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  1. #11
    gr82bart's Avatar
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    I hardly shoot wildlife, but I've bookmarked Moose Peterson's Website for FAQs on wildlife photography. As Dave says, he too shoots with a fast 400f2.8 and a 600f4 with teleconverters. Plus he says a fast motor drive is necessary. And he looks like a BIG guy.

    On the other extreme is is this nut case Timothy Treadwell who shot grizzlies with like a 50 mm lens! He got eaten for his efforts and was imortalized in the indie movie
    Grizzly Man.

    Regards, Art.
    Visit my website at www.ArtLiem.com
    or my online portfolios at APUG and ModelMayhem

  2. #12
    donbga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OllyB
    I am looking for some advice and know this is the place to go for level headed responses.....

    I am trying to spend as much time as possible concentrating on wildlife photography but am finding it difficult to get results on anything other than common garden birds and captive animals. This is mainly due to me being 'larger than the average bear' (height wise although the trousers do seem to be getting tighter lately!) and therefore not overly blessed with stealth. In my mind the alternative is to go for longer range lenses (I'm currently using a Sigma 70-300 telephoto on a Nikon F80) but the credit card shrunk at the sight of the price tags.

    I've done the usual trawling through Ebay but still cannot find anything that falls into a reasonable range. Has anyone got any tips or tricks for overcoming this ?? I've looked at hides but most of the photography is to be done on common land so poses the obvious threat of removal by our light fingered friends. What are peoples thoughts on teleconvertors ??

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Olly
    Look for a Tamron f 2.8 300mm with a tele converter. This is a manual focus lens that is tack sharp and fast.
    Don Bryant

  3. #13
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donbga
    Look for a Tamron f 2.8 300mm with a tele converter. This is a manual focus lens that is tack sharp and fast.

    I agree Don,

    I just sold my MF 300 f/2.8 a month ago, in favor of the AF focus model, but I can tell you what, if you want a good lens, that is tack sharp and cheap, they are a fantastic lens, I bought mine new and never once had a problem with it in the 15 years I owned it and the person that bought it from me is thrilled with it as well, on ebay, the darn things are dirt cheap right now and adaptable to just about any camera out there, you can get the lens for around $300 to $400 and the converters to match it normally go for less than $50 each, one of the best values in big glass now a days.

    Dave

  4. #14
    donbga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gr82bart
    On the other extreme is is this nut case Timothy Treadwell who shot grizzlies with like a 50 mm lens! He got eaten for his efforts and was imortalized in the indie movie
    Grizzly Man.

    Regards, Art.
    This will sound harsh, but it serves him right. Grizzlies need to be respected. They will chew your ass up in a heart beat. He was on their turf and violated their protocol.
    Don Bryant

  5. #15
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donbga
    This will sound harsh, but it serves him right. Grizzlies need to be respected. They will chew your ass up in a heart beat. He was on their turf and violated their protocol.
    Tim was a bi-polar fool, that refused to take his meds and thought he could commune with the bears, he was a very foolish man, that through his warped world, got himself another person and two bears killed.

    I say this and I knew him personally, he was the best example of what not to do, and those of us in the industry of teaching living with wildlife safely will be trying to undo what he did for years to come.

    Dave

  6. #16

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    I've done the usual trawling through Ebay but still cannot find anything that falls into a reasonable range. Has anyone got any tips or tricks for overcoming this ?? I've looked at hides but most of the photography is to be done on common land so poses the obvious threat of removal by our light fingered friends. What are peoples thoughts on teleconvertors ??


