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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Decision-Time: Go Long or Go Home!

There is nothing more frustrating than to go to a site that you have expressly targeted for wildlife photography and find out that the equipment that you have has insufficient range to get the shot that you've been looking for. It's understandable when you get absolutely annoyed in that case. People like to say "work with what you have". I have also said that. But there are times when that isn't good enough.

I've often wondered what would take my wildlife photos to the next level. I've oft-times missed opportunities because the shot was out of range and there is NO way to get any closer (such as a lake - sure if you have a canoe or something like that, go right ahead and take your 300mm f/4, canoe, paddle, tripod and go and paddle across the lake, but in the places that I shoot, there are rules against stepping into, paddling across, wading into said lakes that I have to shoot in). Green Timbers enforces a "no entering" the lake under any circumstances. And most of the lakes that I have access to in Surrey enforce that ruling. In Serpentine Fen, the marshes are 6 to 16' deep. No way to wade across that to go after birds. Same with George C. Reifel Sanctuary. In that case, you have to resort to a longer lens.

So after much thought, indecision and head-banging against a wall out of frustration, my wife and I have finally decided that the only way to get the shots that we need for wildlife photography is to go after what will be the jewel in our lens collection, effectively supplanting my AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII as my #1 go-to lens for wildlife photography: the AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR. It is a significant expenditure: $10,863.99 after tax. But after the output that I have seen come out of my 70-200mm VRII lens, I know that I can make the 600mm work and get the shots that I need. At $300.00 a month, I will be able to manage to get the lens that I need in September of 2015, a whole lot sooner than the 2017, I had imagined. My 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII with a TC-20EIII will suffice for birds-in-flight for the time being.

The next piece of equipment after this lens will be a car so that I can get to shooting locations a lot easier. If you have tried to get to a shooting location via transit, you'll understand why.

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