Sunday, June 3, 2012

Back From Vacation

My wife and I went out of town last weekend down to San Antonio.  Vacations sure have a way of making you feel very worn out.  It has been about two weeks since my last blog, but I have a few lined up for this week.  Here is the first of 3 blogs from the vacation.

This is the hike I went on in Lower Purgatory Creek Park in San Marcos, TX.  This is about 30 miles north of San Antonio.  Aside from the blazing heat, this was a great 2 hours.  Lots of cacti, wild flowers and the best sky I have ever photographed.
I rented a 100-400mm lens with a 2x teleconverter for this weekend.  It was a great combination, but you'll see more of that later.

 With the telephoto lens combination that I rented, it is hard to shoot landscapes, so my plan was to hike in with the telephoto in hopes of seeing some wildlife and hike out with a smaller lens for landscapes. 

As I said earlier, there was lots of cacti out there.  I have to admit that in all the time I've lived in Texas, I have never seen this many cacti.  Also, cacti is a fun word to say.  lol
This is a photo that I took as I was passing out from the heat.  Just kidding, I thought this would be a nice low angle photo.  The blue sky with clouds was fantastic. 

Also, I'm a fan of Georgian Architecture which emphasizes symmetry, so the flowers, trees and tall grass on either side of the walkway works very well.

I think I will try this in black and white later.

Here is the telephoto part of the fun.  The 2x teleconverter does just what it sounds like.  It doubles the focal length of the lens it is attached to.  So, the lens went from a 100-400 to a 200-800.

There are pros and cons to this set up.  The biggest pro is that this is a much cheaper way to get out to 800mm.  A true 800mm lens runs about $8,000.  This combination is less than $2000.  However, the con is that the teleconverter also doubles the aperture of the lens and because of this, you lose the ability to auto focus.  It definitely is not impossible, but it does make it a bit tougher.  It takes a fair bit of practice.


The bird on the left, I'm guessing, is a Blue Heron.  If anyone knows more about this, I would appreciate a positive ID.  This little guy tested my patience.  I wanted to get a picture of him in flight.  He was really not interested in flying.  I waited for about 30 minutes and caught me off guard.  lol  I got some decent shots, but nothing to write home about.  I decided it was a little too hot to wait for him to fly again.

The bird on the right, I have no idea what it was.  Once again, an ID would be great.  This is a great example of the power of this lens combination.  I can' even imagine how high in the air this bird was, but it had to be at least 6 or 7 stories up.  This is cropped a little in PhotoShop, but not much.  The nice part about this bird is that even though it was so high up, it tended to glide which made it easier to follow and focus.  EASIER, not EASY.  lol  This picture is not the best, focus-wise, but you can see a lot of detail in the feathers, which I really liked.

All in all, I think this was a pretty good test of the lens.  I plan to buy this combination for Christmas, so it was nice to rent it and test it out first.  For those of you who may want to take a look at it, check it out at  Shipping both directions is free, so you really can't beat that.

That's the end of my hike.  You can check out more pictures on my facebook page

Until next time...

No comments:

Post a Comment