First day out with the Tamron SP 150-600mm VC G2 lens

Yesterday was my first spin out with Tamron USA’s updated G2 version of the acclaimed 150-600mm super telephoto lens.  Though I purchased the optional Tap-in Console for lens updating and fine tuning, I did not have time to initialize the device yet.  Hence, I unboxed the new birding lens, mounted it on my compact yet powerful Canon SL2 digital rebel, and took a drive to a nearby nature area, Great Swamp NWR.

Interestingly, I do not recall photographing a Gull of any sort before at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in the past.  I have been doing bird photography there for years… go figure.  Anyhow this handsome Ring-billed Gull was photographed from my car yesterday.  I shut off the engine to take the shot (too many vibrations and who needs the extra CO2 emissions anyhow).  In the caption for the photograph I have included specific camera settings.

Tamron SP 150-600mm VC G2 Birding Photography

Ring-billed Gull photographed with the Tamron SP 150-600mm VC G2 super telephoto lens + Canon SL2. 600mm, 1/640 f/6.3 ISO 200. Great Swamp NWR in New Jersey.

Below is a 100% crop from the above image.

Tamron 150-600 G2 sample image detail

100% crop of Ring-billed Gull Photograph. Tamron SP 150-600mm VC G2 + Canon SL2

Here is a Flickr link to view the full sized original 24 megapixel image of the Ring-billed Gull.

I find the results to be very good for keeping the aperture wide-open at F/6.3.  I find that most lenses get sharper when stopped down a couple of stops.  We might even see a bit more fine detail if I had taken this Gull image at F/8.0 versus F/6.3.  Below is a look at the G2 lens, I shot this in my home studio.

Bird Photography DSLR Lens

Tamron SP 150-600mm VC G2 Super Telephoto Lens which replaces my trusty G1 version which I have happily toted around for a few years.

 

Any questions or comments on the article?  Leave them on WordPress or email me at dave@daveblinder.com

 

 

 

Interested in spoiling yourself with this new lens?

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Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 Digital SLR Camera Body – WiFi Enabled

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Winter Hiking at Former Greystone Psychiatric Park / Central Park of Morris

I felt ambitious in today’s 8°F temperatures and took a short drive in search of winter birds and outdoors adventure.  After some internal debate, I settled on the Central Park of Morris County vicinity as I thought the diversity of trees and grounds might yield cold weather wildlife sightings.

Central Park of Morris

Upland meadow in Winter.  Former Greystone Pyschiatric Park now incorporated into Central Park of Morris and falling under the jurisdiction of Morris County Park Commission. 1/6/2018 photo by Dave Blinder.

The last time I visited this area, the final remnants of the Kirkbride building of the former Greystone Psychiatric Park was still being cleared away.  No public access had been possible due to safety precautions.  Ironically I had been subdued by local police for illegal “urban decay exploration” a couple of years back, which I find humorous because all of my time is spent photographing and studying solely nature.  This incident is story for another time.

Greystone Psychiatric Park nature walk photo

Meadow and Wetlands in Winter.  Former Greystone Pyschiatric Park now incorporated into Central Park of Morris and falling under the jurisdiction of Morris County Park Commission. 1/6/2018 photo by Dave Blinder.

As you can see from my mobile photographs, the former “No Trespassing” and “Keep Out” signage has been removed from the Kirkbride grounds as well as most adjacent lands.  I did observe newly posted signs by the Morris County Park Commission alerting hunters that hunting is by explicit permit only.

Pileated Woodpecker damage hole picture

Pileated Woodpecker cavities.  Former Greystone Pyschiatric Park now incorporated into Central Park of Morris and falling under the jurisdiction of Morris County Park Commission. 1/6/2018 photo by Dave Blinder.

