Thursday, January 31, 2013

First signs of spring!


Found these snow drops poking their heads out of the moss today! Though it's been wet and grey around here lately the weather's also been quite mild. Got up to 50° today.

Shooting 700mm with the Sigma 150-500mm lens


Yes, you read the title correctly. I took Paul's advice last summer and bought a 1.4x teleconverter for the Sigma lens just to see what it would do. I have to admit that the results were less than spectacular. Keep in mind that these whales were waaaaay out there but even factoring that in I still wasn't that happy with the photos.

This first shot is an uncropped version so you can see the actual results. The lens shoots a lot darker and less crisp than a Nikon prime or even just the Sigma 150-500mm by itself. It also vignettes some in the corners and the colors weren't true to the scene. This photo was shot at f10 during the middle of the afternoon with full Hawaiian sun and I even brightened it up a little in photoshop. Even at f10 the background isn't clear and you don't get a clean, crisp photo.

The next photo is the same image cropped at 50% and the photo after that is another shot from the same distance and also cropped 50%.



As a comparison, here is a shot taken on the same day with the Nikon 28-300mm lens at f8. The whale in these shots was at about the same distance as the shots with the Sigma and teleconverter give or take 50 feet or so. The first shot is an uncropped version and the 2nd shot is the same photo but cropped 50%.



All in all I can say that if you have to have a photo and need to really reach out there the Sigma 1.4x teleconverter will do the job but your not going to get National Geographic qulaity photos with the combination. The only other negative I found was that you can't auto-focus with the teleconverter on the Sigma. That wouldn't be a problem if you are shooting a subject that is stationary for a few seconds or more at a time but when it comes to shooting whales, you never know when they are going to pop up or where so I had to just set the focus at a distance I thought one would jump at and hope for the best.

Next trip to Hawaii I hope to have a Nikon prime lens to replace the Sigma with.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Buffalo in Action

Tails High!

These two guys popped from the gate on high alert! Holding their tails high was the signal they were ready to charge and attack!


Your In My Sights!

Ron and I were sure glad for that iron pipe fence we were standing behind! These boys had dropped their tails and were charging straight as an arrow for us!


Raising Dust!

Digging their hooves into the ground as they run, sure stirred up the grass and dirt!


Turning On A Dime!

Able to stop and turn on a dime while giving you nine cents change was no problem for these two. Guess they just did not want to tangle with the photographers!


Strapping Youngsters

These American Bison are growing up to make fine looking specimens of their kind!

Guess what?

More buffalo pics for next post.


I got nuthing...




Looking for some pictures to post last night but have pretty much posted my most recent pictures... Last week or so has been mild but "socked in" with low marine clouds and drizzle. Not that I'm complaining, you don't have to shovel this stuff!

I'm thinking I might have to take one for the "Shutterbugs team" and go to Hawaii in the near future just to get a few nice pictures to post here. A completely selfless act on my part of course... Ha ha!

Searching for breakfast




I was sitting on the lanai one morning having coffee, a daily ritual while on vacation in paradise, and I saw this bird flying around trying to pluck something to eat out of the ocean. It was still a little dark but I put the Nikon 28-300mm lens on the camera and took a few photos. These were shot at 300mm with an ISO of 400.

And before you ask, I don't have a bird book so I have no idea what kind of bird this is. LOL

UPDATE:

Tex forced me to find out what this bird was so you can blame this on her. LOL

This is a Hawaiian Brown Noddy or Noio Kōhā. It is considered indigenous to Hawaii and there are five sub-species of the brown noddy. The brown noddy is part of the tern family.

There you go, that's your Hawaiian lesson for the day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sunrise on Moloka'i


I took this photo just as the sun got high enough over the mountain to light Moloka'i but leave the ocean in still in the shadows. It had rained about an hour earlier and the sky had started to clear over us and Moloka'i.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Buffalo For Sale

Eye to Eye

Finally got the opportunity to get up close and in the face of a Buffalo. Even close enough to smell it's musty breath. Why, I could have even reached through the pipe fence and gave him a pat on his woolly head! But that wouldn't have been a good idea. Messing with these guys would have been like playing with a short fused stick of dynamite that was lit. You might draw back a stub! Best keep your hands outside the pen and to yourself!


Between The Lines

Released from the solid tan gate behind them, they would bust into the sale area and make a beeline run to the other end. Thinking they had found a way out to freedom, all they found were a couple of picture takers  with shutters clicking away from the safe side of the fence. Perched on one knee, the photographers had found a good place to capture the action from the buffalo blasting down the alley!


Ron-John-Mark                                                     
Good Hands to Make Camp With!

It seems it always turns cold on the day of the Buffalo Auction that is annually held at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Last years October 25th, 2012 proved to do the same. We accused Ron&Cheryl of bringing the cold weather down with them from Kansas! The crew above with their wives and a friend were there to take in the event. I was camped out in the Refuge by myself.

