Blue Dasher In Our Garden

I noticed a male Blue Dasher on the top of a Gladiola in our garden as I was looking out the window. So I went out to get some images to post. It has been unusually extra hot here in NJ, so we have not gone to any of the local parks lately. As I was inching closer to the Dasher, it flew off, but quickly returned to the same spot. After doing that multiple times it finally stayed on the tip of the tall plant. I guess it began to tolerate me as I was inching closer. I was hand holding my camera, but I shot a series of focus points along the dragonfly for image stacking. The Blue Dasher was close to the side of my home so I was shooting wide open to have a smoother background. This eliminated the shadows under the rows of siding that would have given confusing rows of darker stripes to the background. I was using a Canon R with a Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro and a Sigma 2x teleconverter. So with the 2x teleconverter, my wide open f/stop was f/5.6. I manually focused a series of focus points from wingtip to wingtip plus close ups of the face. I was surprised the Blue Dasher did not fly off and allowed me to get right in it’s face, so to speak. So I tried many different focus stacks to see which might work better. Here are a few images from the series.

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First focus stacked image, Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro, with Sigma 2x teleconverter, 5 images, Canon R @ f/5.6.  With focus stacking shooting @ f/5.6, I eliminated the shadows under the rows of siding behind the dragonfly.

 

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Dasher Image (2 images) concentrating on face, legs, plant tip & front of wings.

Great Egret Catches Lunch

Outside our complex is a small pond along an access road. There usually are a lot of Canada Geese here, but scattered along the far shoreline in the pond are Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons and Cormorants. Also a few shore birds are working along the edge. It is down a slope from the road, so you are sort of shooting down at them from quite a distance so you need a long lens to photograph them. Because of the distance I was using a Tamron 150-600mm lens with a Sigma 2X teleconverter for a 1200mm field of view to fill the frame more with the birds. I am surprised the Canon R autofocuses quickly with the combination of a 2X Teleconverter on a f/6.3 zoom lens. With the 2X teleconverter on the Tamron 150-600mm f/6.3 lens, my wide open f/stop was f/13. So I stoped down to f/16 to help with shrapness.  My Canon 1D Series bodies would not autofocus past f/11 if you stacked teleconverters.

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Great Egret finally catches a fish for lunch – Canon R @ 1200mm

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Great Egret Working Shoreline – Canon R @ 1200mm

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Great Egret Working It’s way down the far Shoreline – Canon R @ 1200mm

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Cormorants Swimming By – Canon R 1200mm

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Cormorants Swimming By – Canon R – 1200mm

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Great Egret working the Far Shoreline – Canon R – 1200mm

American Avocets At Bombay Hook NWR

On our visit to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge we saw large flocks of American Avocets. The only problem was they were so far out in the Shearness Pool. Photographing large flocks was acceptable at 600mm, but I added a 2x teleconverter to get to 1200mm for individual Avocets. Even then I had to crop quite tightly for the individual Avocets. These are also handheld, so I upped my ISO to 1200 ISO and f/16 hoping for more sharpness with the 2X Teleconverter.

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Avocets @ 600mm

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Avocets @ 1200mm

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Avocets @ 1200mm

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Avocets @ 1200mm

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Avocets @ 1200mm

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Avocets @ 1200mm

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Avocets @ 600mm

Night After Full Moon Camera Tests @ 1200mm & 1920mm

I wanted to try a few simple tests photographing the Full Moon with the Canon R Camera & the Tamron 150-600mm lens with a 2X Teleconverter. The Sigma 2X teleconverter fits on the Tamron where the Canon Teleconverters do not. I really like the Canon R compared to all my other Canon cameras because of the extremely clean image quality and low noise in the images. The 2X Teleconverter would give me the equivalent of 1200mm focal length. But on that night it was overcast and the moon was not visible. I did the tests the day after the Full Moon. So it was an almost Full Moon. I was very pleased with the test images from the Canon R. Very clean images compared with the other tests done with an older Canon 7D. In the past I usually used the 7D because of the 1.6X cropped sensor for photographing the moon. The 7D, with the 1.6X crop factor gave a FOV (Field of View) on a Full Frame camera of 1920mm, but had a lot more visible “noise” compared with the newer “R”. Even controlling “Noise” when opening the 7D file in Adobe Camera Raw and NIK Software’s Dfine noise reduction once opened, the image was quite “noisey”.

