Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Long Range Turkeys

This morning I sighted a flock of turkeys at our farm, which were at least 300 yards (900ft.) away, and possibly more. I base this estimate from my youth when I hunted woodchucks and knew the distances to all of the strategic spots on our property. After all of those years I can't remember the exact figure, but I am certain it is at least that far.

The first shot shows the Canon XL-H1 Camcorder with the Canon 500mm F4 attached and shows the distance to the turkeys well. They are just above the red arrow. I used a 17-40mm at 19mm to take this shot. As a side note I did take video with the 500mmF4 attached, both with and without a 1.4 extender. Without the extender, this rig is the 35mm equivalent of a 3,600mm lens, with the extender it is 5,040 mm. This is not as good as it sounds because at those magnifications, mirage (atmospheric disturbances), and vibration from wind become a problem. Still I may get some usable video from this encounter

After an extensive videotaping session, I mounted the 500mm on the 40D and took several shots. Check label below each shot for comparisons.

500mm- No Cropping

500mm-Same Photo Severely Cropped

500mm- Canon 2x extender-Severely Cropped

These are certainly not magazine quality, or as Ronald "Buckwheat" Saffer would say, "Front Cover Shots", but I do think it is amazing what can be obtained at such extreme range.


Late in the evening there were more turkeys in the most distant field and now there were several mature gobblers. The birds were milling about and gobbling, preparing to move to a nearby roosting area for the night. This time I used the camcorder with the 100-400mm Canon lens at about 350mm. (for some reason this lens is soft at 400mm when used on the camcorder and does not provide satisfactory high definition video) In this case the turkeys were about 500 yards (1,500 ft.) away.

Canon XL-H1: 100-400mm @ 350 mm-500 yards card camera mode

It is always better to get close if one wants excellent quality photographs, yet this equipment is capable of taking snapshots at amazing ranges if one is unable to approach closer. If conditions are good, the XL-H1 will take usable professional video at these ranges, but one is not able to print high quality enlargements from the captures.


Philip said...

WOW! just shows you the magnification power of a 500 with a 2x telecoverter amazings shots to me :))

fishing guy said...

Willard: I would have had to use binoculars just to see them. What wonderful captures of a far off subject.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

That is some lens WIllard!! WOW!! It sure does a good job. When I was still doing a lot of wildlife photography, I used to use a 300mm with a 2 x convertor and got excellent results with it. I found that going to a 500mm with the 2 x lost too much detail and the picture was not worth taking if I wanted to print a good quality picture. Still 35mm times these using slide film.

Stacey Huston said...

Holly cow. I have a 50-500mm lens and I wouldn't have taken shots of turkeys that far..ok so maybe I would have (grin) then inched closer,, and then a little closer.. lol.. great shots willard..I am hoping to get out and find some birds here as soon as I can..

Willard said...

Joan, That is my opinion too in most cases and I seldom if ever use the 2x with this lens and find the 1.4 extender provides better results. Of course there is no substitute for getting close and this is what I usually try to do, but I thought it was interesting to experiment with this.

I have not used the 300mm f2.8, but know several persons who do and it seems this lens is able to handle the 2x somewhat better than the 500mmF4 does.

Shellmo said...

Good info on the lenses - I need to study up more! I really loved that last photo especially!

Anonymous said...

My wife refused my idea of taking a mortgage out on my house so I could get a f2.8 500mm lens. Shucks. I admire you your pocketbook. And your pictures are fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Amazing photos. Only having a 200mm, most of my shots are trimmed and pulled in closer. Except for elk, most wildlife will not allow me to get close enough. Thanks for sharing your photos.

DeeMom said...

wow and totally awesome

Our Pet turkeys are in the beginnings of nesting, so neat to be able to see this up close

By the way I have returned from my Adventures

The Birdlady said...

Wonderful post - and the "big guns" really did a good job (well, we all know who did the good job; the camera was just there.)