Category Archives: telephoto lens

Dusky Grouse On Display

Dusky Grouse On Display

Dusky Grouse On Display, Signal Mountain Summit, Grand Teton National Park

Actually, I almost named this “Dusky Grouse On The Run,” since it was moving at a brisk clip alongside the road down from Signal Mountain in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Sometimes, that’s how I used to feel when I was getting ready to go to work in the pre-dawn hours.

Anyway, I couldn’t believe my good luck that morning, at the summit of Signal Mountain. I’d already captured numerous images of the female dusky grouse, and was feeling pretty lucky about it as I began the slow drive down the road back to the main park highway (the speed limit is either 15 mph or 20 mph). I happened to turn my head to the side and see this fanned out set of feathers. I stopped the car (nobody was in front of or behind me) and looked closer and realized I was watching a male on display. So I grabbed my camera with the 100-400mm lens (with the 1.4x extender on) on the seat beside me and proceeded to get some wonderful images of this beautiful bird, about the size of a chicken. Serendipity plays a large role in photography.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under birds, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, Canon Lens, Grand Teton National Park, National Parks, nature, Photography, Seasons, summer, telephoto lens, Travel, Wyoming

Nowhere To Grow But Up!

Some Ponderosa Pines Precarious Perch Atop A Hoodoo In Aqua Cany

During my April visit to Bryce Canyon National Park, I used my 100-400mm lens extensively to zoom in on features of the park that might otherwise be missed or, at the very least, little noticed in the broader scheme of things. Seeing all the ways the tree life adapted in order to continue growing never ceased to amaze me – especially since the process of erosion is a constant, ongoing process and what I see now may be gone thereafter.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bryce Canyon National Park, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, Canon Lens, Photography, telephoto lens, Travel, Uncategorized

Webs

Spider And Web

Whenever I feel restless and in need of some photographic therapy, I head out to the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, a little less than 20 miles from my home in southeast Texas.

This past Saturday morning, I headed out that way with the intention of getting to my favorite spot in the refuge to capture some scenery shots with the ground-hugging mist floating above the landscape.

As I drove along the refuge road, I noticed all these spider webs sparkling in the morning sunlight.

Sunlit Webs

Strung Up

Web

Naturally, I had to stop.

Of course, this meant by the time I arrived at my favorite spot, all the mist was gone.

Web

That’s ok.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Note:  capturing images of dew-dappled silken strands strung across the air from one tree/fence post / plant stem to another is a bit of a challenge with a telephoto lens.  The lens simply doesn’t want to autofocus on something that ephemeral, choosing instead to either focus beyond the web, or not at all.  I probably should have used the manual focus except my eyes just don’t focus as well as they used to and manual focus on anything other than infinity is a chore.

For the images above, the ISO ranged from 400 – 500, shutter speed ranged from 1/125 – 1/320, f-stop ranged from 5.6 – 7.1 and the focal length was 400mm.

1 Comment

Filed under Brazoria NWR, nature, Photography, telephoto lens, Texas, Wildlife Refuge

Fun With A Big Honkin’ Lens

Becky And The Lens

I’m going to be traveling to the Katmai Peninsula in Alaska later this year to photograph the brown bears (aka grizzly bears) during the salmon spawning season. You’ve seen those photos of the bears standing in the waterfalls while the fish literally jump into their open mouths, right? Well, that’s where I’m going. Needless to say, I am totally stoked (and near broke after paying for the entire trip). Which is why I will be renting (not buying) a 500mm lens to take with me.

Oh, I’ll be taking other lenses too, but that 500mm is going to be special for me. It’s 100mm longer than my 100-400mm lens, and it’s a prime. Prime lenses (aka fixed-focus lenses) on the whole, tend to be sharper than zoom lenses (not always true, but for the most part, yes). This lens that I am renting is going to be a little on the weighty size and –well – it’s gonna be a big honkin’ lens that requires a special tripod head called a gimbal head.

I figured I should perhaps get used to working with such a lens, so I went to my favorite online lens rental outfit and plunked down the money for a 3-day rental of the Canon 500mm f4L lens. Now, this is not the lens I will be taking with me on my Alaska trip. That lens will be the Mk II version of this lens. However, even the rental price for the Mk II version for a 3-day jaunt was more than I wanted to spend at this particular point in time – I’d just paid for my Alaska trip, including airfare – which is why I also did not opt for renting the 600mm lens. Instead, I stuck with the original version of the 500 (which has since been discontinued but you can still rent it).

I wish now I would have measured the lens (with its lens hood) so I could add this to the description, but I was so excited when I received the rental package that I never once thought about anything other than attaching it to the gimbal head and taking it out for a spin.

What’s a gimbal head? Well, it’s a tripod head (just like a ballhead or a panhead) that screws onto your tripod legs. A gimbal head not only accepts the weight of a large and heavy camera/lens combo, but it allows one to move such a combo up and down and around with the lightest of movements. The thing about a gimbal head, though, is that – unlike a ballhead, which allows you to move your camera over all angles in order to get a level position even if the tripod legs are not level – you must get that tripod level to begin with, because the gimbal head itself is not moveable like a ballhead. Oh, I can pan the camera up and down and left and right, but I can’t make the minute sideways or oblique adjustments to get it level on a gimbal if the tripod legs are not already level. You’ll see what I mean from the following photos.

