Best of: Nature Shots
summer - winter 2005, TJ Avery

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MISC. shots from Mathis (Texas), Lake Houston, and my house.

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NOTE: All above shots taken with Canon Digital Rebel, EF 70-210mm f/3.5-4.5, and a tripod!

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MISC. shots from New Braunfels and my house.

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NOTE: Above two shots taken with Canon Digital Rebel & EF 50mm f/1.4

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Shots from Mathis, Texas, August 2005.

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NOTE: Above six shots taken with Canon Digital Rebel, EF 70-200mm f/4L, and tripod

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Shots from Del Rio, Texas, October 2005. All shots (except the first
one with the red flower) were taken at Rotary Park on San Felipe Creek.

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Birds, Sep-Oct 2005.
All shots were taken in my backyard with the 70-200mm f/4L. Seeing the
Loggerhead Shrike (aka Butcher bird) was quite a surprise! That's not a
bird I normally see at our house. One of the bluejay photos shows a rough-
looking bird with most of its head feathers missing. I suspect this might
be the West Nile Virus at work. It always hits the bluejays the hardest.

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Hunting Lease, Oct 2005.
The photos of the birds, butterflies, and the moon were all taken with my
newly acquired hardware: a Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L + Canon 1.4x II tele-
converter. The two photos of the dragonflies in flight were taken with the
same lens but without the teleconverter. All were manually focused.

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Shooting with the super telephoto lens was a first for me, and I realize it
will take a lot of practice to learn to handle the long focal length* properly.
There's a lot of technique required when handling a relatively heavy ~900mm*
lens, and it's very easy to screw up a shot (mainly from too much camera shake).

Also, I had to manually focus the lens + teleconverter combo because it's
effectively f/8 wide open, and the AF system on my Digital Rebel is automatically
disabled. I used an angled viewfinder with a 2x magnification, so that really
helped me to focus properly. I know you can tape over some of the contact pins
on the telecon. to trick the AF into working, but I haven't tried it yet.

Shooting the dragonflies in flight was the most difficult photography I've ever
done. I used just the 400mm lens (no telecon.) for this and added a 12mm extension
tube (the dragonflies were a few feet away, and the minimum focusing distance of the
lens by itself is about 12 feet). I tried using the AF, but it kept locking on the
background. Therefore I was forced to focus manually.

Dragonflies fly wildly about in a seemingly erratic pattern. Just getting the damn
bugs in my viewfinder was a challenge! I then had to focus and compose, and finally
hit the shutter button. I spent about an hour and snapped several dozen photos, and
the two you see above were the only decent ones!

* 400mm with 1.4x tele. and 1.6x crop factor = 896mm effective focal length! (35mm photography)

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Hunting Lease, Nov 2005.

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Lake Amistad, Del Rio, Nov 2005.

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Hunting Lease, Dec 2005.

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All images copyright of Thomas J. Avery.