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04-18-2009, 11:44 PM   #46
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Blue: Jewelltrail,

I have quite a few owls around my place, great barred, great horned, barn owls and screech but mostly barred. However, I haven't figured out a good way to find them in the trees at night. On rare occasions I catch them out slightly before dark.
You are very lucky to have this assortment of owls so close. From what I have read. they come out of hiding at dusk, so this would be the time to seek them out. They are still for long enough to take the long exposures you would need in these situations.

If you are able to get some shots, please post some--those raptors are magnificent creatures.

04-19-2009, 06:01 AM   #47
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I enjoyed your comments in the op Mark and concur with many of your comments. I try using other lenses but often end up using the DA50-200 as it is more reliable and quicker to get the shot. With twigs and branches in the way the fine adjustment by overiding of the af is a real help.

Opportunity is often the key for me. There are palm fronds outside the kitchen window and these are often used by small birds and butterflies as a rest or roost, particularly small birds like sunbirds and wrens while they scan the window screens for bugs. I often leave the camera on the bench top as the birds become oblivious to my presence and allow very close focus opportunities and I can get shots with minimal delay. The manual Takumar 200, the SK 360 and the Tokina 80-400 just don't have the close focus capabilities for this proximity like the DA 50-200.

A butterfly example:

Two bird ones from today as it happens:

Cropped 20% and leveled due to overcast conditions

Straight from camera Exif should still be present in all images
04-20-2009, 11:22 PM   #48
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A little love for the M200/4 + Kenko 1.5 TC

I took my lenses (including the borrowed Sigma 600/8) out for another spin today to do some more real world comparison. This particular park is just a mile or so from my house in the suburbs of Denver but has an interesting assortment of wildlife.

I found myself re-evaluating the M200/4 + Kenko 1.5 TC combo. I still don't know that it can really beat the 70-300 or cropping the 50-200 in terms of IQ in a controlled test in terms of overall sharpness & contrast (it didn't when I tested this before), but it *is* more fun to use than any of the other options if you want to use MF, and there is less CA/PF than the 70-300. For whatever reason, I found I was getting better results in actual use today from the M200/4 + 1.5 TC combo than I was from the 70-300 or 600/8. I deliberately didn't use the 50-200 much, BTW, just to give the other lenses more camera time.

Here are some shots from the M200/4 with the Kenko 1.5 TC, mostly at the equivalent of f/9.5, shot on the K200D and cropped somewhat. I also tweaked contrast on these perhaps a bit more than I normally do with other lenses (aside from the mirror, which requires a *ton* of contrast adjustment).

04-21-2009, 12:55 AM   #49
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How to behave

Thanks for sharing your experiences Marc.

Some people start photographing pretty much everything and THEN get interested in bird photography. Too often the knowledge about birds is limited to recognizing bird species and not that many learn how they behave. So, a friend of mine read a book about bird behaviour and all of a sudden he could take photos using 200-300mm lenses where he earlier needed 400-600mm. He approached birds in a totally different way and changed his sit-and-wait locations. I found that quite interesting.

Kind regards

04-26-2009, 07:08 PM   #50
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The sigma 100-300mm f/4 APO EX DG is a lot of fun...
04-26-2009, 09:19 PM   #51
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interesting read, and good samples. Thanks

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