Around a hundred and fifty buffalo went through the sale. The first two were four year old males in their prime and brought Four thousand bucks apiece! Tidy sum I'd say! The others of various genders,ages, and size did not bring as much but I heard the gavel fall at a thousand to fourteen hundred quite often. The Fish&Wildlife folks seemed happy that the surplus animals sold so well! We were all happy that we finally got to attend this event and share the experience that was planned!

Will have more action shots of the Buffalo in my next posts! 





Hawaiian Sunset in HDR


I took five bracketed shots for an HDR image just to see what would happen. The clouds usually move more than I like but on this shot they were very still so it didn't come out too bad.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunny's Lion routine


Sunny and Buster were taking turns doing the "you can't see me until I jump up and attack you" game. I took this picture just as Sunny launched at Buster. Wish I had this much energy!

Can you hear the theme to Jaws in your head?


We didn't run into any sharks while we were in Hawaii but the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this swimmer was the them song to the Jaws movie. I had to take a photo just because of that. I guess I just have a weird sense of humor.

Even though we didn't see any sharks this trip there was a shark attack on Maui just a couple of months before we were there so I was looking around quite a bit while in the water.

Since there were no sharks you will just have to be happy with another green sea turtle that came swimming by one day. This one was in much clearer water.







Saturday, January 26, 2013

Is Parker, Q, Aaron or Ron with you?


No? Well then I'm not going to pose for you till they get here!

On the beach with "Cheryl's" P7700


Yea, yea, yea, I'll let her have the Nikon P7700. (as soon as I buy a D800!)

This first shot she took on Ka'anapali Beach on Maui one night when we were going to dinner at the Hula Grill. A place I would highly recommend for lunch or dinner. Just skip the mai tai's, they make them a lot better at Kimo's in Lahaina.


This is another sunset photo she took on Kulanaokalai Beach south of Lahaina.


And then there is me, well, me taking a photo of my camera, just waiting for the sun to go down to where I want it. I practically had to pry the P7700 out of Cheryl's hand to take this photo!

I might mention the fact that all three photos were taken using the automatic mode on the camera. The P7700 seems to do a really good job of metering and adjusting for the depth of field.

Q was kind enough to re-work one of my photos and once again teach me something new. This is the revised version of the last photo and I must say it does look more intriguing.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Going to "School"




Just some random tropical fish I ran across on a reef near Lahaina on Maui.

BOOOOOOM!


I can't wait until next Summer to catch some more of these lighting storms.  The first photo are from Kauai, and bottom one are from near my house.  The exposure on these shots are between 15 - 30 sec.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Margret Hunt Hill Bridge.


More Grey Heron pictures...


Sorry for all the Heron and Eagle pictures lately but there are only so many types of  birds around here where I live especially this time of year. Both of these pictures are taken with the Nikon 18-300 at  300mm, aperture at f8. This lens like so many other lenses appears to be a little sharper at f8 than wide open as evidenced in these two pictures. 


The bottom photo is a good example of what happens when you take "birds in flight" pictures at relatively slow shutter speeds (1/250), though the birds eye, the most important part is in focus. What I really needed for this shot was a higher shutter speed and the 10 pound, $9,769.00 Nikon f2.8 400mm ED VR AF to get all this fellows feathers frozen. Ha ha!

A Big Honkin' Honu


Translation; A very large Hawaiian sea turtle

So there I was, sitting on the lanai one morning having coffee and watching the sun's rays peak over the volcano when this turtle came into view. That in itself wasn't that big of a deal because the turtles come in almost every morning to feed on the reefs. They normally are around for a few minutes and then move on to greener pastures or in this case, greener reefs however, this turtle decided to stick around a while and taunt me.

The turtle started on the far reef, about 50 feet off shore and then moved in to the closer reef, about 10 feet off shore and stayed there. The tide was exceptially high this morning, two and a half feet higher than normal according to the weather forecast and the waves were pretty rough. I watched the turtle for more than twenty minutes as he worked along the close reef, occasionally raising his head out of the water to laugh at me. OK, he MIGHT have just been getting air but I would swear I saw him grinning.

I knew that because of the high tide and heavy waves the water would be murky but I couldn't take it any longer. I came to Hawaii with a mission of getting some more turtle shots and I was tired of watching him laugh at me, he was, I know he was, so I grabbed my gear and headed for the water.

Just to give you an idea of how big this turtle was, these shots were taken with a 24mm wide angle lense and have not been cropped. In the top photo I was about 4 feet away from the honu and I guess-timate (it's a Kansas word Tex LOL) he was about 4.5 feet long from head to tail.

I was about six feet away in this second photo.


Of course Cheryl was sitting on the lanai with the P7700 watching me get pounded by the waves while chasing my photographic mission.


She did afterall already have her turtle, complete with "aloha" written on the shell.