I was in Tokyo this past week for some new work and was able to do some shooting during the weekend. Fortunately, I came across a couple trees that were in bloom with what I think are plum blossoms. An added bonus was all the birds that were flying and jumping around these trees sucking the nectar. When I saw this I stopped, pulled my camera out and changed to my Olympus 14-150mm 4.0-5.6 lens. I started taking pictures from about 50 feet away with the lens all the way to 150mm, but the birds were still too small. I started easing my way toward the trees, but all the birds took off to another tree. I continued to ease closer and then just stood there with my camera at eye level waiting for the birds to come back. After about 10 minutes they would slowly come back. Again, I kept the lens all the way at 150mm the whole time and started shooting with high speed continuous shooting to get several shots of the birds and catch the right one. I spent about an hour just hanging around this one tree waiting and trying to follow these birds who were jumping around very fast. This was a fun and difficult challenge and look forward to doing more of this type of shooting.
I had some free time this past Sunday afternoon so I decided to try something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I headed to one of the marshlands nearby and tried to do some telephoto wildlife photography. First off, I do not have the right equipment to do this properly. I will get there before too long, but I did have an old Nikon mount Tokina 80-400mm lens adapted to fit on my Olympus OM-D EM-5 that I had to manually focus and manually set the aperture. Not an easy thing to do for wildlife photography, but I tried to put myself in the mindset of the photographers of yesteryear and do my best with what I had. Fortunately, the birds I was photographing, weren't moving around too much so I was able to setup on the tripod, focus and get some shots off. There were about 11 Great White Egrets in the marsh, but I spent most my time focusing on just one that was nearby. One of the challenges of this marsh area is that it is fenced off so, without breaking the rules and disturbing the habitat, you have to stay outside the fenced area. This one egret that you will see in the photo above and in the gallery below spent a lot of time within range of 600-800mm lens. Later on I decided to play around with handholding and taking some photos of some other birds in the area. Catching a flying hawk or a running bird is virtually impossible with a manual focused lens. Out of many, many shots I did get one that was only "adequate". I went ahead and created a gallery of the images from this excursion below.
I had bypassed this photo during my first time going through the photos from this location last summer. Recently as I was doing a quick scull through my library I came across this photo again and decided to take another look at it. I worked on this in Lightroom enhancing the setting sun color in the sky and slightly increasing the exposure of the bird to stand out a little more. A little contrast and clarity and it was done.
First off I don't have much experience with wildlife photography but I couldn't pass up this opportunity. While my wife and I were walking around Three Lakes Park near Richmond, Virginia we came across this Blue Heron just sitting on this log. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me so we just continued on our way. As we were coming near the parking lot, we decided we would like to walk a little longer so I headed over to the parking lot grabbed my camera with the 150mm lens and headed back to the location where we first spotted this bird. Fortunately, it was still there.
I've been wanting a telephoto lens for awhile now, but I held off because my shooting style lends itself to more wide angle lenses. Today's photo is a case for a good telephoto. I saw this bird with a small crab in its beak and I really wanted to capture it with the ocean in the background. Now, you're looking at this and perhaps saying, "Dave, you got a decent shot of the bird with its dinner, why are you getting so caught up on the telephoto lens?" The problem with this shot is it is extremely cropped. I used my 24-105 4.0 lens to get this photo and the bird was fairly cooperative in letting me carefully approach to within 10 meters or so. If I had the telephoto, I could:
1. Get a closer view of the bird and not have to crop it so much
2. Because I couldn't zoom in as far as I wanted, I couldn't get the background to blur as much as I wanted (shallow depth of field).
3. If the bird is far away, then it is very small and the camera doesn't have as much information to get a sharp focus.
Now with all that said, I stil have some time before I drop a couple grand for a solid telephoto lens, but these moments bring out the gear lust to an extreme. In the meantime, I'll just have to find a way to make these photos work.