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Cropped tighter image shot @1200mm with Canon R

 

 

The “Featured” Image is the Canon R, with Tamron 150-600mm lens with a 2X Teleconverter. The Canon R autofocused quickly even with the 2X Teleconverter. Next time I will try stacking 1.7x or 1.4x teleconverters with the 2X teleconverter.

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Moon Image, 7D, 150-600mm Tamron Lens, 2X Teleconverter, FOV 1920mm (Field Of View) compared with Full Frame Canon R

Osprey Nests On Platforms @ 1200mm

A series of Osprey Platforms with nest images from the Edwin B. Forsythe NWR in Oceanville, NJ. I was using a Tamron 150-600mm lens with a 2X teleconverter to get closer to the Osprey Platforms. Then cropped in a little for a tighter composition. You can see the nests are not the neatest or cleanest when you are looking that close, but are still interesting. Also it is interesting when an Osprey sees you photographing them they really stare you down! The Canon R, even with a 2X teleconverter on a Tamron 150-600mm auto focuses quite quickly and right on focus. The Canon R will autofocus even with stacked 2x & 1.4X (or 1.7x) teleconverters. Did not try stacking 2X Teleconverters. I have also found that when stacking teleconverters I usually stop down a little more to help with sharpness.

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Black Skimmers At Brigantine

Black Skimmers are some of my favorite birds to photograph as they are fishing and skimming along the water. This group was working an area in the channel along the Wildlife Drive near the entrance to the Wildlife Drive at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, Brigantine Division. I was shooting @ 600mm, but they were covering a large area, going down one of the channels moving away from me, then turning around coming back to me and going to the right. Then they would repeat their pattern. Time after time fishing the channels and then swinging around to skim along the other direction. There were 2 groups of 2 fishing there. In another post I will show images of the 2 skimming together.

I was using a Canon R with a Tamron 150-600mm lens and was surprised the Canon R tracked them so well. I even tried a few with a 2x teleconverter and still auto-focused well.

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Female Wild Turkeys

I was checking out a new lens to see how it would work with a Canon R Camera. Sometimes, especially since I am getting older, I want to travel with fewer lenses to make life easier. I was looking at the Sigma 60-600mm, but it weighed a lot more. So I am trying a Tamron 150-600mm zoom lens to see if I like the images. This is not a full setup test, just a first test to see how the lens handled. I was just sitting outside my home photographing tree branches and other subjects to see the sharpness of the lens when I saw this group of Wild Turkeys coming towards me in a wooded area. The Male stayed further back in another yard, but the females were closer. I did not have a tripod with me so these are all handheld which was a challenge because they were in the shade so not a lot of light, but I tried a variety of shutter speeds, High ISO settings and f/stops. This also gave me an idea of how good the lens stabilization was. Wide open @ f/6.3 still gave me a limited slow shutter speed, so I increased ISO to get the shutter speed up somewhat. You will see some feet might have a slight blur from movement because of the lack of light. Also I tried a few teleconverters but the only one that would work on the Tamron was a Sigma 2X, but it did not pick up the teleconverter info and thought it was still an f/6.3 lens. It auto focused fine and and was quite responsive. The other teleconverters just gave me an error message on the Canon “R”.

The featured image was shot, handheld @ 375mm 1/200 sec, ISO 1600

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Female Turkey, 600mm, 1/1250 sec, f/6.3, 3200 ISO (because of shade)

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Female Turkeys, further back, In extreme shade, 600mm w/ Sigma 2X Teleconverter, 1/125 sec, f/6.3 (handheld) ISO 6400 (because of the lack of light and the 2X teleconverter. The f/6.3 is wrong, but the Canon R did not “see” the Sigma teleconverter, but still autofocused fine and was precise.

 

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