Friday, November 27, 2015

Good News and Bad News

The good news is the eagles have finally started showing up at the lake.

The bad news is, as usual, they are very uncooperative when it comes to being photographed. They seem to like to stay on the other side of the water no matter which side I choose.

Maybe I should get the underwater gear out and tie a fish to my head!

These are really bad photos but I was happy to see the eagles so I posted them anyway.

The first shot is a full frame, un-cropped shot using the Nikon 200-500mm lens with a 1.4 x tele-converter. Even shooting at 700mm I was still way to far away to get a good photo.

The last two shots are cropped a lot just so you can tell it's an eagle.

These were all shot handheld while it was cloudy and just about to rain.

I will be heading back to this spot next week with the 600mm "bazooka lens and tripod in an attempt to get some better photos.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know these should be photos of turkeys but I couldn't find my turkey photos.

These are some repeats from a couple of years ago but I wanted to post some fall color photos and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for visiting our blog!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Using the VR

As I was leaving work last night I noticed an almost full moon in the sky so I grabbed my camera and took a shot through the trees using the new Nikon 200-500mm lens. 

This was shot handheld just to see what the VR  (vibration reduction) would do for me and I have to say, I'm pretty impressed.  

Let's see you do that with a cell phone! LOL

For the technical minded, this was taken at f8 and ISO 400, 1/100 sec. using a Nikon D3s.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Water on the lens

Once again work has kept me from taking any new photos or even posting any old ones to the blog. 

I took a few minutes to dig through some old Maui photos this morning to get something posted. I can't wait for the next vacation where I will spend a solid two weeks taking photos.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

This is not my new lens, still using my 10 yrs old 17-35mm f2.8.  Ron, you got to let me put my hand on your new lens.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Ducks in a swamp

I'm still playing with the new Nikon 200-500mm lens. I was driving by a swampy area and saw a bunch of ducks swimming around so I stuck the lens out the car window and took a few shots.

These were taken with the D800 and are cropped about 70 percent.

I'm still very impressed with this lens.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Tree

I'm counting down the days until Island Time again. I am in dire need of some prolonged down time to re-energize my body and soul!

This was taken about 5:00 a.m. when everybody else was asleep and not crowding the park to get their own photos. Normally during the daytime hours the park is filled with people and about 50 percent of them have cameras and are trying to get "that" shot. The other 50 percent are walking around with their dumb cell phones taking photos.

Yea, I know, I'm a camera snob but in my defense, if you are going to someplace like Hawai'i and for a lot of people it's a once in a lifetime trip, why not take photos with a real camera that can be printed on something bigger than a 4 x 6 piece of paper and enjoyed?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful...

Or big, or fast or sharp....

No, I'm not talking about me, although....

Nope, not me.

I'm talking about the new Nikon 200-500mm lens. Ever since I got rid of my Sigma 150-500mm lens I have been craving a big zoom that can get me out close to where I'm shooting with the 600mm f4 "bazooka" lens but with less weight and some hand hold-ability when necessary.

Low and behold Nikon brings out the 200-500mm f5.6 lens, just released in September. It's even "affordably" priced for a big zoom.  I just received mine this morning and took it for a quick spin before going to work. I must say, my first impressions of this lens are very good.

Shooting from 200-500mm is a pretty handy zoom range and this lens is sharp throughout the zoom. It seems the sweet spot for sharpness is f6.3 to f8 but even at f5.6 I have no complaints with how the images look. The auto-focus on the lens is fast and snappy. Some of the reviews I have read said the auto-focus was "moderate" in speed and it may be compared to a six or ten thousand dollar lens but for shooting birds in flight it worked plenty fast.

This is at 500mm with the bird being about 250 feet away. This was shot handheld, which is pretty easy to do with the new VR on the lens. Nikon says you can get four and half stops from the new vibration reduction and it seems to be just that. Since the lens only weighs five pounds it's a lot easier to tote around than the 16 pound 600mm f4.

This is Lily. She was pouting because I was playing with my new toy instead of her. This is at 500mm and handheld also. The lens is exceptionally sharp for a non-prime lens, showing all of the detail in her hair if you look closely.

Even using a Nikon 1.4x teleconverter gave surprisingly decent results. This lens isn't as sharp with the teleconverter as the 600mm prime lens is but I wouldn't expect it to be. I think if you are shooting the right subjects, something a little larger like a deer, elk or whales you could use the teleconverter and get good results.

This duck was shot handheld at 700mm using the 1.4x teleconverter. My D3s even auto-focused with the teleconverter and the auto-focus didn't seem to loose any speed with the teleconverter on the lens.

So far I have only found two draw backs to the lens. The first is the lens "case" that it comes with. This is a cheap cloth bag that wouldn't protect the lens from anything except a little dust.

The other drawback I have found is the zoom itself. If you are at 200mm and want to go to 500mm it takes a 180 degree rotation of the zoom ring to get there. This isn't a big thing but if you are wanting to zoom fast you have to have that in your mind so you can grab the lens in the right spot to make the zoom all in one move.

I'll be buying a separate case for the lens which solves one problem. The zoom I will get used to eventually so that problem will solve itself.

Hopefully I can get out this week and do some more testing with this lens. I'll post some more photos when I get them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Changing Leaves

We haven't had any rain to speak of the last couple of months so our fall colors didn't really pop this year. We had a few colors here and there but for the most part, everything just went from green to brown.

I did get some nice bright orange colors when I put the leaves in a pile and set them on fire!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunset in Black & White

Black and white isn't something you would usually use for a sunset but I thought I'd be different today. 

Okay, you got me, I'm a little different every day but I thought I would be different with my photo.

This is the sun as it was setting on the island of Lana'i, Hawaii.