View 434: Sodus Point in Pastel

While waiting for the Sun to set at Sodus Point, New York, I found the soft, pastel-like colors behind the Outer Light of Sodus Bay to be lovely.

Sodus Point Pastel

Sodus Point Outer Lighthouse at Sodus Point Beach in Sodus Point, New York on Saturday, May 16, 2020. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 450, EV +0.3, 58mm Focal Length.

A few minutes later, I set up my camera on a tripod and took a set of photos with the plan to create an HDR image from them. I hoped it would pull even more color out of the scene.

Sodus Point HDR

Sodus Point Outer Lighthouse at Sodus Point Beach in Sodus Point, New York on Saturday, May 16, 2020. Nikon D750/24-120VR, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 50mm Focal Length, Tripod, Aurora HDR Image.

I like both versions as they both convey a calmness which is much needed these days.

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View 433: Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 VR Lens

As I mentioned in last week’s blog post, I rented a Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E AF-S ED VR lens from LensRentals.com to photograph for a week. I had planned on using this lens for field sports, too. Sadly, with the Covid-19 pause, all those sports were canceled for this season. To get a varied wildlife photography experience, I headed out to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York on a beautiful Spring day to see what the lens would do for me.

Female Red-winged Blackbird

Female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) photographed at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York. Nikon D500/200-500VR, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 250, EV +0.3, 500mm (750mm DX) Focal Length, Uncropped.

This lens is long when fully extended at 500mm at almost 17 inches plus the camera. It is a heavy lens at about 5 pounds. I had no problem hand holding the lens but was able to rest along the Wildlife Drive in the refuge as I moved from location to location. If I was shooting sports, I would use a monopod with this lens.

Focal Range from 200 to 500

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) sitting on a nest at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York. Photos taken with a Nikon D500 camera and Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E VR lens.

Above, you see the focal range of the lens.  These first three photos are uncropped. Wildlife, even when used to people driving by more often are farther out. No worries, you can still crop the images. I waited patiently for this male Red-winged Blackbird to sing.

Male Red-winged Blackbird

Male Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) singing at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York. Nikon D500/200-500VR, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 220, EV +0.3, 500mm (750mm DX) Focal Length, Cropped.

I only got one chance to capture a bird in flight (BIF) as a Caspian Tern was hunting over a pool. Unfortunately, the tern was on the Sun side of the vehicle I was photographing from.

Caspian Tern In Flight

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) flying over the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York. Nikon D500/200-500VR, 1/1000s, f/7.1, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 500mm (750mm DX) Focal Length, Cropped.

At 500mm, it was tough following a flying bird from a vehicle’s window but not impossible. I got about 75% of the shots in focus.

At f/5.6, the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 VR is a fair weather lens when it comes to moving subjects. The better the light, the better the images will be. At f/5.6, the field of focus can be narrow as in the photo of a Canada Goose with a set of goslings.

Canada Goose Family

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) swimming with goslings at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York. Nikon D500/200-500VR, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 500mm (750mm DX) Focal Length, Cropped.

I should have stopped the lens down to f/8 to get more of the goslings in focus. For the most part, f/5.6 for wildlife subjects works fine. Like on this pair of goslings.

Canada Geese Goslings

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) goslings at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York. Nikon D500/200-500VR, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 250, EV +0.3, 500mm (750mm DX) Focal Length, Cropped.

At a price of only $1,400 list (look for deals. I have seen very good pricing for both new and used ones), this is one of Nikon’s great values for either DX or FX digital cameras.

For a more detailed review of this lens, visit Thom Hogan’s Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E Lens Review. When business picks up again, I will be getting this lens for my photography.

 

 

 

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View 432: Backyard Wildlife

Like everyone else, I am spending a lot of time at home. Normally, I would be photographing high school Spring sports but, like almost everything else, those have been canceled for this year. I, instead, turned my attention to the wildlife in my own backyard.

Backyard Wildlife

Backyard wildlife photographed in Baldwinsville, New York during May of 2020.

Clockwise from top left, American Robin, Northern Cardinal, Eastern Gray Squirrel and Blue Jay.

Photographing from my kitchen’s window, I used my Nikon 80-400VR lens on my Nikon D500. While this combination worked well for the squirrel who would venture close to the house. It did not work too well for the smaller birds who liked the trees at the edge of my lawn. I decided I needed more reach.

I looked over the inventory at LensRentals.com to see what they had on hand and decided on a week rental for the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E AF-S ED VR lens. This lens coupled with the Nikon D500 which, has a 1.5x crop factor, gave me an equivalent focal length out to 750mm. Even then, I still needed to crop the images of the robin, cardinal and blue jay in the collage you see here.

Look for more on this lens over the next few posts.

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View 431: Early Spring Day

Spring in my hometown of Baldwinsville, New York has not been the best. Very cold and wet for the most part. Over the weekend, we did get a taste of of what a perfect Spring day is. So, I picked up my camera for the first time since mid-March and went for a walk around town.

While crossing over the Seneca River, I stopped to photograph the hydroelectric dam and power generation station which has been a part of my entire life. Like I said, it was a perfect Spring day: warm, calm and peaceful. A delight in the midst of a pandemic.

Hydroelectric Dam

Hydroelectric dam on the Seneca River on an early Spring day in Baldwinsville, New York on Saturday, April 25, 2020. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 24mm Focal Length, Cropped.

Stay safe! It may be another couple of weeks before I get out again.

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View 430: Turret Arch Sunburst

I know many of my fellow photographers are finding this pause in our work a good time to finish off some of their backlogged photos. In my case, the backlog goes back to 2013 when I took a trip to the Western United States. The advantage I have today in processing these older photos is I use better software in Adobe Lightroom Classic and hardware with an Apple MacBook Pro 16 then I did seven years ago.

Here is a photo of Turret Arch in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. I broke the rule that says do not photograph directly into the Sun. Well, with a Sigma 15mm Fisheye lens stopped down to f/22 created a huge sunburst over the arch.

Turret Arch Sunburst

Turret Arch photographed from North Window Arch in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. Nikon D700/Sigma 15mm Fisheye, 1/160s, f/22, ISO 200, EV 0.

Here are some past posts featuring the 2013 trip:

View 300: Sunset Arch

View 305: Trees Above 5,000 Feet

Seduced by the Fisheye

 

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