Friday, June 12, 2009

Shooting long lenses from a small boat

On Wednesday, a friend from work invited a couple of us to go boating off the Monterey coast. The trip had two purposes, one was photography of the wildlife and the coast from the ocean, the other fishing. I figured it would be extremely challenging to photograph wildlife with a long lens on a small boat swaying back and forth on the ocean but I decided to bring my biggest lenses anyway. I also took the opportunity to borrow the D3x from work and had the 200-400 on there. My 1Ds3 had the 800 and in addition I also had a 30D with 70-200 and my D700 with the 14-24.

Photography was even more of a challenge than I had expected. The ocean was relatively calm and even then the boat would rock back and forth considerably. This mean getting a critically sharp image at 800mm on a 21mp body was very very challenging and furthermore careful framing was pretty much impossible. I took many pictures with all the cameras but wasn't very optimistic.

To my pleasant surprise, I ended up getting several images I am very pleased with, images that are critically sharp and interestingly composed. Furthermore, the light was splendid. It was a little overcast early in the morning but while the clouds were lifting the sun would pour through at times with beautiful soft light. Also, being able to shoot with the land (or foggy hills) in the background was great.

I have picked two images for this post, the first is of a bunch of Common Murre. The contrast of the black and white as well as the fog in the background makes of an interesting image.

The second is has several Brandt's Cormorants and Seals. This is probably one of my favourite images with the Cormorants looking all over the place and the little Seal who looks like he's hiding in the rocks.

I'll be posting many more images from the trip over the next few days.

Technical Specs: First: Canon 1Ds3, 800 IS, f/5.6, 1/800s, ISO 400. Second: Nikon D3x, 200-400 VR @ 400mm, f/4, 1/500s, ISO 280.

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