The new 100-400 mm lens post 2
I promised small birds in this post, and I’ll get to them shortly, I’m going to start with a few furry critters first.
The chipmunk was shot on Monday at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, the squirrels were shot on Saturday at the park near where I live.
It’s hard to say what I love the most about the new 100-400 mm lens, but right there at the top of the list has to be that it’s sharp no matter how far away from the subject that I am. I shot this wood chuck about 50 feet away from me, and cropped the image down quite a bit.
As you can see, the wood chuck is still sharp, you can even see its teeth.
Close-up, it’s every bit as sharp as the 300 mm lens is.
I knew that I’d be chasing smaller birds over the rest of the weekend, so to get warmed up for them, I tried the new lens out on a chickadee that I saw.
I could tell that I was out of practice when shooting small, quick birds, so the practice came in handy for what was to come.
It must be because that new lens is so sharp that it seems to extend the depth of field that I get in the photos that I shoot with it. Normally, when I would shoot a bird at that angle as close as I was, one end of the bird or the other would be soft because of the narrow depth of field at 400 mm and as close as I was to the bird. Because of how accurate the auto-focus is, and how sharp the lens is, the entire chickadee is reasonably sharp, although it is getting just a tad soft at both ends in that image. I’ll have to keep that in mind.
Unfortunately, the weather this weekend wasn’t the best for testing out any type of photo gear. We’ve had rain 7 of the last 8 days, and the humidity was very high the entire weekend. High humidity isn’t good for photography because the water in the atmosphere tends to diffuse the light. That can be a good thing when shooting landscapes…
…or this closer view shot with the new lens…
…and I suppose that the foggy weather helps set the mood at times…
…but for the very sharpest photos, less humidity and more light would have been nice.
There were thousands of the red-winged blackbirds eating corn in one of the farm fields there at the Muskegon Wastewater facility, I wonder what they did for food during the fall before the Europeans began planting corn?
Also, corn was supposedly developed by selective breeding of maize, a native plant which the Native Americans cultivated for food. If maize is a native plant, why is it that I’ve never found it growing anywhere that I’ve been?
It’s time to get to some of the smaller birds.
The Phoebe was in no hurry to leave, so that’s one of the first images that I shot using the 2 X tele-converter behind the new lens. You’ve already seen some of the others in the previous post. That combination works just fine as you can see. You may wonder if I tried the 1.4 X tele-converter, yes I have, but I was more interested to see how well the 2 X extender did, especially since I have to manually focus that set-up, and I wanted to see if I could get the focus correct. I didn’t use either extender on any of the other small birds, as I was loving how quickly the new lens focused.
Of all the small birds that I shot, I can only remember the new lens hunting for a focus three times, that’s even better than the Beast (Sigma 150-500 mm lens) can do! There was only one of the three times when I couldn’t figure out why the lens hunted for focus, the other two times I moved the position of the focus point as the lens was getting close to a focus lock, and I realized that I was missing the bird. Moving the focus point must have confused the lens and camera, and both times, it was in very low light, which is tough enough for a lens and camera to focus anyway.
Not bad for no light, the same applies to this one, even more because there are twigs in front of the bird. But, it’s been months since I’ve seen a junco, they’ve been up north all summer, and spend winters in this area.
I got a few warblers also.
Those were all from Sunday, now here’s a few from Monday.
Finally, some good light!
There was a good-sized flock of bluebirds, but do you think that any of them would ever land in a way that I could get a photo showing how blue they are? Of course not, unless the bird was partially hidden.
I didn’t have that problem with the palm warblers, which often hunt for insects on the ground.
Since I’m already over my limit for photos, I guess this is as good of time as any to end this post. I have plenty of photos left over, plus I shot a series of photos of a red-tailed hawk eating a snake yesterday. I save those, and my thoughts, for the next post.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!