Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
04-14-2010, 07:51 AM   #1
Site Supporter
jpzk's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Québec
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 6,981
A Pentaxian experience at a "Birds of prey" observatory.

One morning this week: perfect weather for a planned outing to the National Park about one hour away from my place.
The plan: get to the park observatory where one can admire/photograph the several species of birds of prey coming in the St Lawrence River valley during Spring migration. (eagles, hawks, etc...)

After a short drive off the main highway, you get to the parking area: full! Nowhere to park the car! Gotta back up and find a spot. Gotta walk up to the observatory now.
I take by beloved Pentax gear out: tripod, K7, K20D, and of course my DA*300/4 with a 1.7X Pentax adapter ... that should be enough to get me some half decent shots of the flying birds.
Gotta find a spot to install my stuff now ... of course, there are at least 12 to 15 photographers and a bunch more of people with fancy ornithology "surveillance equipment" already in place, at the best spots. No way to get close to the edge of the cliff (which is fenced for security reasons) because of that.
I set up my gear ... behind everyone, try to get a little closer so at least I can see some of the scenery ... no chance: nobody moves even half an inch.
Among monster-size white Canon and Nikon lenses, gimball heads and huge Swarovski "digiscopes", my attempts to get closer are futile.
One very "nice" lady asked me what sort/brand of camera I had; she had this puzzled look on her face as if my photo gear was some sort of "whatever".
"Pentax" I said.
"Oh!" she said, and turned back to her observing business.
I even gently asked if I could "squeeze in" ... no dice! Would you believe that? "We are already quite squeezed" someone tells me.
"I'll wait until someone leaves, that's OK", I said.
"You might have to wait all day", another fellow answers.

OK, ... I'm going back home. This is it! No more of this!

Drove back home; one hour drive again and pissed off.
No pictures either.

I feel good now that I have vented my frustration.

JP

04-14-2010, 10:01 AM   #2
Pentaxian




Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Chicago suburb, IL, USA
Posts: 1,535
Hi Jacques,

I think I would have folded up the tripod and tried to squeeze in and shoot some handheld shots. Without the tripod, you could possibly have stood or sat between two shooters with tripods (or under one of the tripods ) At 510mm, I can usually get a reasonable percentage of keepers if the light allows shutter speeds faster than 1/125, and wouldn't that have impressed some of the "big glass" guys!

Right now, I'm in "handheld" mode, and appreciate the portability of my FA*300/4.5 + 1.7x AFA -- haven't even broken out a 300/2.8 + TCs since the migrating newcomers are just starting to arrive, and are still too few and far between to justify the setup. I'm having a lot of fun just wandering around. . .

Scott
04-14-2010, 11:15 AM   #3
Site Supporter
jpzk's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Québec
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 6,981
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
Hi Jacques,

I think I would have folded up the tripod and tried to squeeze in and shoot some handheld shots. Without the tripod, you could possibly have stood or sat between two shooters with tripods (or under one of the tripods ) At 510mm, I can usually get a reasonable percentage of keepers if the light allows shutter speeds faster than 1/125, and wouldn't that have impressed some of the "big glass" guys!

Right now, I'm in "handheld" mode, and appreciate the portability of my FA*300/4.5 + 1.7x AFA -- haven't even broken out a 300/2.8 + TCs since the migrating newcomers are just starting to arrive, and are still too few and far between to justify the setup. I'm having a lot of fun just wandering around. . .

Scott
Hi Scott.
I understand that I could have forgotten about this tripod setup and go handheld, but the problem was to get close enough to the edge so that at least I could taken some shots, and there was no way to get even close enough.
I too have a decent keeper rate with the 300/4 and 1.7X TC, handheld, which is the way I do things 90% of the time.
Those large "cannons" didn't impress me other than finding that they more or less invaded the whole place.
Anyway, since I am a bit of a solitary, this was a lesson well learned and I will try to avoid such places in the future.
As you said, you're having fun just wandering about, and that goes for me too.
Cheers.
JP
04-16-2010, 04:31 AM   #4
Veteran Member
RioRico's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Limbo, California
Posts: 11,264
QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
Those large "cannons" didn't impress me other than finding that they more or less invaded the whole place.
Anyway, since I am a bit of a solitary, this was a lesson well learned and I will try to avoid such places in the future.
If such a vantage really is the best place around for observations, and if you're not entirely put off by the mob scene, you could plan to arrive earlier the next time. If there is a next time. The situation sounds rather absurd to me, but then I tend to avoid crowds unless I'm shooting them. To me, finding a full parking lot means it's time to look for another vantage point, or to have fun elsewhere and make an earlier start next week.

