Thursday, September 20, 2012

More bird shots from the Canon 400mm f/5.6

The 400mm's sharpness is so visible in most shots like in this one. The feather details are still seen from this bird from about 20 feet away.

Fall is almost here and I am scrambling to get the most use out of my Canon 400mm f/5.6 lens. As you all know, the 400mm is not your everyday lens. You only use it for specific stuff like birds, and some sports. I don't do a lot of sports shots, so I mainly use it for birding.

Every weekend I try to go to my favorite nature centers to photograph wildlife. Some weekends I have luck some weekends I don't. Patience is a trait that you should have when birding and I have trained myself heavily to have lots of it when birding. If you have the right tools, the patience and the luck, then birding is a very nice hobby.

This bird was shot in our front yard. It didn't really mind having its photo taken.

A lot of times, I didn't even have to go to a nature center. All I had to do is wait in our front yard and the birds come along. So somehow it really is just pure luck. I have photographed closeups of birds in our front yard. Sometimes they get spooked by the flash, but a lot of times they really don't pay attention to it.

As I have said in a previous post, a nice thing to have when birding is a flash extender. Flashes when used correctly give the birds a lot of color and contrast. It's also a perfect tool to correctly expose birds when you are shooting them against the light, especially when they are flying.

 This fellow kept on coming back for the free food.

 I heard splashing then I saw this guy with a frog in its beak.

 This one just went into a branch above me and stayed till I pressed the shutter.

 This fellow was kinda shy.

This one kept on going back and forth the tree trunk and the feeder.

In the next couple of weeks I'm going to try to get the most out of my 400mm this season. Then I suppose it's time to put it away when the snow comes. Hopefully birds are still around when there is snow so I can continue to use it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Butterflies at the garden

This fellow just waited in front of me. Never really minded being photographed.

It was one really hot summer day when we went to Glencoe Illinois for a very special event. It was the Butterflies and Blooms event at the Chicago Botanic Garden. We went around the garden till we saw the tent where the butterflies were and went in. 

When you're going to something like this, make sure you bring your macro lens to capture these creatures up close.
We went around for about an hour and a half. There were tons of butterflies to look at!

Members get a discount for the event. Were so lucky to be given memberships as christmas gifts from the in laws every year so we get to enjoy perks like discounts and free parking everytime we go to the garden. I recommend getting a membership to your local botanic garden so you can take photos of everything in the garden all year round for free.

This little one was busy sucking nectar from this flower.

When we got in, we were advised to watch where we step because the butterflies sometimes walk on the ground. It would be really sad if you accidentally step on one of these beautiful creatures. Also the butterflies have the tendency to land on you. If they do, you can just blow on them to shoo them away. Never ever touch them.

This one stayed in front of me for the longest time.

I used my Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM for these shots. I needed to get close to the butterflies so the 100mm macro was my lens of choice. Macro lenses come in pretty handy in situations like these. We basically enjoyed looking at the butterflies the rest of the day. 

This one was so friendly that it just stayed into my wife's lens while she was standing still.

Of course...I had to take a shot of this.

Before we exited the tent, there were people by the exits checking everybody if there were stragglers holding on to their clothing. It's just to prevent the butterflies from escaping from the tent.

The event ended on September 3rd. We plan on returning next year. It was a really fun experience seeing all the butterflies and taking shots of them.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Great photography tells stories contest

One life has this contest for photographers called "Great photography tells stories".  It ended on August 28 2012. I managed to upload some of my portraits for the contest.

Right now the pre judging has begun. Hopefully I make it as a finalist.