I only encountered a few species of wildlife on my walk which is fine with me.  Pursuing wildlife is mostly just a vehicle I drive to get me outdoors.  Today’s sightings included: Red-tailed Hawk, Dark-eyed Junco, Song Sparrow, Gray Squirrel, White-tailed Deer (big bucks).  I also saw a good deal of Red Fox and Cotton-tailed Rabbit tracks dotting the frozen landscapes.

New Jersey hiking nature picture

Uphill meadow in Winter.  Former Greystone Pyschiatric Park now incorporated into Central Park of Morris and falling under the jurisdiction of Morris County Park Commission. 1/6/2018 photo by Dave Blinder.

The former Greystone grounds could use some help combatting invasive plants such as Multiflora Rose and Barberry.  However, the wildlife habitat still looked very good to me with mature trees including Pines, Cedar, Spruce, Oaks, and other trees which I have to study up on.  Conifers in particular are of high value in our area as they make for great shelter for various hawks and owls.  Fox and deer also find good shelter and bedding at the bases of some Conifers.

In my home area, central Morris County, we do not have much acreage of intact forest due to housing developments and extensive highways.  Hence, we should conserve each remaining stand of trees and acreage of meadow to provide homes for our native New Jersey wildlife.

X-country skiing NJ

Cross-country Ski Trail in Winter. Former Greystone Pyschiatric Park now incorporated into Central Park of Morris and falling under the jurisdiction of Morris County Park Commission. 1/6/2018 photo by Dave Blinder.

After doing a bit of internet research, I found this 2017 press release by the Morris County Government. 

“The (Morris County) Freeholders, in June 2016, subsequently approved a long-term management and use agreement with the state to manage the additional 126 Greystone acres for passive recreational, conservation, historic preservation or farmland use by the Park Commission…..”

“Under terms of the management and use agreement, the state would deliver the property to the county in suitable condition for passive public outdoor recreation, such as walking, hiking, picnicking, nature watching, or for conservation purposes. The county could add active recreation uses in the future.”

Active recreation most often means organized sports or playgrounds.  Ballfields and playgrounds mean the removal of wildlife habitat and potentially degrading nearby natural lands by way of herbicides, pesticides, and erosion.  For those of us who find great value, beauty, and of course the diverse health benefits of natural area it is important that we express our opinions to our voted representatives.

Local governments have tough shoes to fill as they must balance the needs of large populations.  However, in the most respectful way possible, nature lovers should “remain voices for the voiceless” and speak up for our trees, waterways, wildlife, and health concerns.  It can never hurt to send your local elected officials an email on topics of concern.  I plan on forwarding this article to both the park commission and freeholders to congratulate them on the public opening of this land and to speak of the high value of wildlife habitat conservation.  Don’t be shy, speak up.

New Jersey wetlands picture

Watnong Brook in Winter. Former Greystone Psychiatric Park now incorporated into Central Park of Morris and falling under the jurisdiction of Morris County Park Commission. 1/6/2018 photo by Dave Blinder.

If you would like to stretch your legs and walk these peaceful trails you use Google Maps to navigate to the nearest parking area.

 

For any comments or questions on the photographs or concepts in my article please contact dave@daveblinder.com

New Jersey Wildlife Photography: White-tailed Deer in Meadow

IMG_8426 copy

White-tailed Deer in Meadow
 
Mercer Meadows, New Jersey
 
Taken on a recent nature photography excursion, this frame is one of my favorite wildlife shots of the year. The soft light, swaying vegetation, and mostly concealed animal gave me an opportunity for a strong image. Photography and art are more about feel, emotion, and mood. Subject is not always paramount.
 
How would you describe the feeling of this image?

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Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD Full Resolution Macro

September in New Jersey can be a great time of year for photographing many type of caterpillars.  Monarch Caterpillars have especially nice patterning to them and I always look forward to capturing frames of them.  The cooperative caterpillar below provided a great opportunity to test the close-focusing ability of the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD All-In-One lens.

