Friday, November 4, 2016

Photography Issues

Still tossing around the idea of the 600mm lens... 

When I’m out in the field, trudging around through woods, sand and rocks, the big lens doesn’t seem like a great idea.  I’m not as sure-footed as I once was, and it’s all I can do sometimes to keep myself from going ass over teakettle over a fallen log or a loose stone.  The bifocals make all this even more of a challenge.  The brain tends to block out what is out of focus, so you can’t just count on walking in unfamiliar territory with your eyes trained on the road ahead…you have to LOOK DOWN to see the small obstacles over which you will trip and kill yourself.  Prowling through the woods staring at my feet is not really conducive to spotting the wildlife which is the entire reason I’m in the woods to begin with.  Having to juggle and protect $2.5k worth of camera equipment that weighs ten pounds complicates the situation to the point of “why bother?”

I’ve been trying to formulate an honest judgment about the lens by paying attention to the way I take pictures…gauging whether a tripod and 600mm lens would really result in pictures so much greater than the ones I get now that it would be worth the investment and the hassle.  There have been a few times in the past couple of days where a better telephoto would have come in handy…but only one instance I can think of where I might have had time to set up the whole rig, tripod and all, and snap off several shots without spooking the subject.  I’m leaning toward the conclusion that the big lens would be more of a frustration and a burden than an asset. 

This morning, I had somewhat of an epiphany when looking at pictures posted on the “Oregon Wildlife Photographers” page:   Some obviously photo-shopped shots taken from very far away.  Well, yeah…I see birds that are really far away, too.  But a large part of the fascination for ME is becoming part of the environment.  It’s not just about getting pictures, it’s about the thrill of getting close enough to get good pictures with the rig I already own. 

Right now, I think I'll be better served by investing in a really nice tripod…I’m ready to concede that my skills at hand-held photography have deteriorated to the point where I need to be able to steady the camera with more than just my own body.  Well-placed fence posts and tree trunks come in handy, but they’re not always where you want them when you need them.  The trick is to find a nice light-weight unit that won’t be a hideous burden to carry around, but will still be sturdy enough to do the job.  Off to the internet to do some research (since I know asking the advice of readers will only result in a depressing chorus of crickets…)


  1. Not a tripod - get a unipod. Works as well as a fence post, much lighter than a tripod, faster setup, and can be used as a walking stick to help you over those logs.

    1. I actually already have one of those...but it doesn't work well for my heavy camera. I still have to hold it steady and click the shutter...and it always shakes. Camera shake is much more pronounced when using a telephoto, so I need the thing to be rock-solid. Which will happen only if my hands are on the camera as little as possible. But thanks for the feedback... Also, I hope you're feeling better. Can't believe the bullshit you have been put through with that chemo... :(

  2. A tripod also works for extreme closeup shots of flowers and the like. I have one in the closet.