Seeing the sights!



  • I get to see lots of beautiful country and neat sights. Snapped a few pics with the DSLR the last few weeks.

    Came across this brand new pronghorn while heading across the town. Mom had it hid real well down in a little washout. I don't think it appreciated getting rousted out by the ranger. It stayed put until I was about 5 yards away. I had no clue it was there. If it would have stayed down in the hole, I likely wouldn't have even seen it. Cutest critter on the prairie right there!
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    This goat was napping by the road. I stopped, got out, took some pics of him snoozing. I couldn't see much for size, so I got back in and slammed the ranger door. That woke him up. I saw some hardware, so I got back out for some more pics. Nice goat. He needs another year at least, preferably two before he would become a real shooter... but that won't stop some idiot from shooting him this fall if he keeps napping next to the road like this.
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    The prickly pear bloom is always cool to see. This year they really sprouted. Whole patches of yellow flowers! I've yet to come across a barrel cactus in bloom. It's not too late though!
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    Then of course there are the prairie dogs. Surprisingly difficult to get close enough for a good pic. I need a more powerful lens! Can you count all the critters!?!
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    Pretty typical sight to see here. Mama with 6 little ones all checking me out.
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    This is about as tiny as they get if they are above ground. No bigger than a striped gopher.
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  • @orkan I am still trying to figure out the difference between a telephoto and a zoom lens. I just can't grasp what I really want or need for good shots with the camera at longer ranges. Like you say you just can't get close enough to some critters for a good shot and they don't hardly ever cooperate. We use the cheaper zoom lens that came with our Rebel and I bought a better lens with a 2x converter but I didn't know what I was doing when I got it and it's not really much better for longer shots but for close up on the tripod you can really tell the difference. Some of these lenses get so big and heavy I'm not sure they are worth the trouble or if I can use them in a situation where you only have a few seconds to get on the subject. There is a professional photographer here that holds classes and would be worth attending them than buying hardware I don't know how to use. Just like shooting, somebody told me you don't necessarily get accuracy in a box. I'm a firm believer of that.



  • I've come to really like photography. Obviously the marketing efforts of Primal Rights have benefited, and I do enjoy that a great many of my skills with a rifle cross over to skills with a camera.

    I can say there are about three really important things that allow even a novice to be proficient with photography.

    1 - Gear
    Just like with a rifle, you need to have the good stuff if you expect to get high quality pics. You can have the best camera body in the world, with a crappy lens, and you're going to get a crappy pic. Just as with rifles, there are surprisingly few truly exceptional body and lens options at each price point. My stuff is mainly low to mid-range. I'm running a very dated canon T3i body, but its a good one. Those are very cheaply had these days. My lens however, no expense was spared. Canon EF 100-400mm IS II USM zoom lens. With the crop body T3i, it's as if it is a 640mm top end. With a full body like a newer pro grade canon, it would be truly representative of the 100-400mm zoom specs.

    2 - Settings
    Once you truly understand the relationship between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO... it's all down hill from there. They are all tied into each other, and have to do with lighting and motion. Most good camera bodies will have light meters, and you can usually plainly see how fast something is moving, and light is easy to observe also. In time you can get a pretty good instinct for it all. Run in manual mode only on the camera, and get these three settings correct... and you can take crazy good pictures. After that, adobe photoshop for post process and maybe lightroom if you really want to get fancy. That's it.

    3 - Framing the shot
    Learning how to present your subject is purely instinctive. Once you can properly frame shots and use lighting to its fullest effect and understand how shadows affect everything, it gets fairly mechanically simple. Yet this will always be a "talent" or an instinctive skill set rather than raw mechanics. You need to be able to see something that looks good, and then capture it correctly.

    Another item you need on the list if we're talking about wildlife photography specifically, is the ability to hunt. If you can't hunt, you can't be a wildlife photographer. Both the deer and the pronghorn below required intimate knowledge of the wind, lighting, terrain, and the animal's behavior in order to get close enough to make these shots. Being able to stalk is a skill I picked up from bowhunting. I can get close. Really close. I could have easily killed either animal with a bow.
    The hawk carrying the snake I shot out the window of my pickup. I always keep my camera ready to roll in the seat next to me, and as I was driving I saw this hawk sitting on the shoulder of the road. I figured it was eating something, so I quick grabbed the camera... checked the settings at a glance, popped off the lens cover, rolled down the window, and just then it flew. I saw it had a snake, so I put my knee on the wheel and fired off a dozen shots in a second or so as I drove by. Only two of those shots were usable... but ONE is all it takes.

