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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Same old, same old.

As you may have noticed my choice of subject has been somewhat limited recently. Limited time has meant I stuck with that that was certain. Knowing that wildlife will appear and when is better than sitting for a few hours on a whim and getting nothing, thats how I see it at the moment since I really cannot get out enough. So here, for you all, are more roe deer, my current favourite wildlife ;)

How I hate summer!

First off we get alot of sunshine in Munich, usually on my days off, with not a cloud in the sky. What the heck is a nature tog supposed to do? Stay in bed I think.
Then we have the joggers and dog walkers. Lets not forget families out on their bikes looking for completely off the road tracks which nobody but the insane photographer would want to use...and they always manage to stop for a talk and a play RIGHT behind me!
Then we have the summer residents. Ants, they bite and the bites hurt. Mosquitoes, they too bite and itch like buggery. But the big freak of the forest has to goto these guys:

yes the forests and fields around here are full of ticks. Dozens crawing on my trousers, tripod, name it, they are on it. Best to avoid the long grass they say. Er, where do the wild things live?

You got it. Roll on winter. Yes, I have had my FSME vaccination ;)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A quick heads up!

I have been using my new Markins Q20 ball head for a few weeks now and have to say I am impressed. I will not go into details like weight, height, load...etc... but just will say it is an amazing piece of engineering. Having had already heads from Benro and Manfrotto this is a class above. I can use it with the 500 f4 IS alone or with the sidekick without worry, perfect fit with my Gitzo 3540LS (review later maybe ;) )

Here is a picture, sexy or what?

7D, 500 f4, 1.4TC, sidekick and Q20

My tip: if you are travelling to USA or know someone how is, get them to bring you one back, saved me 150€, thanks Ronny!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The long and the wide of it!

That last few days I have of course been out with my tele and hide, and yes I have yet more roe deer images ;) I still do not have any IR shots of the badgers or foxes, I am sure they are there but my wild cameras dont seem to be seeing them.
But the fawns have been born, one can here them calling to mother while she stuffs herself with clover in the field. I must get some shots of them, simply must.

I also had time to test the Samyang/Walimex 14mm f2.8 lens this weekend. I bought it initially to use on the 7D for videos requiring more than the 17mm I already have. The lens is impressively built and the apperture dial feels solid and clicks into place without force. It is a sharp lens and produces some stunning images. Of course though all this comes at a cheap price, which is the only bug bear. No auto focus, none, zero, nadda. This is a problem as I really am no good at MFing and I really dont want to change focus screens. I figured for video it would not be a problem, but of course I usually AF before starting any video shooting....a no go for me. So the lens went back but should they stick an AF motor on it, even the most basic of motors, it will be a worthy purchase. Here is a shot at 2.8 on the 5D. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

The closeup

Having had no time these last few days to get out on an evening I decided to sort out the shots I took last time out. The details captured by the 7D at ISO400 stunned me once again. I decided, as I had no closeup, to crop one of the shots, see how it came out. This is around 50% cropped, so still 2500px on the long side. I am impressed, I do hope in Africa I need not use ISO800 as less than that you have seriously brilliant IQ.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The best best camera for wildlife?

I have used both the 1DIII and the 7D for some time now, the 7D for well over a year. When I bought the 1D I was looking for reliability, durability and speed. The high ISO performance is a bonus but the low res sensor is not. The 7D on the other hand is just a details machine. Used within its limits, which for me would be ISO800, it just exudes details. At ISO400 you get an almost perfect capture which can be printed HUGE.

BUT the 1D has that speed and smooth IQ, less noise = more detail, it is great but even the shots at ISO100 only go so far, 10MP is an A3 print, not much more. Cropping any shot from the 1D would require some upscaling in order to sell stock, which I am working on doing. From the 7D I can crop around 8MP and still upload it to Alamy. Quite useful espcially as I already have the 1.6x crop factor compared to the 1DIII's 1.3x.

BUT the 7D cannot AF at f8, but does it need to as I already have the 1.6x Crop factor and can use a 1.4TC with my 500mm. Giving 1120mm at f5.6. The 1DIII with a 2xTC Gives me 1300mm F8, but only 10MP! Bugger. Means I can shoot the 7D at f5.6 and shave off some pixels fromaround the edges and get the same result.

So what I really need is a 1DmkIV! Gives me more pixels to shave from, gives me the build and speed. I get high ISO capabilities so far unknown to Canon bodies.....but....I shoot alot of timid, we are talking scoot at the slightest noise, wildlife and the 7Ds shutter is like silk. The 1D shutter noise in comparison is like a, well, cannon.

7D, 700mm

1DIII, 1000mm

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sacred few hours

Despite a sick daughter I managed to get out for a few hours on Sunday night, I was desperate to, the cloud cover and heavy showers meant no damn heat haze. So, positioned at a different edge I was ready to catch those wiley roe deer nipping out of the trees. well, that was the plan. What actually happened is they appeared from behind me and took huge notice of the strange square tree which had appeared. Had they come out as usual on the left the hide would have been shaded by the tree behind....not to be. But despite that little hiccup they did not run, simply kept a weary eye on me., but unfortunatley stayed at 90° to my hide. So out with the angle finder and forget all that stuff you read about long lens technique, resting your arm on the lens while shooting to avoid vibrations does not work at 90° :-| But there was sufficient light, and a wonderful lack of SUNSHINE and none of the usual dead grass in my shots!

7D, 500f4, 1.4TC, f6.3, ISO400

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Macro, well almost.

Finding myself bird and mammal less during a bike ride in the forest I went searching for snakes. Non of which hang around very long once they hear me coming. But I did notice some frogs in a small pool which is part of a larger bog area. I will visit again in due course as I spotted a fair few grass snakes, lizards and of course frogs. 

Of course, being the all round pro that I am, I do not own a macro lens. So made do with my 500 f4 IS, 1.4TC and an small extension tube. Hardly portable but did the job.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Location, location, locate.

So having those days free, as previously explained, I also used my time to find the best possible spots for wildlife in the local forest. At around 8pm I would cycle around and try to find THE spot. Eventually I settled for a quiet corner in a field left unploughed. Clover and rich green grass bring in the deer and hares far more effectively than the crops, presumably as the wild greens are more nutritious.

So I spent a few nights sat waiting, glad I did too as the wildlife got quite close. 

7D, 500 f4, f5.0

7D, 700mm, f5.6

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Uphill struggle

Having had the entire weekend and two days extra I expected to be processing masses of deer, hare and badger shots. Oh how the mighty fall. Having sat through thunder storms and given up on the brightest days ever I came home with practically nothing.
On top of everything my badgers have moved home. Having not visited the set for three weeks I returned to retrieve my stealth cam only to find shots of deer and crows. Gutted.
Eventually in the dying minutes of the day yesterday I did see at least one deer, not sure how long he will visit the field, hunting season opened on Sunday. So here is my four days of hard work, looking, feeding and stalking.