Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Better to See You With, My Dear!

I know I said the next blog would be about a spruce grouse, but I have to interrupt that blog series (which is nearly done, darn it!) because I got me a new "toy".

I have suffered for years with cheap camera equipment, and let me tell you, you get what you pay for. I did have a nice pro-series 70-200mm for my Canon, but it didn't get me close enough to my subjects (birds) and was too slow of a lens to add an extender to. Too much info, perhaps, but what it means is that I couldn't get decent bird shots unless I was just about on top of them.

Well, after a really good show last week where I sold three original pieces, I decided it was time to invest in a good lens. So I ordered a 300mm f4 with a 1.4x extender, which makes it a 420mm f5.6--lots of jargon for some of you I know, but what it comes down to is the ability to take really good telephoto shots. It was delivered today, and of course my first target was our chickens.

Fancy, our "Easter egger".

I eventually moved out to the balcony and stood in one corner, camera on a monopod, and started shooting birds in the late afternoon sun.

White-breasted nuthatch, looking rather ragged.

Female house finch.

Chipping sparrow.

A downy woodpecker landed on the suet feeder right next to me, and though I wasn't more than five feet away I could still focus on her. This is not cropped. To be able to get images with such clarity is absolutely vital to an artist who does work with such a high level of detail as I do.

One of the things that had frustrated me up to now was my inability to get good hummingbird shots. But with this new lens and a nice sunny day, I had no trouble at all. I stood next to the house, and with the shed doors in the distance providing a perfect backdrop, I stood quietly and shot as these tiny birds came to our feeder.

This is my favorite--it looks like a stand-off between the bird and the ant.

The male hummer, who takes up his post in the crab apple just off the balcony, put on a show too.

What attitude!

Yee haw!

Remember, you can click on any of these images to get a larger version. Enjoy!!


  1. holy freaking COW! This lens rocks out. I am blown.

  2. Ye gods --- great photos/awesome lens. [runs off to check prices]