For those of you that follow me on Flickr will know that last week my 500mm F4 VR finally showed up at Henry's. I've been dieing to get out and test this lens since the min I laid my hands on it but was unable to until this past Sunday. I really wanted to give this lens a real test and what better place to do this then Cape St.Mary's. It is home to thousands of Gannets, Razorbills, Kittiwake, Common and Thick-Billed Murres and plenty more...
So 3:30 am off I went with my buddy Brendan to test this lens out. Upon our arrive I figured the photo gods wanted to play a sick joke on me as the fog was so thick we could barely see the visitors center only some 20 yards away from us. We sat praying for the fog to lift as Horned Larks danced on the barrens in front of us...occasionally the sun would try its hardest to break through and this is when I decided to grab a few frames of this back light Horned Lark
the fog continued to win the battle and we had to sit and watch as a male Northern Harrier made two passes within feet of us.
As our hope was slowly slipping away the sun made a finally push and the fog began to lift. We grabbed our gear and headed down the 5 km walk to Bird Rock. I was happily surprised that the extra pound of weight isn't noticeably at all when carrier this lens. It seems Nikon has balanced this one much better then the 200-400mm F4.
One of my target species for the day was the Razorbill. I've seen them in the past but never photographed one. The moment we arrived at the sea stack I noticed one razorbill hanging out on the cliffs edge. I quick got into position and captured a few frames. It was hard to find a good angle to separate him from the rocks and it turned out he would be the only close encounter we would have of one for the day.
After seeing the Razorbill my attention quickly shifted to a Northern Gannet sitting nicely on its only little rock perch. It was at that time that I truly realized the reach of the 700mm. As I've taken pictures of Gannets on this very same rock in the past but this time I was able to shoot from a greater distance.
It appeared this was a female and she was preparing a nest as you will see in the video below. I'm very new to video so sorry if the quality isn't great and for the dust spots which I don't know how to remove from video yet.
The shooting area at Cape St.Mary's can feel very restricting at times in regards to composition since you are limited in space to move around. Many times I find myself right at the edgeof the cliff trying to capture that unique point of view but trust me...you dont want to fall
With some moving around and a little luck I was able to capture the following image which has been one I have wanted for years and without the 500mmF4 and Tele 1.4x I wouldnt have been able to capture this image.
I also grabbed this frame as well from the same location which I really like
So far the morning was turning out great and I was starting to get the feel for my new lens.
Check back as part two of this post will be up soon...