I almost never shoot video without a tripod as I cannot stand an jiggle whatsoever. This means that I have to make still photography secondary, so I carry the 300mmF4, and the 70-200mmF2.8, both of which have image stabilization. I also carried the 100-400mm F5.6 for the first time in well over a year (in the elk range) and I was pleased with the results. All of the above lenses have image stabilization, and are reasonably portable, so I can shoot them without a tripod. In addition they can be fitted to the Canon XL-H1 Camcorder in which cases their focal length is multiplied by a factor of 7.2 due to the 1/3" sensors of that camera. This gives a 400mm an effective focal length of over 2,800mm. It is amazing at what distances one can take excellent video, if the atmosphere is free of haze or heat waves.
At any rate, I encountered a very nice bull in the backcountry, late on Tuesday evening. He was with a bachelor group of small bulls that were resting in a nearby meadow. I concentrated on him and got the following shot. The photo is cropped severely. I would have liked to have been closer but there was no opportunity to do so!
For those familiar with the Pennsylvania elk herd, this is bull number 62. Unless there is a particular reason to let it there, I usually remove the collar with Photoshop as I detest the way they detract from the natural look of the animal, so yes this animal had a bright yellow collar with large black numbers before Photoshop worked its' magic.
Canon 40D: 100-400mmL F5.6 at 400mm-1/180 sec. f5.6 ISO 400
"Buckwheat" and I were shooting together on Thursday evening when we had an encounter with a small but beautiful bull. I used to like photographing wildlife best in the autumn and especially liked to photograph deer and elk during the rut, when there is a lot of exciting action, but now I find that I like summer as much when it is not too hot and humid. An evening like this is hard to beat with beautiful late evening light, a nice tang in the air, and best of all-complete peace and quiet!
Canon 40D: 300mmL F4 a-1/125 sec. f4 ISO 500
The young bull was completely trusting and allowed us to photograph from about 50 yards or so. This was a good comfortable working range and we had no reason to get closer. Buckwheat also shoots a Canon 40D and was using his tried and true 300mmF2.8.
What better way to spend an evening than photographing wildlife in the great outdoors!