Somewhat related: There are time's I've arrived early, been all set up... and nothing happens. Last time was at Carlsbad Caverns. At dusk, millions of bats usually swarm from a certain entrance, which has an observation amphitheatre built around it. So I'm there ahead of the crowd, camera on tripod trained at the magic spot; the crowd fills in; the docent speaks quietly of what to expect. And we wait. And wait. And we get maybe a few dozen bats, total, straggling out intermittently. Apparently the rest sensed a thunderstorm a few miles away and stayed home. Ratz.

So we packed up, trudged back to parking, got in the queue of late-leavers. We headed for our camp site off the main highway several miles away from the National Park. The NP intersects the main highway at a tourist services village called White City. The White City intersection is lit with bright lights. Bright lights attract insects. Insects attract bats. The White City intersection was swarming with bats! They'd come from other cave entrances, or other caves, and THIS was where the action was. Not quite as impressive as millions issuing from the cavern mouth, but the lighting was better here.

04-19-2010, 03:10 PM   #5
Veteran Member
Tuner571's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ohio
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,550
Wow, that is really unfortunate. I know there have been times I have really wanted to get a shot and there would be a group of photographers that will just refuse to move. I remember one time I went to my favorite State Park that has all these huge waterfalls and I just wanted to get one shot of the whole area before I left. Unfortunately, the one spot that had the perfect vantage point also had loads of photographers taking photos of the same thing.

There were photographers with huge DSLR cameras and families with their kids getting their photos with the point and shoot. Finally after about 15 minutes I finally work my way in and set up the camera on its tripod and take out my remote. As I compose the shot a huge family comes over and tries to set up the whole family for a family portrait. As they are doing this one of the kids starts playing near my camera and I watch him very nervously as I fire off a few shots. Then out of nowhere another kid comes up and starts wrestling with the kid already near my camera and he falls into my tripod almost knocking my camera to the ground but fortunately since I was standing right there I was able to grab it before it fell completely over.

Now I am really mad and I kindly ask the mother to keep her kids under control as they almost damaged my equipment. All she says is “Yea whatever” and that was it, after hearing this I just packed up and headed home because I was furious and amazed that she just told me that and took no responsibilities for her kids. Ever since that day I only come back early in the early morning on a weekday when there is nobody there except the real photographers.

I just can't believe that some people can be so rude that they can't even move a little bit just so that you could take a few photos. I mean if I was there I would share my spot with someone just so everyone can have a chance at getting a good picture.

Last edited by Tuner571; 04-19-2010 at 03:16 PM.
04-19-2010, 05:48 PM   #6
Veteran Member
rparmar's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 8,783
I am with you in your frustration. You have just described a perfect scenario of the selfish world, which an unfortunate number of people, under the guise of individual freedoms and other such guff, wish to promulgate. It is in essence anti-society, anti-empathy and anti-human. In this way those who would capture animals become animals themselves.

I would have found somewhere else and done my own thing. Or maybe turn the tables and shoot the human animal? Imagine how they might have reacted!

tourist project: the falls #8999


(Shot with the FA 77mm Limited.)


