Taking chances

I tried out a new telephoto lens (Tamron 150-600 mm) at the Alan Murphy bird photography workshop in Alamo, Texas, and was very pleased with the results.  It’s extremely sharp, even at full 600 mm extension, especially when the camera-lens setup is secured on a tripod.  However, when zoomed all the way out, there is not much area in the frame, and it’s more likely that parts or all of the subjects will be missing from the image.  But I took a chance that at least some of the images might capture the action, and indeed there were a few notable ones.

great kiskadee-confrontations-

Here’s the shot I captured with the new Tamron lens at 600 mm of two Great Kiskadees jockeying for position on the stump feeder.  This was an almost full frame image (very little crop), meaning I could crop more tightly and still get good resolution.


Here’s the shot I took the day before (a little cloudier morning) with the Canon 100-400 L lens at 400 mm. This image was cropped quite a lot and is much fuzzier at 100% viewing than the one from the Tamron lens.

I certainly learned a lot over the course of the three days that we photographed these birds in action, and one thing that will stick with me is to take chances by zooming all the way in to get really good close-up images.

4 thoughts on “Taking chances

  1. More wonderful images, Sue–I love them both. Were you shooting with the original version of the Tamron lens. which is the one that I use for a lot of my shooting, or the newer G2 version? I love having the extra reach that the lens provides, though it is a challenge to get it to focus sometimes when light is limited and the largest aperture available is f/6.3. I checked out the website for Alan Murphy and noted that his workshops are really popular and are run in some really cool locations.

    • It’s the original, not the G2. Getting enough light is definitely a problem, but another thing I learned from Alan was to stop worrying about high ISO and concentrate on getting a fast enough shutter speed to stop wing action. My Canon 7D can actually produce great images even at 3200 ISO. The first image above was shot at 1/4000 sec, f7.1, and ISO of 4000. Amazingly, there was very little noise in the background, and I removed it using the masking feature of Lightroom.

      I think you would love Alan’s workshops. It opens up a whole new dimension of bird photography.

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