I have three images for you today. First of all thank you for the wonderful sentiments and congratulatory greetings for our 40th anniversary. The Queen deserves all the credit for sure, but thank you Kathy for your thoughtful comment. 🙂
Jeanne and I drove to Green Island Wildlife Preserve on Saturday. I really didn’t expect to find much considering it’s still hunting season and the main area of the preserve is closed, but Jeanne hadn’t been there in over a year and wanted to go. We enjoyed the time together.
We stopped in Bellevue for Lunch and this large barge was getting ready to lock through. I’m not an expert on the locking process but South bound barges must need this little tug boat to keep them lined up to the lock. Perhaps because of strong currents but each time I’ve seen a South bound barge lock through the tug gets towards the front of the barge and pushes in a Westerly direction.
Heading home I saw this Red-tailed Hawk sitting on the power line next to the highway. I turned around and drove on the shoulder until I could get this shot. I was still pretty far away but they have a pretty wide level of sensitivity and when you reach their boundaries they’re gone.
So I kept inching up as slowly as I could but as you can see I broke his boundary line and he took off.
Just a word about the lens used for this shot. I purchased it about a year ago. I’ve had a love / hate relationship with Sigma lens for several years. There are some who say it’s just me and my lack of ability and I’ll not argue that, but there was one time that I bought 5 Sigma 500 mm lenses (not all at once) and put them through a series of tests only to determine that whatever particular combination of f-stop, shutter speed, and finger crossing that was required for a sharp image was just beyond my ability. So I would send it back (within the 30 day limit) and order another. I finally found a 500 mm that I could get pretty decent results with and so I kept it.
Then Sigma released the 150 – 600 mm “Sports” lens and I of course had to have it. I struggled with it for almost a year. I got some good shots but the ratio of keepers to throw aways was not good. I finally sold that lens to a company that buys used equipment and decided to try the Sigma 150 – 600 mm “Contemporary” version, which by the was half the price of the Sports lens. Right out of the box on the way home the day I got it I had wonderfully sharp images. I have to say that it is my favorite lens of all time and it has given me some wonderful wildlife images.
Call it the luck of the draw or that Sigma got their act together doesn’t really matter to me. I just love this lens. By the way the full name of the lens is Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens.
Okay that’s my “photography talk” for awhile. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by the blog. Enjoy your “rainy” day and be careful.
What a fun day I had yesterday.
I got a new lens this week (don’t tell Jeanne) and I wanted to try it out so I decided to go to Green Island to photograph some of the migrating birds. Sounds like a good plan but the only thing missing were the migrating birds. 😦
What I found instead were lots and lots of Canadian Geese. I don’t have to drive all the way to Green Island to find them. 🙂
It wasn’t a total loss as I did get to photograph some other species and the geese were good test material for the lens. Those who follow my blog on a regular basis know that I am a gear head. I love camera gear. I am always looking for the sharpest, longest lens I can get in my price range.
When the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports lens first came out I purchased it. It is a great lens (heavy construction weighing in at over 6 pounds.) One reviewer called it a tank and I would have to agree. It is very difficult (at least for me) to hand hold but a professional looking and feeling lens none the less. There was only one problem. I never was able to get “tack sharp” images with it. I worked at finding the right combination and tested it in lots of circumstances but never could achieve the sharpness that I wanted compared to other lenses I have. So I finally sold it. Now I should say that my good friend Andreas, who is an excellent photographer and an engineer recently purchased the Sigma Sports lens and he loves his. He has gotten wonderful results with his lens.
So after doing lots of research and reading a lot of reviews I decided to purchase the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens. It weighs in at just over 4 pounds and has an over all smaller footprint. It is not as weatherproof as the Sports version (but I don’t intend to photograph in the rain.) It is less than half the price of the Sports version and Sigma dropped the price another $150. So I decided to order it and test it for 30 days. If it didn’t meet my expectations I could send it back with no loss. I have to tell you that it not only met my expectations but has far exceeded them. It is without a doubt the sharpest long lens I have ever had. 🙂
Okay enough gear talk. I was on my way back from Green Island and when I drove past the Off Shore Restaurant I thought I would pull in to their parking lot and walk down by the river to see if there was any wildlife near the shore. When I got to the parking lot I noticed a gentleman at the far end with his SUV and it looked like he had an RC plane on the ground. Well I couldn’t resist that so I pulled in beside him and started a conversation with him. Turns out he was a really nice guy by the name of Lonnie Louvar whose hobby and passion is RC Planes. He has several and I caught him at then end of his flying session. He said he was going to make one more flight and I asked him if he would mind if I photographed it. He graciously said I could.
Talk about good practice. This P51 Mustang is much faster and smaller than an eagle. It took me a little while to get the timing down but the lens preformed beautifully. The shot above is just how it came out of the camera. I did my normal processing but there is no cropping or other modification to the image. See what I mean about being a sharp lens. 🙂
Lonn is a great guy and I’m glad I decided to stop and visit with him. You can see in the image above that he had to battle a cross wind but did a great job and made a perfect landing. He has made several videos of his flying adventures and they are worth looking at. I’ve included a couple of links here. Link #1
After leaving Bellevue I stopped at the 16th Street Basin and found lots of interesting things to photograph so I’ll show some of those at a later time. That’s it for today.
Thanks for stopping by the blog. Enjoy your day and be careful.