Serving up more leftovers
This post will be mostly leftovers, and before Thanksgiving. 😉
However, before I get to the older photos, I have to start with a few of my newer ones, just because I can, and because they give me a reason for some more boring talk on photo gear.
As you know, I have a Canon 2X tele-converter, and I have a few more words to say about it. I was told not to purchase that item by several well-intentioned people, but I’ve also noticed that in many of the online photography tutorials and presentations that I’ve been watching, the 2X extender is something many of the professionals use quite often. So, I went ahead and purchased one despite what I was told about how they reduce image quality.
Well, that image was shot using the 300 mm L series lens with the 2X extender on the 7D Mk II and cropped slightly. I will say that it wasn’t easy to get that set-up to focus on the water strider, especially as it was moving…
…as you can see by the patterns in the water as the strider used its middle set of legs to propel it across the surface of the creek. But, with a little help from me manually getting the focus close, I was able to get some reasonably good photos of the strider.
So, back to the 2X extender. In my limited experience using it, I have the following to say about it to any one considering using one. You have to use it behind a high quality lens, as the extender magnifies any flaws in the images sent to it by the lens ahead of it. Also, I don’t know if emphasize is exactly the correct word to use, but, the extender seems to emphasize the performance characteristics of the lens it is used in conjunction with.
I’ve prattled on about how the 300 mm lens is excellent up close, then it gets a bit soft in the mid-range, then becomes sharp again at longer distances. The 2X extender makes that even more apparent, as the photos of the water strider show. Up close, that combination is excellent as far as sharpness, I see very little drop off in image quality. Here’s another example of what that combination is capable of from a recent post.
With the 2X extender, the 300 mm lens becomes a 600 mm near macro lens, with excellent image quality. It does become softer at mid-ranges, even more so than the 300 mm lens alone, but it sharpens back up again at longer ranges. I have a few leftovers all shot at close range to demonstrate that.
Those may not be my best photos, but they’re not bad, and they were shot as I was learning to get the best out of the 2X extender which I now consider to be an indispensable part of my arsenal of photo gear. Being able to get near macro shots of subjects 5 to 6 feet (1.5 M) comes in very handy for insects, and it gets me a little closer to other critters as well. That is, if I remember to remove the polarizing filter from the 300 mm lens when I use the 2X extender. That combination doesn’t work well due to losing 2 stops of light from the extender, and another 2 stops from the filter.
That brings me to the next item to babble on about, using a polarizing filter, I’m loving the way that the filter conditions the light for photos like this one…
…or this one!
I know, too many mallards recently, but they make such great practice subjects. Shooting the same species, such as mallards and gulls let’s me judge the progress that I’m making in improving my photos by comparing my newer photos to the hundreds of similar photos that I’ve shot in the past.
Those are two more images that I wish that I could display full size and in full resolution here, you can see every fiber in the mallard’s feathers and even “see” the texture of them as well. However, as good as they are, I can do better.
For one thing, the polarizing filter that I have to fit the 300 mm lens is just an off-brand filter that I didn’t pay a lot for, since I didn’t think that it would see much use. It’s funny, I didn’t pay much more for that polarizing filter than I did for the UV filters which I no longer use, but the polarizing filter doesn’t have a negative impact on image quality the way that the UV filters did. But, the main point is that if you’re going to buy any filter, purchase a really good one. I plan on doing just that for the 300 mm lens. Between the high quality neutral density filters I’ve been just getting started with, and the better quality polarizing filters that I bought for the lenses that I use for landscapes, now that I’ve learned how much a polarizing filter can help by conditioning the light entering the lens for subjects other than landscapes, I plan on ordering a higher quality one in the next month or so.
The last word (for now) about filters, when it comes to the quality of a filter, it isn’t just the glass that’s important, it’s also the mounting ring. Lower price filters have aluminum rings which tend to bind in the filter threads of your lenses, making them difficult to remove. Better quality filters have brass rings which don’t bind in the threads, so removing them is much easier.
Now then, a few words about what the mallard was doing and why his bill is dirty. Just before I shot the first photo of him, he was using his bill to plow up the moss along the edge of the pond, I assume to find insects in the roots of the moss. Because of the shape of the bill, he was very efficient at plowing the moss. I really wanted to get a photo of it, but the mallard dropped too far down the bank for me to capture it. Still, it was something to see, the mallard thrust his bill under the moss, then walked along ripping it out of the ground and turning it over just as a man-made plow would do. I’ve seen mallards digging through leaf litter to find worms in the leaves before, but I’ve never seen one plowing up moss before.
Time to do a little more snacking on the leftovers.
Here’s a few of a goldfinch, the first one as he realized that I had snuck up on him.
Then, he eyeballed me to see if I posed a threat…
…mulled the issue over…
…then returned to eating.
I see and post many photos of catbirds, but here’s a bit of a rarity, a young one. They typically stay well hidden.
I must have gotten too close to this wren’s nest, for it spent some time scolding me.
Flickers typically stay out of camera range for a good photo, but every once in a while, one will surprise me by posing for me.
Other than monarchs, I didn’t see many of the larger species of butterflies this past summer, here’s one.
Let’s see here, what other treats do I have left, how about another eagle?
Or, perhaps some pokeweed in its various stages, going backwards in order?
The plant itself may not be very photogenic, but its flowers and berries certainly are, I love the colors.
I’m making progress in cleaning out my archives, here’s a few more that I thought were too good to delete.
We had a good crop of Canada geese this year.
But unlike other crops, this one can fly, and it only takes one…
…to make up the mind of the entire flock.
That cleaned out another “shelf” in the archives, I have room for two more photos in this post, so here they are.
The weather forecast is calling for 6 inches (15 cm) of snow on Saturday, with more lake effect snow to follow on Sunday and Monday, so this may be the last aster that I saw this fall.
Well, I’ve made a good sized dent in the photos that I have left from this summer, but there’s still many more hidden away for me to use up.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!