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    The difference between a zoom lens and a telephoto is pretty basic. Zoom lenses have variable powers, while straight telephoto is generally referring to fixed powers. My 100-400 second generation canon is awesome. However, for some extra range I plan to get a fixed 800mm canon at some point. I just don't feel like spending that $11,000 right now. lol The zoom lenses are very forgiving and allow some real flexibility. If I were to only have one lens, it would be this 100-400. Other lenses are great for other things. I have a mid-range macro lens, a couple wide angle lenses, and some crappy kit lenses also. It all comes down to what you want to be able to do. Generally, with a good wide angle, a decent 50mm, and a good zoom lens, there isn't much you can't do.



  • Oh, I forgot to mention... be careful with the converters/magnifiers. Even the most excellent of them have a tendency to make the focal length and focus very finicky. They can often spoil a shot. The high end models tend to be a little easier to get a long with.

    @bigfoot I don't think you need to take classes. I didn't. Post your questions here and I'll try to help you along. It's all pretty basic, just like shooting a rifle.



  • @orkan The telephoto lens I have is a 200mm L series. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/129190-USA/Canon_2529A004AA_Telephoto_EF_200mm_f_2_8L.html

    And this is the extender.https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/732111-USA/Canon_4410B002_Extender_EF_2X_III.html

    The body is a T3i EOS 600D that came with a lens kit so you can hang some pricey stuff on it if you want to. I tried a real cheap tripod and pretty quick ordered a middle of the road Manfroto after the camera almost fell off the other one a couple of times.
    I have mounted the telephoto up a couple of times and usually just take the kit zoom lens when we get out on the Polaris. I also have a nifty fifty which is the plastic version that cost a fraction of what a good fifty costs and it hardly ever gets used. It's really my wife's camera but I get it and play around when she's not looking. I concentrated on using it right after we got it but I put it away and forgot everything. Thanks for the offer and I will sure hit you up for some tips.



  • I will get an extender/converter to try at some point... but the issue with them is it adds at least 2 stops to the aperture... and I generally struggle for light anyway on this T3i body. So then to counter it, you have to bump the iso up to uncomfortable levels and the shutter speed down to uncomfortable levels. I think if I had a better body it wouldn't be such an issue to use an extender.

    You should share some of your pics here.



  • @orkan When I bought the telephoto I being the dummy I am really wanted a zoom telephoto I guess you would call it. I thought the 200 and with a 2x would do what I wanted but as you know has a narrow field of view. Regardless it is a good lens but not as versatile as say your 100-400. If I looked at the right 100-400 Canon earlier they are around $2300.00 down to $1800.00. I don't have many pictures from the Canon on this computer and some were shot in RAW mode and nothing very spectacular just some pigs and maybe some scenery. My wife's got all the images on her computer of the good stuff like scissortails in flight and some ducks and lots of hawks, none with a snake though. I do have a video of an Osprey eating a fish I took with a little Sony camcorder down here on the coast. Tons of sunsets also. I tried messing with exposure trying to enhance the red colors in sunsets to some success and did some moon rises when we had the blood moon. The last moon pictures I took had annoying power lines in the way. It's surprising how fast the moon comes up and to get it against the horizon is only a few seconds so you better be ready. I will see if I have any pictures worth showing taken with the Canon. All the other pictures I post are taken with a Kodak point and shoot el cheapo.



  • @bigfoot said in Seeing the sights!:

    If I looked at the right 100-400 Canon earlier they are around $2300.00 down to $1800.00.

    Yup, thats the one. You have to watch out though, because the old model still sells for roughly the same money. The focus system is different on the old one. It's a push/pull type rather than the turn dial like on mine. The new model also has IS II (image stabilization 2) and a good fast auto focus capability. It's a really nice lens. Image stabilization is hugely important if you're going to run freehand at all. Almost all the shots above were taken freehand, unsupported.



