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01-07-2011, 08:50 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by BillM Quote
Then theres the A* 200/4 macro, anyone ever shoot any wildlife with it?
I for one, would sure like to try.

I have shot wildlife with the FA* 200/4 Macro





01-07-2011, 08:54 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by borno Quote
I guess nobody told these guys they really need an old MF macro lens for wildlife.
Real wildlife photographers don't shoot in herds!
01-07-2011, 09:17 AM   #33
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For all wildlife other than birds, I would suggest that the 200mm f2.8 prime would be the ultimate lens, assuming you are good with animals, calm, and patient. Which is pretty much a requirement for a nature photographer anyways.

Last edited by paperbag846; 01-07-2011 at 12:26 PM.
01-07-2011, 09:54 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
Ron, I'm a professional biologist. Even if "they come to you," vireos are very shy and tiny birds. Photo shelters aren't the answer to every biological organism out there. Coyotes, big old herons and racoons are simple. Vireo's and red cockaded woodpeckers are another matter. Furthermore, even with a big FA* 600mm or 250-600mm f5.6, the photographer is generally from an "ambush" position due to the size and tripod requirements.
I really don't know much about vireos, nor of any market for images of them. What I utilize most is a lifetime of hunting skills to get close to an intended species, which includes learning as much as possible about their habits and habitats. I do a lot of baiting and waiting. Even though I'm not using a bow or a gun, I still enjoy the hunting part of photography. Invading an animal's space to such a degree through your own cunning and planning is very rewarding, though I will admit the long hours are sometimes boring.
I probably approach all this differently than most. I've been doing this for decades, and have sold hundreds of images, including quite a few covers. To stand out, the closer you can get the better, not just for POV, but the simple fact that the further you are from a subject the more atmosphere alone degrades IQ.
Equipment does make a difference, but more MPs and longer FLs aren't as important as most believe. Last year I bought the first P&S I've ever owned. I bought it just to play with and as a cheap way to investigate underwater photography in the clear rivers and creeks around me. Paid $150 for the thing. I was surprised by the quality and loved the unusual POV, so I submitted some images. Before the charge bill came due, I sold two inside shots and two covers from it. From a business perspective, it was the best investment I've ever made.
They sold because they presented a POV that was different and interesting. Anyone can take pretty pictures these days in auto modes, so to get something different, you've got to do something different than the masses who gather on concrete. Getting closer is the key to that.

01-07-2011, 10:06 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
It is a misconception that "pro" wildlife photographers all use super-telephotos. Generally, the closer you can get to the subject the better the shot. People who don't know anything about wildlife think they need 1000mm to get shots of wild critters. Those who take a professional approach, learn how to get close.
I saw a documentary about the best Nat Geo shots from the past decade, and every one of the wildlife shots featured were taken with lenses shorter that 50mm (mostly film, not crop sensors). I've been selling outdoor images for over 3 decades, and the longest lens I have is a 200mm.
While there are a lot of great shots taken with shorter lenses, all those pro photographers you see featured have some expensive long glass at their disposal. Last summer, I was fortunate enough to get a decent shot of a blue heron from my kayak with my DA 10-17 fisheye. If I was forced to spend every shooting day with a short lens, I would come home with nothing but landscape shots 99.9% of the time. From a cost standpoint, the best option for most of us is manual focus lenses unless we are willing to spend the price of a mid sized car for glass. Also consider that many of those pro's on assignments for magazines and such are using company owned lenses and cameras.
01-07-2011, 10:13 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
While there are a lot of great shots taken with shorter lenses, all those pro photographers you see featured have some expensive long glass at their disposal. Last summer, I was fortunate enough to get a decent shot of a blue heron from my kayak with my DA 10-17 fisheye. If I was forced to spend every shooting day with a short lens, I would come home with nothing but landscape shots 99.9% of the time. From a cost standpoint, the best option for most of us is manual focus lenses unless we are willing to spend the price of a mid sized car for glass. Also consider that many of those pro's on assignments for magazines and such are using company owned lenses and cameras.
The days of being on contract to Nat Geo and having access to the equipment room are pretty much gone. they use a lot of freelancer now and contract jobs. I'm not even sure they have an equipment room any more (God I remember looking at a picture of the equipment room when i was a kid starting out in photography back in the 70's and just having my jaw drop at the size of it)
01-07-2011, 11:04 AM   #37
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Not a pro, but ...

