Thursday, 18 March 2010

Doesn't the time fly by?

Well here I am today, another step nearer the three score and ten years. As I get older the years seem to get shorter. For a while I have been looking in to getting a longer focus lens and two days ago I finally made my mind up to get the Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 IS USM as a birthday present to myself. I ordered it from a camera shop in Cardiff and was pleased when it arrived less than 24hrs later. That gave me a chance to have a play with it yesterday afternoon.

Before the new lens arrived I spotted this Wood Pigeon collecting nesting material.
Clockwise from top left -
Breaking off a twig
Flying off with it.
Resting on the telegraph pole.
Taking the twig into the Leylandii.

Nesting Material

The following were taken with the new lens, usually at 400mm and still needing to be cropped:
Lighting conditions were very variable with one minute sunlight and the next grey cloud. As this lens is a little slower than the 70-200mm I had to increase the ISO to keep the speed up in the dull conditions.All were hand held.

Male Greenfinch singing in the tree top.
Male Greenfinch

Male Chaffinch
Male Chaffinch

Wood Pigeon on the roof.
Wood Pigeon

Collared Dove having a doze.
Do Not Disturb

Wren skulking in the shadows.

It is going to take some time  getting used to the extra weight of the 100-400mm lens. I think I will have to start indulging in some wrist strengthening exercises.


  1. Firstly John, a very very happy birthday to you :D

    You've just purchased the same lens that I (and Keith) have. I'm sure it will give you as much pleasure and fun using it as it does me.

    The pictures you've taken so far are great - it's so good to be able to get that bit closer to your chosen subject isn't it! Lovely wren picture in particular...

  2. John, Many Happy Returns. Looks a good lens, I purchased a Sigma 50mm-500mm and it's fine suspect your decision was the better one.

  3. Thank you Tricia.

    Ah, I'm in excellent company then. Looking back that is the best photo of a Wren I've managed so far. Yes. It is nice to be able to bring the subjects closer in view.

    Just waiting for a UV filter to arrive before I take it out and about. Got my eye on a visit to Snipe Dales nature reserve when conditions get a bit brighter.

  4. Thank you Adrian. I think yours is the one they dub the Bigma? I've been very pleased with my smaller L series Canon lens so I though I would stick with them.

  5. Many happy returns John. Its a great lens and you will have a lot of success with it.

  6. Happy Birthday John :-D

    What wonderful shots from your new lens! The wren is particularly good but I have to say I always love to see the collared dove with its eyes closed. I love their sleepy lids :-D

    Enjoy your new lens John. I’m trying to work out how much closer you must get than my one at 55-200.

    I’ve been enjoying your recent posts. Good to hear that you’ve still interest in your nestbox, let’s hope the two pairs don’t fight for it and you lose both. That happened to us last year.

    Your birthday is an easy one for me now, one week after my daughter’s and two weeks before mine ;-) Have a great day!!

  7. As ever, some wonderful photos! I particularly like the one of a wren.

  8. HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN! Many happy returns :) What a lovely birthday present, you are going to have such fun with it and already have great results. All the photos are lovely and you have done the near impossible (in my opinion) by getting such a good photo of a Wren, they do skulk around so!

    I have the Canon 55-250mm and also the Sigma 50-500mm IS lenses. I have never yet taken the Sigma out with me though as it is heavy and I have never got round to buying a tripod. I would, at the time, have liked the one you have bought but as you know it is very expensive and at that time I was a little worried my enthusiasm might be a 'nine day wonder', happily it wasn't :)

    Great photos too of the Wood Pigeon with the nesting material showing that you do a very good job with any lens!

    Enjoy the rest of your special day John.

  9. Thank you Roy. I think the lens need some good bright conditions to get the best out of it but I will enjoy using it.

  10. Thank you Shirl. I was pleased to find the Wren in the open for once. They hop about so much most of the time I can only see part of it.

    I'll try to remember to put up a comparison shot at 200 and 400mm at the weekend then you can see the difference.

    Another quick spring clean in the nestbox this morning and the first appearance of a hedgehog last night.

  11. Thank you GLW. I was pleased to get a complete Wren in frame for the first time.

  12. Thank you Jan. I had the 9 day wonder problem when I bought my first Canon camera s/h and within a month was wishing I had gone for a better model - which I did in the end.

    It was a rare sight to see the Wren in the open so I was lucky to be able to snap it.

    The 55-250mm sounds a good landscape as well as wildlife compromise and you get lovely shots from it. The longer lenses are so much heavier and bulkier to cart about.

  13. Hello again Jan. Received the e-card, a very kind thought. Thank you.

  14. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU JOHN. Lovely set of pictures, I hope you have many hours of fun with you new lens:-)

  15. Thank you Linda. I'm sure I will.

  16. Very Happy Birthday - you seem to have got to grips with your new toy very quickly... lovely shots of the Woodpidgeon as well as the little Wren - Wren's being so difficult to capture as they don't stay still for long - we have an old chicken house here and I'm sure I've discovered a wren's nest in the making - lots of moss to start with and I await the progress! Hope you're enjoying a good week - Miranda

  17. Thank you Miranda. As you say Wrens very rarely stay still long enough to be photographed. I look forward to hearing of any progress with the Wren's nest.

  18. John, I'm late; but belated birthday wishes. I hope the birthday went well. Excellent choice of birthday present, you won't be disappointed with it.
    It can get heavy after a while though lol

  19. Thank you Keith. I was a bit disappointed when I first tried it but the dull conditions meant slow shutter speeds and photos not as sharp as I was expecting. Those taken in bright weather are much better.

  20. Hi John. Strange you mention about the sharpness. When I first got mine I felt the same. A little disappointed. Stick with it. It does take a bit of getting used to.

  21. Happy Birthday, John and many happy returns! That is the same lens i have and I have been very happy with it. I often use it handheld, but the photos turn out much better if I can brace one or both elbows on something steady. it takes only the slightest wiggle of that long lens to make things a little unsharp. Love the photo of the woodpidgeon flying off with the twig!


  22. Thank you Wilma. It seems to be a popular lens for wildlife photography. As you say at 400mm it doesn't take much wobble to blur the photo a bit. Given bright conditions it gives really good results.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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