Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Morning At Middle Creek-Part 2

During our recent visit to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area we found several species feeding in potholes in the meadows, which are bisected by Kleinfeltersville Road.  This is a highly restricted area, with plenty of signs warning one to stay out.  This means that one has to photograph the waterfowl at whatever range it presents itself.

I used the 500mmF4 and 2x extender for the following shot of a male Ring Necked Duck.  One must use manual focus with this combination on the Canon 7D as auto-focus will not work at f8.  The images taken with this setup were not tack sharp either because I missed the focus point, because of subject motion, or because the 500mmF4 and the 2x extender are not compatible. Some report excellent results with this combination while others are unhappy.  Based on discussion with other Canon prime lens  users, I do think that the 2x extender is a much more viable accessory for the 300 f2.8, and I have seen a lot of outstanding results with this combination, but I have gotten unacceptable results more often than not with a wide range of Canon models, including the 10-D, 30-D, 40-D, and now the 7D when using the 500mm with this extender.

Male Ring Necked Duck-Pothole Directly Across Road From Middle Creek Lake
Later in the morning we found a few isolated snow geese and a male and female Northern Shoveler feeding in another pothole.

 I used the 1.4 extender and 500mmF4 for these photos, which yielded somewhat better results, but one still needed to be closer so the photographs would not require as much cropping to obtain satisfactory subject size.

Snow Geese And Northern Shoveler Drake

Male And Female Norther Shoveler

Black Ducks, and Ruddy Ducks were also seen today, but I did not get acceptable photographs of them.  In past years I have photographed or filmed numerous other species in these potholes such as Pintail, Gadwall and Scaup.

I leave you with another thought on extenders.  While I find the 1.4X to be satisfactory with the 500F4, nothing can replace  being close enough to shoot without an extender or severely cropping the image, but sometimes we do not have that choice and the extender can save the day.


imac said...

Ducks abound.
Nice pics Willard.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Excellent picture.I am still confused about this cropping.There are varying opinions on how much to crop.I like to be able to see the bird,but this sometimes results in a very small file size.Any hints?

Willard said...

I never worried so much about the file size, but rather look closely at the fine detail in the photo and do not crop enough that the photo becomes too pixelated or unsharp.

Christy said...

Willard, I love the image of the Male Ring Necked Duck. That reflection of blue in the water is astounding. I love seeing your images. Thanks for sharing.

Tom said...

Great advice along with great pictures Willard... I have really been enjoying your wildfowl pictures along with your Coys... you have some beautiful location nearby... and beautiful wildlife as well. Have a great weekend my friend.

Tim Rucci said...

Nice work, Willard, especially at this distance. And nothing short of outstanding considering the manual focus. It makes me shudder to remember that we all did it that way in the old days.

I'm in agreement on your assessment of the 2x extender. I frequently use it on the 300 f2.8, and usually the results are good if conditions are perfect. But if you compare images of that to those using the 1.4x, you can detect a slight softness from the 2x. I feel much more confident of good image quality with the 1.4x. I do not have the 500 f4, but I am considering it. I think in general, the 2x should only be used as a last resort.

Leedra said...

Love the blue in the first photograph. You and 'Salty' Coy been duck hunting together, have you? Glad you use cameras.