Yeah, so did I mention that the lens is heavy? It weighs 8.5 lbs. I attached it to my Canon 1-DX which weighs about 3.5 lbs. This combination is far too heavy to carry around my neck while walking along a path, so I did what I have seen other photographers do. I carried this combo on the tripod, which I hefted over my shoulder.

Becky Hefting The Lens

Carrying The Tripod

Yeah, I’m smiling for the camera in these photos.  In reality, the only time I was smiling while carrying this behemoth setup was inwardly at all the neat photos I planned on capturing.

After my three days were up, I noticed that my left shoulder and arm had quite a number of bruises on them, which were from traipsing around with this setup. I was also pretty sore from the shoulders down to the waist (I am 5’2” and not a bodybuilder). The weight issue was so worth it, though. So how am I going to be packing this for my Alaska trip? That will be a blog post for the future.

I probably would have never rented this lens for the three days except that I live so close to Brazos Bend State Park and the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. So, guess what kind of images I captured?

Bird On A Wire CROP

Bird on a wire.  Looks like a red-tailed hawk.  Maybe  juvenile.  Not sure.

Black Bellied Whistling Ducks and American Coots

Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks and American Coots

Killdeer On The Road

Killdeer

Little Yellow Mystery Bird

A Meadowlark, I think…

Turtle

Turtle

Sunning

Sunning.  The day before, there were several alligators near each other and their mouths were open and they were emitting this deep, reverberating rumbling noise to warn each other off. They also rumbled whenever a big bird got too close, and they always rumble whenever a human gets too close.  In this image, though, this guy’s mouth was open to help regulate its temperature (yes, alligators do that).  Apparently, those three reptiles were in accord for the moment.

Lets Rumble

Now this alligator was definitely rumbling at the other alligators.  And it’s the kind of rumble that you can hear quite a distance away, yet it sounds like it’s right next to you.   A bit unnerving unless one is standing high above the gator that is doing the rumbling.

Tree Shrooms

Tree ‘shrooms

Yawn

A yellow-crowned night heron yawning (well, that’s what it appeared to be doing since it wasn’t making any noise when it opened its beak).

Crawfish Lunch

An egret and a crawfish lunch.

Light Snack For A Little Blue Heron

A little blue heron with a crawfish almost as large as the bird!

The local “lunch stop” that is catty-corner to the observation tower on 40-Acre Lake in Brazos Bend State Park is a plethora of different birds.  Egrets and herons are quiet and stealthy and then suddenly, they lunge into the water and bring out some morsel of food.

Three Ibis And A Frog

Three ibis and a frog.  Ibis are not stealthy like egrets and herons.  They constantly move about the water as they poke their long beaks around in the water until they find something – like this frog (Nature:  eat or be eaten).  I was tickled with this image not only because of the frog catch, but also because I have a white ibis in three stages of feather pattern.  The ibis on the far left is a juvenile.  The ibis with the frog is in its summer moult, and the ibis on the right is an adult.

Quite A Mouthful

Quite a mouthful.  This crawfish was ready to do battle with the ibis.

Grebe

Grebe

Grebes

Harbinger

Redbird

Cardinals – harbingers of spring.  My mother calls them “redbirds”.

Walking Away From Me

The only great blue heron I saw that day…..walking away from me….

Blowing In The Breeze

Jeweled Webbery

Natures Jewelry

Web In The Wind

Natures Jewelry

Natures jewelry:  raindrop bedecked orb weaver’s webs gently blowing in the wind.  I saw lots of these on the road leaving Brazos Bend State Park.

After processing the images from this lens, I must say I am impressed with the resolution quality. No, I don’t think the 500mm f4L original version is quite as sharp as, say, my 70-200mm f2.8L Mk II, but it’s pretty sweet nonetheless. And, if I am this impressed with the original version of this lens, I can only imagine how it will be with the Mk II version that I’ll be taking with me to Alaska.

Becky And The Lens_U9A9764-2

8 Comments

Filed under Brazoria NWR, Brazos Bend State Park, Equipment, Photography, telephoto lens, Wildlife Refuge

A Telephoto Landscape, Arches National Park, UT

199  La Sal Mountains Telephoto Landscape

I know this is a sort of cop-out, but in lieu of a full-blown blog post (which I am working on regarding flash photography), I wanted to post the link to my latest article in the Photography in the Parks column of the National Parks Traveler website. I have noted before that I share space with another photographer. She generally has her articles posted near the end of the month while my articles are posted at the beginning of each month. Here’s the latest dealing with the use of telephoto lenses for landscapes. Check it out if you are interested.

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2013/03/photography-national-parks-use-your-telephoto-lens-those-park-landscapes22872

1 Comment

Filed under Arches National Park, Landscape, National Parks, Photography, telephoto lens, Travel and Photography