Monday, March 1, 2010

Where is Scott Today?

Greeting from Sunny, but not as warm as it should be, Southwest Florida. Currently staying in Ft. Myers for a couple days and then hopping over to Sanibel Island. 45 degrees this morning but it did hit 70 degrees this afternoon with the bright sunshine. Like just about everywhere else in the country, it has been much colder than normal down here all winter. Of course it seems warm to me coming from a much colder climate, as I wore shorts and a t-shirt today. The locals looked they were dressed for a polar expedition and they made numerous comments about my attire.

Besides the normal R&R of a vacation for my wife, I am taking photos from sun up to sun down with a special purpose. You see I was lucky enough to be able to borrow an 800mm f 5.6 L IS lens from Canon. If you are a professional photographer and use Canon professional grade camera bodies and lenses, you can register with Canon Professional Services. This affords professionals numerous great benefits, one of which is a loaner/evaluation program. They will loan you a piece of their professional grade equipment to try out and evaluate. Well I emailed them and asked if I could try an 800mm lens while I was on this trip. I never thought they would say yes to loaning me a $12,000.00 lens. But they did! So the big gun arrived on Thursday afternoon, and my buddy Mark McAmish and I took it for a test drive on Friday morning on eagles over in Alton. It is an amazing piece of equipment. I have one of the better eagle shots here from that morning but it is a small file size so it might not look great. Plus I am working off my old HP laptop that should be in the Smithsonian for being a the most durable piece of electronic equipment I have ever had. 

There is a pretty good learning curve with this lens and I struggled with tracking birds in flight. The lens is so powerful that I could not get on birds quick enough even with setting the focus limits. But practice makes perfect right? Well I will need a lot more practice. I was able to catch these really fast moving ducks though. I saw them pretty far out and was able to get locked on. I caught this male Ahinga sitting high in the brush with a nice blue sky background.

I spent my first morning shooting at the Venice Rookery. Located in Venice, Florida   Managed by the Venice Area Audubon Society, this small rookery is an amazing place to photograph several nesting species of birds. Here is a link to their website
. If you make a trip to anywhere near this area and you like to photograph birds, this is a must stop location. The great thing is they are close enough you do not need a monster lens. (It is nice though) I was actually to close several times and the birds would be half out of the frame at times. 300-400mm of reach will do extremely well here.

This shot is a pair of young Great Blue Heron Chicks doing a little sparring while the parents were away from the nest. After the rookery shoot I stopped at an eagles nets in the North Ft.Myers area that I have shot in previous years. The eagles mate and nest sooner here and the chicks are probably only a couple weeks away from being able to leave the nest. I then went over to Cape Coral Florida and shot Burrowing Owls. It was getting cold by then and they stayed pretty far down in their burrows so nothing to brag about there. Just the fact that with an 800mm lens you can do head shot portraits on these tiny owls from 40 feet away.

Well gotta go clean the equipment and charge the camera batteries for tomorrow's shoot.

Take Care!


1 comment:

  1. I think I'm getting the hang of my iTouch more.
    Great info and shots as usual. I bet that is hard getting on a moving target with a 800mm. The flying ducks are super. My wife liked them too. That is a neat program Cannon has for loaning equipment to pros. Let me know when Cannon comes out with a camera that can interface with a GPS. I'll take a closer look and will consider trading my nikon.
    Thanks for sharing,
    ps comment posted from my iTouch