Thursday, March 21, 2013

More Photographs From Middle Creek

Middle Creek Lake: Panasonic GH3-Lumix 14-140 f4.0-5.8@25mm-ISO 200 1/25 sec. f 5.6
Middle Creek can provide beautiful scenic photos at sunrise and I like to be positioned to take advantage of the situation well before daylight.  The lighting conditions were correct for this on two of the three mornings that I was there this year, but the large flocks of Snow Geese and Tundra Swans were not there as in years past.  After the morning lift-off, it is time to work the rest of the area.  Usually the pothole just across the road from Middle Creek Lake is filled with different species of ducks, but that was not the case during my time there this year..  There were only a few species and most of them remained on the far side of the pothole, which is too far for good still photographs.  A few Canada Geese and Ring-necked Ducks did venture close enough for photography, but the Ring-necks were still too far away for top-notch portraits as the images had to be cropped severely to make the image large enough for visual impact.

Ring-necked Duck: Canon 5D MK III-500mm f4.0-ISO 1600 1/400 sec. f 4.5
The Panasonic GH3 worked reasonably well for still photos in this situation, but the most powerful Panasonic lens I have is the 100-300 f. 3.5--5.6, so I pressed the Canon 500mm f4.0 into service, which was mounted to the GH3 by use of the Redrock Micro MFT adapter.  This enables one to control the lens aperture, but the IS and auto-focus are not functional with the adapter so it is manual all of the way.  I missed focus on quite a few shots with this rig and some shots were blurred because of the strong wind gusts that buffeted the camera, but several usable photos were captured.  The 2X crop factor of the Panasonic MFT sensor is a plus in this situation as it gives the 500mm and equivalent focal length of 1000mm, just as using a 2X extender does, but it works better than the extender in that there is no light loss, so the lens is still an f 4.0 at maximum aperture.   I have the  1.4X II and 2X II extenders and not the latest III versions. Both degrade the image from the 500mm enough that I prefer not to use them and instead crop more severely.  The photo above is cropped an extreme amount--much more than I prefer to do, but nonetheless it  looks very good (at least to me) at internet viewing size, but I would hesitate to print it or submit it for consideration to a magazine.

The photos shown below, taken with the GH3, were also cropped a significant amount, but not nearly as much so as the one with the 5D MK III.

Ring-neck Duck: Panasonic GH3-Canon 500mm f 4.0-ISO 200 1/640 sec. f 4.5

Ring-neck Duck: Panasonic GH3-Canon 500mm f 4.0-ISO 200 1/800sec. f 4.5

Waterfowl is especially difficult to photograph on overcast days or at long range and the problem is compounded when these factors are combined, as the photo of the flock of Common Mergansers shown below demonstrates.

Common Mergansers: Panasonic GH3-Lumix 100-300 f 4.0--5.6-ISO 400 1/100sec. f5.6
I  featured wildlife photographer Dan Gomola in a post some time ago, but did not realize that he had launched a blog in conjunction with his website.  We exchanged e-mails recently about the problems inherent in photographing waterfowl and Dan directed me to his Blog.   He has written an excellent post about this subject and published several fine images.  There are numerous other posts as well, featuring subjects ranging from a discussion of HDR imaging, to stunning photos of scenery, wildlife, and other subjects.  To visit click, Here or go to Dan Gomola's Blog in the sidebar.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

1 comment:

Linda G. said...

What a lovely sunrise! Your ring-neck duck pictures are very nice as well.