I recently broke down and purchased longer telephoto lens. I had rented a couple for a trip to Yellowstone last fall to try out, but I wasn’t really shooting that much in Seattle that required a longer lens. However, with the recent move out to the Island, I found myself doing more bird and wildlife photography. Much like Sheriff Brody, after a few trips out, I thought I’m gonna need a bigger lens.
So with card in hand, I ordered up the Nikon 80-400mm f4/5-5.6 VR3 and the Nikon 1.4x teleconverter. The setup is great for getting into the action. However as with any new piece of gear it takes some getting used to. I could also hear by friend Moose Peterson telling me you gotta practice to stay sharp and skilled. No matter if you are going to hand hold, pan, tripod or whatever, you gotta practice. So I took Moose’s advice, and I got out in to the wilds of the local park and found some killer subjects. By killer, I mean that they weren’t moving at all or in the case of the mallard not that fast.
The goal of the shoots over the past few weeks has been really simple. Get something in focus while handholding the lens. I thought I would start off with subjects on the ground. Next up of course will be things in motion; but for now, I am starting to get a handle on the new lens. It has been on the only lens on the D700 body for a few weeks now and the more practice the better things get. I know that all the time with the ducks and gulls will pay off when the action and subjects get more interesting.
In the interest of disclosure, the hawk is out the car window because it was cold (I forgot my coat) and I used the window to help brace the 1/160 shutter speed. At the end of the day light falls fast, but I was still happy with the focus and will be shooting from the car again I am sure.