Saturday, October 13, 2007

The great escapade

Alas, the exams are finally over, and while I can still enjoy before the results come in next week, I decided to make full use of time and catch up on photography. Today, along with my good buddy Samuel and his dad, we headed to Sungei Buloh nature reserve to do some wildlife photography, not exactly my forte and to my liking.

Today proved to be a wonderful eye-opener, we were there from early morning until noon when the lighting was harsh and the tide started to rise. Samuel, with his impressive knowledge about almost all birds there, introduced to me many of them, and it was a pure joy to be able to marvel at God's creation.

Wildlife photography proved to be extremely challenging at times, and it is a type of photography which requires good gear to get close to the subject. I brought along my cheapo Tamron 70-300mm, which proved not to be long enough to get those birdies far away, while Samuel used the monstrous EF 300mm f2.8 coupled with a 2X converter, and occasionally also a 1.4X added on. With a reach of more than 600mm on such a high grade lens, image quality was shocking and my Tamron felt like nothing beside it. We met some other photographers there with big lenses too, I personally got to touch and shoot with the Canon 600mm f4 on a 1D MarkII N which was the most satisfying thing to play with.

At times, some species of birds whiz past too fast to even aim and shoot, at times, the lighting isn't perfect, at times, the subject is too far away, at times, the fog/mist is too thick, and at times, the slightest movement causes it to scuffle off. All these difficulties showed me that wildlife photography needs much patience, a super steady hand and perseverance.

Well, I did get some good stuff, while many turned out crap. If I'm not wrong, this is a kingfisher I took on Samuel's 40D:

And we got to meet this guy quite close to us on the ground, bathed in warm morning sunlight:

At one of the observatory hides, we got this:

My Tamron wasn't really suited for shooting far away birds, as unsightly chromatic aberration usually showed up especially on white birds, the resolving power was bad, AF was slow and the reach was simply not sufficient. Hence, I realised that this lens was best suited for close-ups and tele macro shots, such as this:

and also this:

All in all, it was a pleasant introduction to wildlife, albeit a little ambitious, but definitely fun!

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