Here's an update on my last 3 weeks of photography. Enjoy.

A trip to Keyhaven Marshes

We took a trip to Keyhaven the other week, and I took the Canon 1.4 Mk III extender along to help with some shots. I've had the 1.4 extender for a while now, but not really used it much in anger. This was a good opportunity to try it out. On the 1DX I still get all the lens features using the extender - all AF modes, image stabilisation etc. There's no real reason not to use it.

My set up for shooting was:

Canon 1DX II body

Canon EF100-400 f/4-5.6L IS II USM lens

Canon 1.4 Mk III extender

The light was good and nothing was moving that quick so I could shoot at speeds of up to 1/3000 of a second. ISO was set between 150 and 1,600 depending on could cover/sunlight.

I took a number of shots, using the extender to make up for the fact a number of birds were well away in the distance. Sadly, if I was to be truthful, at substantial range, the shots came out a little soft in their focus when zoomed in.

See the example shot of this heron below. On the left is the full size photograph, while on the right is the 1:1 zoom screen grabbed from Lightroom. As you can see from the 1:1 zoom, the image sharpness drops away. Sure this won't be a deal breaker, but if you're shooting full frame and are looking to close crop your photo, then you will suffer a sharpness issue.

Long range comparison

But on the flip side, close to mid range shots came out fine, with just a few tweaks needed in Lightroom (sharpening, maybe a touch of clarity too.). As you can see from the shots below, they came out okay, even the egret who was moving at pace while it hunted. 

From l-r:

Ruddy turnstone shot at 560mm, 1/1000 second, ISO 500  at f/8.0

Curlew shot at 560mm,  1/1600 of a second, ISO 1250 at f/8.0

Egret shot at 560mm, 1/3200 of a second, ISO 800 at f/8.0.

So what did I learn from using the 1.4 extender? Basically if shooting at long range don't expect shots to be in ultra sharp focus when close cropping the image, but for mid to close range shots things will be okay. I'll continue to use it but only for those 'must be closer' shots when I'm not too fussy about detail.

Another 'out of my comfort zone' moment

So I spent the August bank holiday weekend volunteering my photography skills for work, and headed up to Aberdeen for the Great Run event there.

This time I took the following kit:

Canon 1DX II body

Canon EoS 70D body

Canon EF100-400 f/4-5.6L IS II USM lens

Canon EF18-135mm lens

This was the first time I'd used the 1DX at a sporting event and it didn't fail to impress, handling 14 frames per second with ease. This was apparent as I captured runners crossing the finishing line.

In all a great event and I was happy to photograph it. I took 2 shots shy of 1,500 shots. 37 of them I chose to publish on the site and they can be found by following this link.

A macro moment

It's not every Saturday evening a neighbour rings your front doorbell and offers you a colourful caterpillar to photograph. In this instance it was a pale tussock.

This happened to me last weekend, so I grabbed the 1DX and my Canon 100mm macro lens, and set to work.

My better half suggested placing the pale tussock on a slate placemat to contrast against its bright yellow 'fur'. It worked a treat.

I had to hand hold the camera to get these shots as it wasn't hanging around and made a bid for freedom every time I got a shot set up. But these turned out okay in the end.

Dog photography Update

I'm continuing to build a portfolio and that can be found here or by clicking the image on the right.

A couple of weeks ago I got to photograph a friends pair of shih tzu's. They were adorable to photograph and the shots came out okay. I made use of the 100-400mm lens, and the 50mm lens for some more intimate shots. I'm thinking I might need a mid-range lens too if this takes off, so I'm hunting around for a good deal on an 'L' series lens, probably 24-70mm.

Watch this space.

Remote camera trapping update

I've not been playing around with this too much, but in order to get the birds used to the new rig I'd been leaving it out in the garden with the seed tray full (see my last newsletter to see how this was made/came about).

After a few days it started to work as I noticed the seed tray was emptying. Coming home from work one night I saw a pigeon on the tray (see shot to the right) so I grabbed the EOS 600D (which I use for remote shooting in the garden, not being too bothered about what happens to it) and set up the Camtraptions PIR sensor on it.

It paid off: I got a number of shots... of a hungry pigeon who was not put off by the sound of the camera shutter.

As the light started to fade a female blackbird tried out the seed tray too, so it wasn't all pigeon related.

In all I was happy that birds were now getting used to the rig, so I can build on this and hope to get different species using it.

That's it for now. Feel free to use the Contact link at the top right of this page to pass any feedback onto me.

Until next time, take care.



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