  • That prime lens I have does not have IS but has manual override focus so you can manually focus if it's in auto focus. That comes in nicely if you are shooting through brush or through a fence or just leave it on manual focus. My wife is gradually getting away from auto focus but still insists on using the camera in Auto otherwise. It took her a while to get used to the auto focus and would trigger the lens before the focus was right. Then wonder why the shot was blurry. I swear. The cheaper lenses cant take any abuse if they are in auto if you manually focus. I guess the gears?servo are too fragile. I catch myself doing it though. I would hope a place like BH would have the newer ones but on the used market that is something to watch for, thanks.



  • @orkan said in Seeing the sights!:

    I've come to really like photography. Obviously the marketing efforts of Primal Rights have benefited, and I do enjoy that a great many of my skills with a rifle cross over to skills with a camera.

    I can say there are about three really important things that allow even a novice to be proficient with photography.

    1 - Gear
    Just like with a rifle, you need to have the good stuff if you expect to get high quality pics. You can have the best camera body in the world, with a crappy lens, and you're going to get a crappy pic. Just as with rifles, there are surprisingly few truly exceptional body and lens options at each price point. My stuff is mainly low to mid-range. I'm running a very dated canon T3i body, but its a good one. Those are very cheaply had these days. My lens however, no expense was spared. Canon EF 100-400mm IS II USM zoom lens. With the crop body T3i, it's as if it is a 640mm top end. With a full body like a newer pro grade canon, it would be truly representative of the 100-400mm zoom specs.

    2 - Settings
    Once you truly understand the relationship between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO... it's all down hill from there. They are all tied into each other, and have to do with lighting and motion. Most good camera bodies will have light meters, and you can usually plainly see how fast something is moving, and light is easy to observe also. In time you can get a pretty good instinct for it all. Run in manual mode only on the camera, and get these three settings correct... and you can take crazy good pictures. After that, adobe photoshop for post process and maybe lightroom if you really want to get fancy. That's it.

    3 - Framing the shot
    Learning how to present your subject is purely instinctive. Once you can properly frame shots and use lighting to its fullest effect and understand how shadows affect everything, it gets fairly mechanically simple. Yet this will always be a "talent" or an instinctive skill set rather than raw mechanics. You need to be able to see something that looks good, and then capture it correctly.

    Another item you need on the list if we're talking about wildlife photography specifically, is the ability to hunt. If you can't hunt, you can't be a wildlife photographer. Both the deer and the pronghorn below required intimate knowledge of the wind, lighting, terrain, and the animal's behavior in order to get close enough to make these shots. Being able to stalk is a skill I picked up from bowhunting. I can get close. Really close. I could have easily killed either animal with a bow.
    The hawk carrying the snake I shot out the window of my pickup. I always keep my camera ready to roll in the seat next to me, and as I was driving I saw this hawk sitting on the shoulder of the road. I figured it was eating something, so I quick grabbed the camera... checked the settings at a glance, popped off the lens cover, rolled down the window, and just then it flew. I saw it had a snake, so I put my knee on the wheel and fired off a dozen shots in a second or so as I drove by. Only two of those shots were usable... but ONE is all it takes.

    9hAushKh.jpg

    3S2VtFXh.jpg

    mMTYqr2h.jpg

    The difference between a zoom lens and a telephoto is pretty basic. Zoom lenses have variable powers, while straight telephoto is generally referring to fixed powers. My 100-400 second generation canon is awesome. However, for some extra range I plan to get a fixed 800mm canon at some point. I just don't feel like spending that $11,000 right now. lol The zoom lenses are very forgiving and allow some real flexibility. If I were to only have one lens, it would be this 100-400. Other lenses are great for other things. I have a mid-range macro lens, a couple wide angle lenses, and some crappy kit lenses also. It all comes down to what you want to be able to do. Generally, with a good wide angle, a decent 50mm, and a good zoom lens, there isn't much you can't do.

    Those are some amazing pics

    Thanks for sharing them.



  • Took some new toys out yesterday.

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    Not super impressive at first. ... but the twist is, these deer were approximately 400 yards away when I took these pictures.



  • That seems impressive, I don't know anything about photography though so my opinion ain't worth much.



