Florida Brown Pelican
A Florida Brown Pelican sitting on a pier preens in the late afternoon sun.
The relatively flat Captiva Island landscape means that the warm late-day sun reaches the island's eastern/bay-side dock piers - providing great lighting for photographing the pelicans that like to sit on these piers.
I carried the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens with the Canon EF 2x III Extender for my lightweight bird lens on this trip. The f/8 image quality from this combo delivered very impressive results.
600mm f/8.0 1/640s ISO 400
Christmas Cactus Flower 2x
To get more magnification from the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L USM Lens, add a Canon EF 2x II or III Extender. The resulting 2x magnification is quite impressive.
360mm f/11.0 1/160s ISO 100
Shooting Sports with Extenders
There are few lenses that work as well with extenders as the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens. This shot was taken with a Canon EF Extender 2x III mounted for a 600mm focal length.
The results are remarkable.
600mm f/5.6 1/2000s ISO 320
Drying Brown Pelican
A Brown Pelican dries itself in the warm late-day sunlight.
For ideal bird photography lighting, I oriented myself so that I was between the sun and the pelican (or nearly so).
600mm f/8.0 1/250s ISO 160
Little Blue Heron in Corkscrew Swamp Wildlife Refuge
Corkscrew Swamp Wildlife Refuge is a great place to photograph wildlife - from Painted Buntings to butterflies to alligators to Cottonmouth Water Moccasins to various wading birds and much more. This Little Blue Heron was intently hunting below the boardwalk.
I carried the 300 f/2.8 L II and 1.4x III combination while exploring the boardwalk. And I carried them in a Think Tank Photo Glass Taxi when not actively shooting. Not long after this shot, I opened the pack - and a camera body cap with a rear lens cap attached rolled out, across the boardwalk and into the alligator-infested water below. While I was not happy about the loss of the caps, I was even more disturbed to have put litter in the water. at this great place. After finding a refuge worker, I was given permission to hang over the edge of the boardwalk (while being held onto) and retrieve the still-floating caps using two large, dead sticks (that I had to also-retrieve) as chopsticks. The retrieval was successful (and entertaining to those watching I'm sure). Phew.
600mm f/8.0 1/100s ISO 1250
Airplane Over Harvest Moon at 1680mm
I decided that, with a clear sky, I was going to stack a pair of extenders to the back of my Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II USM Lens and capture the "Harvest Moon" (the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox).
Stacking a Canon EF 1.4x Extender with a Canon EF 2x Extender requires a 12mm extension tube to be mounted between the two – to make the fit possible. The result is 600mm x 2 x 1.4 = 1680mm = Wow!
While you should not expect amazing image quality from this setup, the tight angle of view delivered by 1680mm is quite amazing. So tight that tracking the moon through the frame is a constant task. And, avoiding vibrations is a challenge. I opted to use mirror lockup with the 10 second self-timer to make sure that the camera fully settled down before the shutter release.
I was trying different exposure settings and verifying the results on the LCD. During one such check, I saw a black spot on the moon. My first thought was that I had a piece of dust on my sensor. Zooming in revealed otherwise.
I live well over an hour from the nearest large airport. The sky was black and I had no idea that there were any airplanes in the area. Using the 10 second timer, with the narrow angle of view, meant that I was predicting where the moon would be in the frame at shutter release. Not only did the airplane happen to cross the moon at the exact time of the shutter release,, it happened to be in a perfect location over the moon. The timing was divine.
This image is an un-touched and uncropped (but reduced in size of course) conversion of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III RAW file. Photography is so fun.
1680mm f/11.0 1/80s ISO 800
Florida Brown Pelican on a Pier
The piers on the east/bay side of Captiva Island are great places to find Brown Pelicans - and late in the day is the ideal time to photograph these very interesting birds hanging out there.
With a mostly-still bird and adequate time to capture the shot, I was able to handhold this 600mm-effective lens and extender combination at a shutter speed of 1/30 second.
600mm f/11.0 1/30s ISO 200