I'm not a pro, but have spent a considerable amount of time attempting to shoot wildlife. Without the time, expertise, and resources of a pro photographer, I find i miss too many good shots becasue I DON'T have anything greater than 300mm (except my 500mm mirror lens). I count myself one of the small (but hopefully growing) number of people who are waiting with some degree of patience for a PK-mount lens that will go out to 400mm or more.
01-07-2011, 11:45 AM   #38
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I rarely shoot wildlife (At least not animals) living in the core of a big city there just isn't much opportunity for one. What I really got from this thread though is that to truly be good at it doesn't necessarily require big glass but it does require lots of patience and I think the same skill set that hunters use to get close to the animals. I think the most of the people desiring huge lenses are probably enthusiastic amateurs who may not have the patience (or time required) to get the close in shots. When I think about it I watched a doc on a guy shooting in Africa and he was getting in very close to some very dangerous animals (and I don't mean the carnivores though he caught them as well but the Elephants which can be very dangerous and territorial in the wild.) Of all the shots I saw him taking I don't remember any particularly mammoth (excuse the pus) lenses on his camera, and I saw shots from insect to elephant.
Now skittish small birds likely do need the big lens in many cases I guess but a large proportion of the rest it seems the best shots likely are from much more attainable lenses

I actually think that Sports (particularly at the pro level) is the one area where due to the need for Big Fast lenses it is next to impossible for Pentax to compete, and canon and nikon just do that better

01-07-2011, 11:57 AM   #39
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Vramin, being a pro means you do it for a living, or at least a good part of your living. That also means you have the time and expertise, other wise you wouldn't be doing it for a living. These are the main ingredients. Many amatuers have more resources and more expensive equipment than I.
And Reeftool, one of the best resources I've used is a Pokeboat (like a kayak), repainted in camoflauge. All critters are less cautious when approached from such a low angle on the water. Nearly all of the bird in my Shore Birds gallery were taken from it. These are the kinds of things that separate the concrete snapshooter from the wildlife photographer.
01-07-2011, 12:07 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
For all wildlife other than birds, I would suggest that the 200mm f2 prime would be the ultimate lens, assuming you are good with animals, calm, and patient. Which is pretty much a requirement for a nature photographer anyways.
F:2 is not needed. Too little DOF. Can only keep the animals eye in focus. Image above is shot at F:5.6....
01-07-2011, 12:12 PM   #41
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Eddie, small birds just require getting even closer, which is possible if you set up were they come to feed or nest. I have a number of shots in my Non-Game Brids gallery that were taken with a 100mm and fill-flash with a simple 360.
I also have BIF shots of small, fast birds, such as sparrows and nuthatches taken so closely I was able to use fill-flash with my 200mm.
The most amazing photography I've seen anywhere is in some Nat Geo documentaries and documentaries like Blue Planet and Planet Earth. They also feature shorts on how they get these amazing images. They install cameras in trees and/or sit in blinds for weeks at a time, so they can get as close as possible and capture 15 seconds of usable footage. Though I try to do similar things, I am in awe of these films, because I realize what it takes--and it isn't longer lenses.
01-07-2011, 12:16 PM   #42
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How do they shoot inside of termite mounds and stuff like that? Are they using fiber optics? Seems impossible to get a small HD camera into such a small dark place and shoot good footage.
01-07-2011, 12:18 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
The most amazing photography I've seen anywhere is in some Nat Geo documentaries and documentaries like Blue Planet and Planet Earth. They also feature shorts on how they get these amazing images. They install cameras in trees and/or sit in blinds for weeks at a time, so they can get as close as possible and capture 15 seconds of usable footage. Though I try to do similar things, I am in awe of these films, because I realize what it takes--and it isn't longer lenses.
I'd seen some Nat Geo stuff like that before. It's absolutely daunting to think of the extremes they have to go to for a shot. I have a friend who has shot for them a couple of times but never the wildlife (Sumo wrestlers is one I remember - a little easier to get close too lol)
01-07-2011, 12:26 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
How do they shoot inside of termite mounds and stuff like that? Are they using fiber optics? Seems impossible to get a small HD camera into such a small dark place and shoot good footage.
I know David Attenborough actually crawled inside a mound some years back for his shots
Talk about dedication
I imagine for Video purposes now people would use some form of fiber optic camera like the stuff they make for medical usage
01-07-2011, 12:28 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
Though I try to do similar things, I am in awe of these films, because I realize what it takes--and it isn't longer lenses.
So basically you're saying the OP should have stuck with Pentax and invested in a sturdy pair of boots, a camouflaged canoe and about a gallon of insect repellant!

QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen:
F:2 is not needed. Too little DOF. Can only keep the animals eye in focus. Image above is shot at F:5.6....
I guess there's a market for something like a lightweight super high quality 150-300 f5.6..
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