  • @rhyno Displayed at this size, on the web... they look pretty good.

    However, they are not the super-crisp images you get from being up close with super-high end gear. So if you view the raw file at 100% resolution (these are scaled down 4x or more) you can see the lack of clarity.

    I'm experimenting with some new gear. I didn't feel like spending $13,000 on a lens right now... so I went a different direction.

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    Swarovski STX w/ 95mm objective and TLS-APO 30mm with Canon adapter.

    It has some major drawbacks... but also some big wins, such as its 70x zoom capability. That's roughly equivalent to a 2100mm camera lens. :) The 800mm Canon lens is extremely expensive, and being a prime, has no zoom feature. Fixed FOV ends up being very rigid in terms of frame composition. Some big drawbacks of the swaro is the lack of adjustable f-stop, leaving you with only iso and shutter speed to build a shot. That can be pretty rough, especially with a crop body like the T3i I'm using. They just don't deal well with low light. The crop body however, does give the perceived increase in magnification to about 1.6x, bringing the effective camera zoom equivalent to an astonishing 3,360mm. That is crazy zoom. The lack of auto-focus stinks, but the lack of image stabilization in the lens is a huge drawback. With my canon IS II lenses I can free-hand easily. No such thing as free hand with this setup. Getting the focus set correctly and the entire setup locked down rigidly is a major pain. Whatever you are photographing better be hanging around for a good long while... because it takes forever to dial in settings, focus, and steady for a shot. The camera's onboard timer is the only way to go... needing a minimum of 2 second delay to poke the shutter button and hands off for the shot. The tiniest little breeze hitting the setup will cause it to shudder and create blurry pics.

    All together, it's extremely unforgiving and requires significant photography knowledge... but the zoom. There's no denying how awesome it is to be able to see this far. I can easily pick out antelope over 3000 yards away, and I can discern if any are bucks... AND can somewhat tell whether they are quality bucks or not. That is just outstanding.

    This prairie dog was about 125yds away when this shot was taken.

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    If Canon comes out with a 400-800mm, or some big zoom variable like that... I might be swayed. Until then, I'll have fun with this setup.



  • Can you view the shot "live" on that camera body? I guess that is what you call it where the screen displays what you have focused in the lens. That way you don't have to be looking through the eyepiece. I bought a remote trigger for the shutter but never have used it that might work to keep from jiggling the camera for the shutter release. I have tried ours using the delay and I think I programmed a multi shot in as well for no hands use. When I rig up the 200mm lens I have and the extender free hand shooting is almost impossible and even on a tripod it wiggles and no stabilization but I do have auto focus. Sure don't have a zoom of 3,360mm though. Wow, you need that thing on a turret of some kind. My brother in law made fixtures for huge digital cameras for a photographer in New York one time at his shop. He said some of the equipment this guy used was massive.



  • @bigfoot said in Seeing the sights!:

    Can you view the shot "live" on that camera body?

    Yup... that's the preferred method. Then you can use the focus assist magnifier to get dialed in.



  • @orkan So, you focus with the spotting scope? Kind of like digiscoping on a rifle.



  • I think the remote just plugs into a receptacle. I have it in our gadget bag.



  • @bigfoot said in Seeing the sights!:

    @orkan So, you focus with the spotting scope? Kind of like digiscoping on a rifle.

    Yes, the focus and magnification is done on the spotter, manually.

    @bigfoot said in Seeing the sights!:

    I think the remote just plugs into a receptacle. I have it in our gadget bag.

    Some plug in using a cable, while other bodies have a wireless trigger.



  • Gonna be tough in the wind. Need a camera blind.



  • This herd of antelope was 1600yds away. Verified range with my Vectronix.

    Pretty sad state of affairs when a buck that small can round up that many doe to mate. Just inside of 30 to that herd. People really need to stop shooting any little thing with horns and let these goats get some size to them. I'd be fine if the state just granted no buck tags for about 3 years. Then everyone gets to shoot a big goat... and some get to shoot a monster.

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    Wind blowing 30-40mph today... so getting these pics was a chore. Still super cool to be able to get a real good look at something this far away.

    Short video:



  • Some sharptail grouse (at least that's what I think they are) behind the house tonight.

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