    Olly,
    Two ideas come to mind immediately. Firstly, super-long lenses are not strictly needed even by "big boys", but, if one is really needed, and cash is short, try a good mirror 500mm, or, if you're feeling adventurous, one of those pre-set long-focus lenses of the same focal length. The mirror has the advantage of focussing much closer (usually around 3 meters or so) and faster. Before the flames begin, yes, there are those pesky "doughnuts" in the image if it contains brightly highlighted bits in the background. However, in most cases, this is not a real handicap when used in a forested area. The pre-set has the advantage of a real, honest-to-goodness aperture as well as generally being contrastier than a mirror. I use both types as well as 100-300mm and 85-210mm zooms, which leads to the next thought:
    Instead of a blind, use one of those netting types of hides. Folded, they take up little space and can be used anywhere. The trick is to find a spot, preferably next to a tree, set up your tripod and cameras and throw the netting over yourself and the set-up, leaving the area in front of your lens/lenses clear. Sitting is suggested as this will break up your profile so you don't look like a human. Best place is near a small pool of water with forest around it. The birds and other animals, naturally, will, sooner or later, come down for a drink. I don't know the situation in your neck of the woods, but around here there are a lot of snakes, some quite dangerous (cane-brake rattlers, coral, and copperheads are a few) that tend to hang around water a lot. The best advice I can give is to simply let it slide on by without undue commotion.
    As to shorter zooms like a 100-300mm, these are most useful for accessing areas higher or lower than yourself or hanging over water or bog. Also, many times, even when just standing still out in the open, animals can be contrary and land or walk almost right on top of you. The zooms come in handy for such tight quarters. I once had an osprey (fish-hawk to some) land on a snag less than ten feet in front of me. Unfortunately, I had next to no time to get over the shock before it realized that there was a human presence and it took off (with its back to me, naturally). I learned to be more aware of such opportunities from that day and prepare for it as a matter of course.

    Jon
    from Deepinaharta, Georgia

  7. #17
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    As a person that has taken wildlife photography for a number of years, I would never recommend a beginner start out with a mirror, they, because they are so light, lead to very bad technique, besides lacking in the quality department, if I were to ever use another mirror it would be a version of them that is called the "Solid Cat" mirror lens, then you get away with out the problems associated with a normal mirror lens, but that said, the 500mm f/8 presets are a far better choice, and often times I see the old 800mm f/8 lenses on ebay that go for very reasonable prices, I picked one up for $250 and it is actually very good quality, but you have to use stop down metering and if you don't have a good tripod, forget it, just won't work.

    Dave

  8. #18
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    Many thanks for all the great advice.

    I agree with the reading suggestion and have already worked my way through all of the Andy Rouse collection, will make Moose my next stop.

    I guess that whilst whittling down any new equipment options I shall use the opportunity to look more at my technique than whats in the camera bag.

    Thanks again and hopefully there will be some images to follow.

    Olly
    "Take nothing but Photographs, leave nothing but footprints"

  9. #19
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    Yeah, I think to sum up . . .
    2x tele. Moderate zoom or FFL lens. Tripod. Blind. And above all, know your subject's habits. Place yourself where you know they will be and they will be more comfortable coming to you than seeing you lumbering their way. Good luck with the critters.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
    APUG BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE
    DE Darkroom

    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Satinsnow
    As a person that has taken wildlife photography for a number of years, I would never recommend a beginner start out with a mirror, they, because they are so light, lead to very bad technique, besides lacking in the quality department, if I were to ever use another mirror it would be a version of them that is called the "Solid Cat" mirror lens, then you get away with out the problems associated with a normal mirror lens, but that said, the 500mm f/8 presets are a far better choice, and often times I see the old 800mm f/8 lenses on ebay that go for very reasonable prices, I picked one up for $250 and it is actually very good quality, but you have to use stop down metering and if you don't have a good tripod, forget it, just won't work.

    Dave
    Yeah, Dave, I see your point vis-a-vis a newbie with a mirror. However, one must learn sometime and somehow and a mirror lens *can* be easier for a newbie if only because it doesn't require much thought beyond focussing. A pre-set presents different operating problems and can be distracting, especially to folks who are generally used to auto-aperture lenses. As well, compact size and light weight are conducive to actually *using* a long lens. A lot of people give up on long tele-photography simply because the long-focus and true tele lenses are a PITA and bulky. One other, less considered, point is the mirror's close-focus ability compared to comparable refractors. I consider the 10 to 30 ft. range rather critical, particularly in bird photography and a mirror allows the use of a relatively powerful tele in such close quarters. The contrast problem is alleviated considerably at such close range if only because there is less atmosphere to get in the way. All that said, I personally prefer a long-focus lens for the majority of my wildlife stuff. I don't consider using extension tubes on a true long lens a viable alternative to closer focussing except in instances where I know I won't need the longer reach for subjects farther away, which is almost never. That's the job for the zooms.
    As to stop-down metering, it is often far more accurate, in my opinion. And don't get me started on tripods, please! If I had a nickel for every time I stressed the use of a decent tripod to someone, I'd have Bill Gates for lunch. And, yes, you can pretty much forget about getting anything worthwhile without one when shooting with long lenses, that's for sure.

    Jon
    from Deepinaharta, Georgia

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