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Old Jan 8, 2005, 8:36 AM   #1
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I was driving out to the state gamelands yesterday, all mountain accesses
were closed due to the ice storm, lots of downed trees. I was driving along
and saw this group of birds take flight in this small parking area. So I
pulled the truck in and sat and waited. Several different bird species were
around but these were the only guys that stayed in one spot long enough
to get photos of.

These were shot with Drebel, 100-400L @ 200, 1/200 sec, f/5.6, manual
exposure, 420EX flash, ISO 400. Processing was ACR, Neat Image, 0.5,100%
USM, 50% crop.

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Old Jan 8, 2005, 9:06 AM   #2
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There all great. I especially like 4. The ice on the branches makes for an awesome shot.
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Old Jan 8, 2005, 9:07 AM   #3
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These are nice shots, I love the way ice glitters in the photos. I find it hard to imagine the cold while I sit here in a tee-shirt with the warm breeze coming through my front window at 10pm :-)We rarely see Ice even in winter, sometimes when it gets really cold we get Iced front windows of our cars. and once in a while it snows on the very top peaks of some mountains about 100ks from here. To have Ice in a photo would be a novelty for me.
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Old Jan 8, 2005, 7:27 PM   #4
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These look like American Tree Sparrows to me. That last photograph is super. Your background is much less cluttered as the background is more blurred out (distance helps here for sure). Even those few roundaperture bursts and the glint in the bird's eyeadd a nice flavor to this last photo. Very moody, nice job.
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Old Jan 8, 2005, 10:42 PM   #5
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Nice job Woodmiester. I too like the last one really well. did you change F stops for this one? Are you using the Better Beamer on you flash? Any idea as to you approx. range?

I've been watching work from you, Normcar, NHL and the like. It is really fun seeing your work. Have been testing my skills in the back yard and hope to share soon. Many of my pics come out pretty dark and will try flasy next. Would never have thought flash fill would be usable for this.
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Old Jan 9, 2005, 12:10 AM   #6
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Woodmeister these are absolutely superb, they are your best to me especially the last one. The ice really gave it the spark or sparkle or whatever. The ones of the purple finch were great also along with the story.-----BTW now that you've had that 100-400L for a while I want to get your opinion. You know I have some of the same equipment that you have. The Drebel and 420EX but my 135-400 Zigma is no match for your 100-400L I'm wanting to get something better. Taking the equipment that I have into consideration what would you think of getting maybe a canon IS or zigma OS zoom of say 300mm and then get some teleconverters. Or go for the one you have or either the Zigma 80-400 OS. I really want a stabilized lens. I also have an Olympus C2100UZ with 10x optical zoom and stabilization that takes very nice SHARP pics. It is a really nice little camera but its not an SLR and is only 2.1 megapixels. But then Normcar doesn't use stabilized lenses, at least he said that his 300/4 prime is not and who could ask for any better photos than he takes. I'm at a crossroad and don't know which way to go. If you have a little time I would really like to hear what you would do or think I should do. I guess I'm really hooked huh

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Old Jan 9, 2005, 7:30 AM   #7
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BTW, I just noticed a mistake in my description of shot settings. The lens was
at 400 mm and the ISO should have been 200, DUH!!!!

Thanks for all the comments. I really appreciate them. I think I'm starting
to get a better handle on using the 420EX. Need a beamer though eventually.
With the major ice storm here on Thursday, I was hoping to get some shots
with icy branches. I got lucky and at least these guys cooperated.

As for the questions:
Golfer: The settings were identical for all shots. They were all in a range
of about 15-20 feet is my guess. Maybe a little less.

Houston: I know what you mean by hooked!!! Just some general comments here:
Primes will be better than zooms in general. Even though 90% of the things
I shoot are at 400 mm, there are times when an oppurtunity presents itself
and wouldn't have the time to switch lenses, so having the zoom is nice.
This was also the reason for getting a lens with IS. Sometimes, something
will hop up on a branch, or poke its head out of a log while I would be walking along and it would be a shoot
or lose scenario. Without IS, I just lost too many of these oppurtunities to
camera shake. Just as a note here, probably 50% of my shots are hand held
and 50% are using some portion of my truck, a sturdy branch, or a log as a

That said, what direction should you take? Whether you chose a prime or
a zoom, get the best glass you can afford. Image quality starts with the lens!
This doesn't mean that you don't need good technique! It's just that it is
the first element in the data collection chain.
I got my "L" lenses because I knew they would be a lifetime investment, and
would not be a limiting factor if I got a new/better camera body.
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Old Jan 9, 2005, 1:45 PM   #8
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But then Normcar doesn't use stabilized lenses
That's quite the color choice for text, Houston. I had to highlight it to read it :-)

Just a comment on stabalized lenses. I think Woodmeister covers it very well. I don't miss IS primarily because I abide pretty closely to the inverse rule whereby the shutter speed must be equal to or higher than the length of lens. I cannot remember when I have shot with my 300mm using a shutter speed below 1/300.

However, once in every 100 or so shots I might encounter an extreme low light situation with a bird perched where IS would be the only means of getting the shot properly. Similarly, a person who shoots only prime will miss a few shots because of inability to zoom in or out quickly. I've personally found the ratio on this to be very small and choose to sacrifice occasional convenience for what I consider to be the quality advantage of the prime lens. Some will debate this advantage but I can only choose from experience. Prime lenses are sharper overall.

I have had IS and see slight advantage overall (considering price differences between IS and non) and very little advantage, if any, if high shutter speeds are the norm. I have also heard arguments from some that more elements and more complications in design (e.g. IS)make for potential loss of sharpness. This makes sense to me but I think as well that it relates more to the photophile rather than the occasional photographer. Unfortunately I have become a photophile so even the slightest advantage will be meaningful to me.

But I would still buy IS if I could afford to

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Old Jan 10, 2005, 12:50 PM   #9
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Nice one woodmeister. I also like the last one. We don't get to see ice like that, over here in bay area.

Houston - I also have the 100-400L. I were to do it again, I would probably go the 400f5.6 prime route. The main reason being that is is sharp wide open unlike my 100-400 where I have to use it at F7.1 or f8. Also prime is lighter and I can use 1.4x TC with it on my 10D (techincally it not suppose to AF). Most of my shots are also at 400mm. But having the zoom helps sometimes. Zoom had much less min. focssing distance as compares to the 400mm prime. If you want primes, 300F4 would be another option. Using 1.4x tc would give you 420mm.

IS is helpful but only for stationary shots in low light. If you don't mind using tripod, you can get similar results using one in place of IS. I am getting aperture 00 errors all the time with my 100-400L whenever I use IS. Seems it needs to go to canon for repair. It is only 6 month old.
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