Tamron macro lens for Canon

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD All-In-One sample picture

The 18-400mm has a minimum focusing distance of 17.75″ (45cm) and a 1:2.9 maximum reproduction ration.  Translation = you can fill the well with small subject matter on this Tamron.  Download the full resolution straight out of camera (sooc) jpeg off my Canon Rebel SL2 from my Google Drive account

– https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwfEzS2JEk2ESEFoaml2UXlNTlk/view?usp=sharing

Camera settings for this picture:

Tamron 18-400mm handheld and wide open aperture at 400mm + Canon SL2

1/1000 F/6.3 ISO 400, Vibration Compenation (VC) On

Looking to order this lens?  Buy it now from my Amazon Affiliate links and help support my blog.

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD for Canon DSLRs – http://amzn.to/2xvjzbX

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 DI-II VC HLD for Nikon DSLRs – http://amzn.to/2xPqXj9

 

Do you have questions, comments, or feedback on this post?  Let me know!

Hawk Watch with Pete Dunne

Hawk Watch with Pete Dunne at New Jersey Audubon’s Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary​.  September 16, 2017.

I stopped over in Bernardsville on Saturday morning for a couple of hours to join in on the festivities. Hawkwatching is always a great reason to get outside, but having New Jersey’s most accomplished birding author Pete Dunne around is also a recipe for a good time.

Thanks also to Eric Stiles, Mike Anderson, Susan Garretson Friedman, and the other New Jersey Audubon​ staff behind the scenes who made all visitors feel welcome to this great free event.  Click on the thumbnails below to view larger photographs.

 

More details on the event in the Daily Record, write-up by Peggy Wright – http://www.dailyrecord.com/story/news/2017/09/16/eagle-eyed-watch-skies-hawk-migration/657970001/

Tamron 18-400mm Di II VC HLD does birds in flight

An unexpected recent handheld shot that worked out well for me.  I was outdoors photographing scenery and was fortunate to have the versatile Tamron 18-400mm Di II VC lens mounted to capture this Great Egret in flight.  The fine detail looks very good to me.

DaveBlinder GreatEgret Tamron 18400mm IMG_1601crop

Exposure details:

Tamron 18-400mm VC + Canon SL2 handheld

1/3200 F/8.0 IS 400

-1/3 in Aperture Priority exposure mode

AI Servo autofocus

Raw image quality

For a closer look at this image, please download the uncropped full-resolution image from my Google Drive account.

Tamron 18-400mm high resolution pictures

Full resolution sample images from Tamron USA‘s​ 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Model B028 ultra-telephoto all-in-one zoom lens

These are SOOC ( straight out of the camera ) JPEGs with no editing performed. Both shots are with the lens at full zoom, 400mm, at maximum aperture F/6.3 and taken on a 24mp SL2.

Tamron 18-400mm lens sample picture

Full Resolution SOOC sample image from the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Model B028 ultra-telephoto all-in-one zoom lens. Taken on a 24 megapixel Canon SL2 by Dave Blinder. Order via my Amazon affiliate link – http://amzn.to/2eMYfUO Nikon Mount

Flower photograph camera settings:

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Model B028

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR camera

Handheld with VC On (Vibration Control) at 400mm

1/640 F/6.3 ISO 400 using the Center Point One-Shot Autofocus and Auto White Balance

Tamron 18-400mm lens sample picture

Full Resolution SOOC sample image from the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Model B028 ultra-telephoto all-in-one zoom lens. Taken on a 24 megapixel Canon SL2 by Dave Blinder. Order via my Amazon affiliate link – http://amzn.to/2eMYfUO Nikon Mount

Bee photograph camera settings:

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Model B028

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR camera

Tripod-mounted VC Off (Vibration Control) at 400mm

1/60 F/6.3 ISO 800 using Manual Focus and Auto White Balance

 

Due to possible compression you may want to download the full pictures from my personal Google Drive – https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwfEzS2JEk2EbTVRR01oTEwxaTQ

To order these lenses now try my Amazon Affiliate links (gives me a small commission):

http://amzn.to/2xle2W3
Canon Mount

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Nikon Mount

Bird Photography in Cape May – American Goldfinch

I was recently down in Cape May to do some nature photography.  Since CM is the undisputed birding capital of New Jersey, it only makes sense to take a long telephoto lens along like the Tamron SP 150-600mm VC.  Below is one of my favorite captures from this excursion.

