Friday, January 27, 2012


I recently took a road trip down through Southern Oregon and Northern California, ultimately ending up in Sacramento, and along the way tried to rustle up a few birds to photograph. I rented a Canon 400mm f/5.6L lens from and was happily impressed with the performance all around of it. Now realize that I am a newbie at the wildlife photo thing, but overall I had a great time using it. I did happen across a super rare Falcated Duck while at the Colusa National Wildlife refuge and it was here my lens looked like a tourist's at Disneyland compared to the artillery photographing this duck! Apparently this little wanderer is usually found in parts of Asia and Russia. Cool! I was only able to get the lamest photo known to mankind of him after I realized he was out there, so no proof. Oh well, better luck next time, rookie.


  1. These photos are definitely worth the rent of the lens. Great shots, you captured their shape, movement and texture of feathers. I want to try this some time, do you have any tips? I have the entry-level Canon 600D (Rebel) :)

  2. Thanks for the kind words. As far as tips go, your camera is more than adequate, so it mostly boils down to the lens when it comes to birds and wildlife. You can never have a long enough lens it seems. Everyone will tell you this. 300mm is the bare minimum and with your cropped sensor camera it works out to be a 480mm, which is a good start. With longer lenses it's key to either have image stabilization in the lens and/or use a tripod or monopod. It's also a necessity to be aware of your shutter speed all the time, as you're going to need to shoot at a higher speed as the long lens amplifies any slight movement the camera and lens makes. This will help get sharp photos, something that is very important for most wildlife shots. Also, try to focus on the eye, as that makes for a more compelling image. It's all about bringing in the viewer's interest and having a sharp eye really helps. And lastly, I learned that patience is needed to find that "right" shot. Find a nice spot, be it a wildlife refuge or backyard feeder, and just set up the camera on a tripod and let the wildlife settle in around you. Hope these tips help you get some nice photos.