There is always another picture to shoot. But I am sorry the outing was so miserable.
04-21-2010, 07:44 AM   #7
Senior Member
cygnet's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Hill Country Texas
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 104
I don't know that you could call them selfish. They got up earlier, got there first and were all set up. And really, I figure if there are that many photogs in a place, am I really going to get a unique view of the subject? I'd look for something else around to shoot.
04-21-2010, 01:19 PM   #8
Veteran Member
rparmar's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 8,783
QuoteOriginally posted by cygnet Quote
I don't know that you could call them selfish. They got up earlier, got there first and were all set up.
If it was me there first I would say "give me one hour and then you can have my slot for an hour". Or whatever time period worked. After my hour I'd chill out, relax, get a coffee and doughnut and review images before coming back to try again.

Anything else is selfish in my opinion. Being first isn't everything.

04-22-2010, 06:49 AM   #9
Site Supporter
jpzk's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Québec
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 6,981
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
If such a vantage really is the best place around for observations, and if you're not entirely put off by the mob scene, you could plan to arrive earlier the next time. If there is a next time. The situation sounds rather absurd to me, but then I tend to avoid crowds unless I'm shooting them. To me, finding a full parking lot means it's time to look for another vantage point, or to have fun elsewhere and make an earlier start next week.
True about getting there earlier, something I couldn't do that day though. This was the best observatory spot indeed and the migration is just about over for the birds of prey. I'll just do my usual "hunt" along the stretch of country roads and trails around here.
Somewhat related: There are time's I've arrived early, been all set up... and nothing happens. Last time was at Carlsbad Caverns. At dusk, millions of bats usually swarm from a certain entrance, which has an observation amphitheatre built around it. So I'm there ahead of the crowd, camera on tripod trained at the magic spot; the crowd fills in; the docent speaks quietly of what to expect. And we wait. And wait. And we get maybe a few dozen bats, total, straggling out intermittently. Apparently the rest sensed a thunderstorm a few miles away and stayed home. Ratz.

So we packed up, trudged back to parking, got in the queue of late-leavers. We headed for our camp site off the main highway several miles away from the National Park. The NP intersects the main highway at a tourist services village called White City. The White City intersection is lit with bright lights. Bright lights attract insects. Insects attract bats. The White City intersection was swarming with bats! They'd come from other cave entrances, or other caves, and THIS was where the action was. Not quite as impressive as millions issuing from the cavern mouth, but the lighting was better here.
That was a fun story! Maybe not for you but I found it rather amusing. Just goes to prove that we, more often than not, come upon the unexpected. This happens to me quite often actually: I walk the trails for hours and "see nothing" interesting, only to come upon what I have been wanting to see as I drive back home!
JP
04-22-2010, 07:00 AM   #10
Site Supporter
jpzk's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Québec
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 6,981
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Tuner571 Quote
Wow, that is really unfortunate. I know there have been times I have really wanted to get a shot and there would be a group of photographers that will just refuse to move. I remember one time I went to my favorite State Park that has all these huge waterfalls and I just wanted to get one shot of the whole area before I left. Unfortunately, the one spot that had the perfect vantage point also had loads of photographers taking photos of the same thing.

There were photographers with huge DSLR cameras and families with their kids getting their photos with the point and shoot. Finally after about 15 minutes I finally work my way in and set up the camera on its tripod and take out my remote. As I compose the shot a huge family comes over and tries to set up the whole family for a family portrait. As they are doing this one of the kids starts playing near my camera and I watch him very nervously as I fire off a few shots. Then out of nowhere another kid comes up and starts wrestling with the kid already near my camera and he falls into my tripod almost knocking my camera to the ground but fortunately since I was standing right there I was able to grab it before it fell completely over.

Now I am really mad and I kindly ask the mother to keep her kids under control as they almost damaged my equipment. All she says is “Yea whatever” and that was it, after hearing this I just packed up and headed home because I was furious and amazed that she just told me that and took no responsibilities for her kids. Ever since that day I only come back early in the early morning on a weekday when there is nobody there except the real photographers.

