EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS
I have owned this lens for over two years and it has been a real workhorse for me because of its versatility. This is not the sharpest, fastest or most convenient lens that I own but when I combine what it gives me shot after shot it is indispensable to me. I will discuss some of the things I don’t like about the lens and then talk about its positives.
The push pull zoom is something I still don’t care for. It takes both hands to manipulate it if it is in a locked position. Fortunately I haven’t had any of the dust problems that some people have talked about because of this design, but I find it to be inconvenient. Also the lens for me seems a bit slow on the auto-focus. This has become very evident to me when I am trying to lock on a bird in flight.
Now to the reasons why it has become my favorite walk-around lens. The tremendous versatility it provides because of its zoom range is valuable to me. I find that I use this lens for shooting landscapes as well as wildlife. I may have the lens mounted on a tripod capturing an image of the patterns and textures of the terrain when I notice a bird come into my vicinity. I can immediately adjust to capture that image without changing my lens. This has even become more of an advantage as I have changed to the 5D Mark II with the full frame sensor. I really enjoy being able to use the 100 mm at its full focal length for the landscapes.
The lens is also fairly light to hand hold and the IS feature works very well. The images are sharp and only start to soften slightly as I use the maximum aperture f5.6 at 400 mm. You will find it is important to remember to turn off the IS when you mount it on a tripod and turn it back on again when you hand hold. I fail to do this once in a while and the image sharpness does suffer.
Below are some images that I have taken with this lens in the Palouse that shows its versatility.
Road to the Clouds by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 200 f/13 1/320 200 mm
Ring-necked Pheasant by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 800 f/5.6 1/250 260 mm
Red Combine by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 200 f/10 1/500 400 mm
Red Barn with Fence by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 250 f/11 1/500 120 mm
Mule Deer in Flight by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved - ISO 1600 f/5.6 1/250 400 mm
I would highly recommend this lens to anyone wanting a good quality walk-around zoom lens. Thanks to its versatility and portability, I think you will find it will become one of your favorite tools as well.
Posted in Palouse Landscapes, Wildlife in the Palouse
Tagged animal, barn, clouds, combine, deer, harvest, harvester, landscape, mule deer, Palouse, tractor, windmill
I have been using the Nik software Color Efex Pro 3.0 plug-in for Aperture for a couple of months. It has become an integral part of my workflow on many images. I will be showing a couple of adjustments to an image that I feel are valuable and very easily applied with this software.
I enjoy shooting large agricultural equipment in the working environment so that is what I will use for the demonstration of this program. My favorite equipment company for images is John Deere because the bright green and yellow colors always stand out so well against the landscape or sky. The first image below is the original image as it was captured.
Combine at Work 1 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
In the 2nd image I added a polarizing filter that is available in the Nik software. This filter has several adjustments available. They are set to the following defaults:
Rotate – 90%
Strength – 100% (60%) In parentheses it shows the opacity that I set for this image.
These adjustments with this filter give a little more pop to the image and also takes away some of the glare.
Combine at Work 2 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
In the 3rd image the tonal contrast filter was applied. The adjustments that are available are shown with their defaults and my adjustment in parentheses.
Highlight contrast – 30 (15)
Midtone contrast – 30 (15)
Shadows contrast – 30 (20)
Combine at Work 3 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
I feel this filter gives a little more definition to the image. Each of these adjustments was slight but each one helps to enhance the image as I had seen it. I hope these adjustments are clearly demonstrated event though the images are small.
This software program has many other filters which are easy to apply and the opacity can also be adjusted. Another important feature is that you can apply multiple filters as I demonstrated to the same image. I hope you have found this information to be useful and consider adding this useful program to your workflow.
Patterns of Harvest by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
I have found that while photographing the contours, patterns and textures in the Palouse, it can be interesting to include some of the machinery that helps to create the landscape. Just including a tractor or combine during harvest can tell a completely different story.
The picture above shows a combine at work during the wheat harvest. It always amazes me as I watch the very steep terrain these harvesters are capable of negotiating. Notice the dust that is present in the image. Areas where farming takes place are usually dusty so be ready to protect your equipment as you are shooting. Also wear boots as many times you may sink in above your ankles in the dirt as you walk the terrain.
I generally try to talk with the farmer or driver of the combine and ask a few questions to show interest in what they are doing. Many times they will ask me if I would like to look inside or I have even been given rides at times in the cab. This gives a completely different view that most people don’t have the opportunity to see.
To give you an idea many of these combines have a system that allows the cab to remain level no matter what the terrain. In addition the newer ones have electronics on board that give critical information such as the number of bushels per acre that is being harvested. The information can be downloaded later onto a computer. Of course air conditioning and music are available as well. If you get the opportunity to visit the area, interact and you may enjoy a ride as well.
As you travel the Palouse look for opportunities to utilize the farm machinery whether it is new or old, working or just standing idle in a field. These large pieces of equipment can add a new story to your images about the work that takes place in the creation of these artistic vistas of farmland that we enjoy.