Home > Birding, Photography > Weekend: July 26-27

Weekend: July 26-27

New Lens

I finally gave in and ordered the Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM lens, along with the Canon Extender EF 1.4x II. I had reservations about getting a prime (non-zoom) lens. Especially since my Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM is pretty sharp already. I got them late last week in time for a weekend of bird photography. I must admit, the performance is amazing. Adding the 1.4x extender gives me 40% more bird with no degradation in image quality that I can see. The image stabilization is first generation (I think) and it definitely shows. It doesn’t hold a candle to the 70-300, which is third generation (I think). We are on generation four now. For me, the f4 aperature is the main selling point. It allows me to use a 1.4 extender easily. I’ve not heard great things about the 2x extender, though I’ll try it out eventually. I plan ordering a Kenko 1.4 extender next week. This can be stacked with the Canon 1.4x for a 1.96x multiplier. Basically, it gives you a 600mm lens for less than $2000, albeit a pretty slow combination. I’ve read multiple places that stacked 1.4’s can give better quality than a 2x. I also don’t need to stop down for more sharpness. Can’t beat that with a stick.

If I seem somewhat reserved, it’s because I still plan on getting the 70-200 f4, which is supposed to be even sharper. I’m wondering if the performance with 2x of extenders will compare to my current combo or be good enough. I don’t particularly care for having a lens dedicated to wildlife, as I really wanted to only carry two lenses around. That’s my real reservation. Rumour is that new lens announcements are coming in about a week….

Lakefest is in two weekends, so some combination of lenses will accompany me to Marble Falls. I’m already cringing at the number of photos I will have to process…

Hornsby Bend

Hot, muggy, lots of flies. My advice for AM, is to just park it (literally) at Hawkwatch. That’s where most of the birds hang out and the sun will be at your back.

  • Misc. shorebirds (they all look the same to me)
  • Snowy Egrets
  • Little Blue Herons
  • White-faced Ibis
  • Black-necked Stilts (love these guys)
  • Killdeer
  • Green Heron (I think. American Bittern possibly, but I don’t think so)
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  • Cattle Egret
  • HUGE turtle

I did not see the Tricolored Heron or any Great Blue Herons.

Pedernales Falls State Park

Had the blind to ourselves on Sunday. Not as much variety as a month ago. Disappointed the Painted Buntings weren’t there.

  • Bewick’s Wren (awesome)
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  • Black-chinned Hummingbirds
  • Northeron Cardinals (many)
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • House Finch (many)
  • Black-crested Titmouse
  • Western Scrub Jay
Categories: Birding, Photography
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