I just can't believe that some people can be so rude that they can't even move a little bit just so that you could take a few photos. I mean if I was there I would share my spot with someone just so everyone can have a chance at getting a good picture.
I find this sort of situation quite common near larger cities, but the trend seems to be moving "out in the country", if you get my drift.
This event you described is becoming more frequent, even out there in the boonies!
Rudeness also comes in many other forms such as this: you're in a nature preserve; at the parking area, the large signs with large black-on-white letters clearly indicate that you are NOT to take your family dog in there, or, at the very least, it should be leashed and under no circumstances should it be let loose.
Well, guess what? ... !
I could go on and on with different situations such as those, but I suppose I should stop complaining and find better, quieter spots.
As a matter of fact, I just started my "after supper" outings again and that proves to be somewhat of a blessing: not much light left but gosh is it ever quiet then!

JP
04-22-2010, 07:05 AM   #11
Site Supporter
jpzk's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Québec
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 6,981
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
I am with you in your frustration. You have just described a perfect scenario of the selfish world, which an unfortunate number of people, under the guise of individual freedoms and other such guff, wish to promulgate. It is in essence anti-society, anti-empathy and anti-human. In this way those who would capture animals become animals themselves.

I would have found somewhere else and done my own thing. Or maybe turn the tables and shoot the human animal? Imagine how they might have reacted!

There is always another picture to shoot. But I am sorry the outing was so miserable.
I agree with you that there always another picture to shoot but I was so peeved that I wouldn't even think about that.
This photo you are showing is so real! I wonder how many of those people actually think: "What a crowd" What the heck are we doing here?"
I would tend to admit that I myself am becoming selfish because I "want" to be the only one in the place, doing what I intended to do when I left home for "my spots".

JP
04-22-2010, 07:08 AM   #12
Site Supporter
jpzk's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Québec
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 6,981
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by cygnet Quote
I don't know that you could call them selfish. They got up earlier, got there first and were all set up. And really, I figure if there are that many photogs in a place, am I really going to get a unique view of the subject? I'd look for something else around to shoot.
They obviously got up much earlier than I did, good for them ... too bad for me. And, yes, better be off and look for something else interesting.
JP
04-22-2010, 07:10 AM   #13
Site Supporter
jpzk's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Québec
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 6,981
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
If it was me there first I would say "give me one hour and then you can have my slot for an hour". Or whatever time period worked. After my hour I'd chill out, relax, get a coffee and doughnut and review images before coming back to try again.

Anything else is selfish in my opinion. Being first isn't everything.
I am just not convinced that anyone out there would have offered this sort of deal. Mind you, I didn't ask either.
JP
04-22-2010, 07:51 AM   #14
Veteran Member
rparmar's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 8,783
QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
I am just not convinced that anyone out there would have offered this sort of deal. Mind you, I didn't ask either.
JP
I am sure you are right. Asking is not the same as offering. In situations like this I try to be open enough to offer because that does something for me as a person. If someone has to ask me, it's not quite the same realisation, because it was externally prompted.

I'm hoping that makes sense.
04-22-2010, 04:55 PM   #15
Site Supporter
jpzk's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Québec
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 6,981
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
I am sure you are right. Asking is not the same as offering. In situations like this I try to be open enough to offer because that does something for me as a person. If someone has to ask me, it's not quite the same realisation, because it was externally prompted.

I'm hoping that makes sense.
Certainly makes sense to me!
I commend your diplomacy in offering people to switch places/take turns that way. Not very often do we encounter that.
Best to you!

JP
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
birds, camera, course, dslr, gear, half, home, hour, observatory, park, photography, spot
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
"Real-life stuff" — with birds! HAHA! gawan Post Your Photos! 24 04-20-2009 06:39 AM
"Hunger for a DA*50-135?" or "The DA*50-135 as a bird lens!" or "Iron age birds?" Douglas_of_Sweden Post Your Photos! 4 08-13-2008 06:09 AM
This wildlife shooting is "for the birds"... a walk on the beach Peter Zack Post Your Photos! 31 08-02-2008 07:38 PM
2008 Pentaxian Award "LanceB" wins vievetrick Photographic Technique 18 05-01-2008 06:35 AM
Birds..."Long" exposures @500mm d.bradley Post Your Photos! 11 01-20-2008 10:51 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:10 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top