Bird Photography

A closeup view of a female American Goldfinch at rest on a Sunflower in Cape May, New Jersey.

Shutter speed: 1/500 Aperture: F/9.0 ISO: 200 in Aperture Priority Mode +2/3 Exposure Compensation.  The Focal Length is 500mm.  Other settings: VC On, Manfrotto tripod, Spot Metering, Manual White Balance on my Canon EOS 7D

There was a flock of at least 1 or 2 dozen Goldfinches busily feeding in this Sunflower Patch, but upon my approach they retreated to the trees which is the expected response from most songbirds.  Most wildlife is genetically imprinted to flee from humans, as they were historically a food source in the days when hunting was our only means of sustenance.  Experience and literature will tell us that individual bird species have their own expected “flush range”.  Meaning different birds will typically fly away faster than others.  In my personal experience, a very slow but direct approach on a feeding Goldfinch may occasionally get you as close as you want to get.

This particular female American Goldfinch did not fly when the rest of her flock retreated, instead it appeared to me that this bird was mostly basking in the warmth of the sunlight.  She was splitting her time between preening (tending to her feathers) and plucking seeds from the Sunflower head below her.  After years of bird observation, I could tell that this bird was relaxed because it showed no intention of flying away and also lacked the nervous head movements and body twitching that comes before the songbird flushes (flying away).  I got my tripod to the desired photographic height and slowly worked my way forward, one large deliberate by quiet footstep at a time.  The photo featured on this page is not cropped whatsoever and I would not have wanted to shoot it any tighter.  After I was done making my captures I exited the scene in the same slow and deliberate manner to not cause undue stress to the passerine (songbird).

Sea Isle Reflections

This is an impromptu composition that was dictated by the lighting conditions.  My intention for this night photography session was to photograph stars in the sky, but the punchy light from the moon and the promenade limited the definition possible in the sky.

Fine Art Landscape Photo

Fine Art Photograph taken at night at the Jersey Shore in Sea Isle City

The camera settings here are a focal length of 18mm, aperture at F/5.6 and ISO speed of 400.  Increasing the exposure would have blown out the highlights and decreasing the exposure would have rendered the scene too dark for my tastes.  I originally started off at a higher ISO but the image looked washed out so I lowered it a full ISO stop.  I do not shoot still photos in incremental ISO’s as anything other than native ISO values can deteriorate dynamic range or image quality.  Other settings: RAW file format, Auto White Balance, Mirror Lock Up, 2 Second Timer, VC (stabilization) off, tripod firmly in the sand

The composition in this photo is a pretty straight-forward rule-of-thirds setup.  The horizon is placed about 1/3 of the way down from the top of the frame and the houses occupy approximately 2/3 of the horizontal length of the frame.  Putting those elements dead center in the photo would have killed the dynamics in my opinion.

American Goldfinch DSLR video; filmed in Cape May, New Jersey

It was a real treat to get some close footage of our vibrant state bird recently.  I knew that I would want footage from several different angles to create diversity… even in a short wildlife video.  Varying the focal lengths and my angle of view on the birds was how I tackled that challenge.

Footage shot in 1080p at 30fps on the Canon EOS 7D with the tripod mounted Tamron SP 150-600mm VC zoom lens.  DSLR was set to the desired shutter speed of 1/60th of a second and I adjusted the aperture and ISO value to get as good of an exposure as possible for each clip.  Unfortunately it was a windy day so I had to strip the audio of the birds interacting and feeding.  I don’t think anyone would have enjoyed listening to the hissing and popping caused by the wind hitting the microphone outdoors.