then it dawned on me that I had the 100 mm lens with me, which would allow me to get more of both sky and foliage in the frame. I’ll have to remember that when I’m trying to get a flock of birds or other subjects that require a wider view than I can get at 420 mm.
Sorry for the interruption, not that you knew that I had left.
I received my extra check yesterday from work, for all the sick days that I didn’t use. So, I checked the local camera store’s website to check on the availability of the 10-18 mm lens that I wanted to purchase. The website said that the lens was sold out, horrors! I called the store once they had opened, they had one of those lenses still in stock, so I asked them to hold it for me, and ran right over to pick it up before they sold that one.
I used the new lens on my walk, and let’s just say that I have a lot to learn about ultra-wide angle photography.
I’ll have a lot more to say about the new lens as I go, but my first impressions are that it is very good optically, extremely light, and that I’ll have a ton of fun learning how to use it. I see a little vignetting in the left corners of the photo from the polarizing filter at 10 mm, I don’t think that it will be a problem as I can get by without the filter if I absolutely need 10 mm, or crop the image slightly to remove the dark corners. I do wonder why the vignetting only shows up on the left side and not the right, just one of those things I guess.
Enough of that, back to the last week in photos. 😉
Where was I? Oh yeah, the second of the photos that needed a longer explanation.
I learned something from that photo, it’s the reflection of trees in a puddle in the road. If you noticed, the surface of the road is out of focus, but the reflection of the leaves is in focus. When I focused on the surface of the road, the leaves were out of focus.
Apparently, when shooting reflections like that, the distance at which the reflections are in focus is the total distance from the camera to the surface of the puddle plus the distance from the surface to the puddle to the leaves, and not just the distance from the camera to the surface of the puddle. When I had the surface of the road in focus, the reflections were out of focus. Who knew? I think that I remember reading about that phenomenon once a long time ago.
By the way, that was shot with the Tokina macro lens, as were the next few except for the birds, not that it really makes a difference.
From here on, the photos all came from the 300 mm prime lens. Other than that, I don’t think any more words are required for these.
The weather this coming weekend is forecast to be as close to perfect as it can be, cool, sunny, and with very little wind. So rather than prattle on and bore every one, I’m going to go to bed early, get up early tomorrow, and shoot hundreds of photos! Some of them may even be good enough to make it into a post or two. 😉
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!