Categories
Corvallis Oregon Photography

I rented a Canon 300mm F4L and I loved it!

During the pandemic lockdown, we’ve been heading out to the Finley Wildlife Refuge quite a bit to get out of the house and enjoy the birds. I previously rented the Nikon P1000 super zoom and visited the refuge. After returning that camera, I turned back to the Canon 80D I already own. I use a 70-200mm F4L for that camera but wanted something with a bit more reach to get the small birds and prehistoric herons. I ended up renting a Canon 300mm F4L IS and a 2x teleconverter.

Right off the bat, the teleconverter wasn’t really for me. I’ve seen some nice results posted online from other users but running around hand-held, I wasn’t able to get sharp results. It also disabled most of the 80D focus features and required going with manual focus in most cases. Here is probably my best shot with the 300mm and 2x converter:

Spring 2020

This quick hand-held of Pepper also turned out well:

Spring 2020

The ten day rental with both the 300mm and 2x converter, only cost $141 with a discount. I didn’t use the teleconverter for the rest of the rental but at that price I didn’t get too upset.

Here are the other shots I got that really turned out great. One of the best features of this lens is that it’s not only great for reach, but also can focus at 5ft for awesome macro images as well. These are processed through Photoshop with mild RAW filter adjustments and some cropping:



My conclusion for this lens is that I want to buy it! The image stabilization is a little slow, but once used to it, the hand-held quality of these shots is awesome! It’s an older model at this point, debuting in 2015 I believe, and brand new it comes in around $1,100. While I’ve seen some used for about 60% of that on eBay, the rental I had was quite noisy and I’d want it brand new so I could care for it appropriately. I’ve been tempted by the similarly priced 400mm F4L, but it doesn’t have the stabilization. Cropping pictures from the 300 turned out to have very little loss of sharpness and detail, even on a crop body and hand-held.

If you’d like to try out a rental before buying, check out LensRental.com and this discount for first time users. They make it easy to rent through the website, and the shipping back is a breeze with everything included. I get a perk from you clicking that link but I also have had great experiences renting from them.

dc

Categories
Corvallis Oregon Photography

Nikon P1000 Wrap Up and COVID-19

My intention was to make use of the Nikon P1000 in different situtations each afternoon and evening for the week I had rented it. Then the COVID-19 curtailments hit the OSU campus (my day job) and my plans were out the window as we all shifted into high gear to accomodate. Unfortunately I didn’t really have time to make full use of the camera during the rental period. I even extended the rental after realizing it was going to be busy but the situation unfolded very quickly and the spare time never really materialized.

With the pity party out of the way, I did still learn alot about the camera.

First of all, this is not a camera for beginners or casual shooters. You have to have a pretty good idea of what you’re intending to capture and how you’ll prepare to get the quality that many P1000 users publish on social media. I followed the Nikon P1000 Photography group on Facebook and was routinely impressed with the quality and professional results shared. Unfortunatley I was largely unable to match the effort during the 10 rental.

Here is what I was able to produce with limited time under the circumstances:

This is Mary’s Peak. just outside Corvallis
My family moved to Corvallis in 1980 and this backdrop was ever-present in my childhood. The view still stops me dead today and invokes memories of my youth.
This was taken on Sunday after a week or so of rain and clouds, but a very cold morning to follow. This always rinses the atmosphere and the following day has the clearest sky.
This is from the same location fully zoomed, no digital crop. It’s handheld, but with a tripod you’d easily be able to see the weather station at the top much clearer.
We went to the Finley Wildlife Refuge to catch the migrating geese but they had already moved on. These ducks were about 300 yards out.

Here’s what it looked like earlier on March 1st:

My best of the week was this video of the super moon. While the result was good, it would’be been better out in the country. I got this in my back yard just over the neighbors roof. The heat rising off her roof distorted the edge in particular, and the focus wasn’t perfect. On the other hand, I was exhausted after a few days of intense work and just put the tripod in place and pressed go. All things considred, not a bad result:

My main takeaways:

  • This camera takes time to master, not only in it’s technical abilities, but your time to adaquately prepare. Tripod, location, remote trigger, weather, etc… But get everything right and this camera produces pro results. I wish I had had the time to master it.
  • I can now see how an even more robust tripod could’ve yielded even better results. Again, you have to know what to plan for.
  • In the end, it’s $1,000 dollars and while it’s trump card is the amazing 125x zoom (3000mm equivalent), it’s not really a “bridge camera” in my mind.

In the end, the results from my Sony HX400V are still so comparible, it doesn’t warrant the additional purhcase. Further it makes me wonder what I could do to take advantage of my Canon 80D and 70-200mm f/4L to get similar results and at a higher quality.

But I’m glad lensrental.com had this avaialble to try out. Their service was easy to use, thought out, and safe both ways with a hard case and return shipping in the same box. I’m not being paid for that endoresement, but I appreciate a well designed online business. Edit: If you use this link, you’ll get $25 off your first rental.

Being quarantined is rough but does allow for self indulgent exploration of abondoned hobbies. Be well,

dc

Categories
Automotive Oregon

Attending EESCC Event 3 AutoCross

As of right now, it’s my birthday next week and I think my first wish will be to attend the autocross this weekend with EESCC. If you search my site, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of this Eugene based organization as they run a professional event with a lot of friendly community feel. See below for some video of me in the S2000 when I first got the car. I haven’t been in a few years and I’m really looking forward to it. Plus I’ll be joining my buddy Gary from OSU who brings out his Cadillac Seville. I’ve included a video of his as well below.

dc

Here is a video of my buddy Gabe when we were actively running S2000blog.com:

And here is a run I did myself after just a couple weeks of owning the S2000:

And here’s Gary in his latest run this year:

Categories
Corvallis Oregon Personal and Family

Long Overdue: Actually Using My New Specialized Bicycle!

{note: This is not a guest post, I actually did this LOL! -dc}

I posted on Facebook nearly a year ago that I had been shopping for a Specialized road bike and was hoping to start an actual exercise regimen. It’s been since college that I had any regular riding time, and since high school that I had done any intentional exercise. I knew it wouldn’t be easy getting back on but I didn’t think it would take this long either.

Specialized Road Bike

Still, there’s been alot going on this year and even getting out for a short ride was better than no ride from time to time.

But my wife has been kicking ass on the elliptical machine doing 600-800 calories a day and she feels better and looks great. Something clicked for me this week and I decided it was my turn to take this more seriously.

Yesterday I set out on what I thought was a good first ride over about 45-50 minutes. I tried to pick a route around town that had some gentle hills and nice scenery. Wasn’t tough as Corvallis is one of the friendliest bicycle communities in the country and there are bicycle routes everywhere. I was a little foolish though in that I had a bacon, eggs, and crumpet break”feast” and went on my ride an hour later. The gradual rise along Walnut and then the uphill as it turned into 53rd almost got me sick. Which is also about the time I realized I hadn’t brought any water — idiot!! But the bike path by the OSU horse barns is a nice shot with the wind at your back and the rest of the route was smooth.

Day 1 Route, 8.2 miles:

Today I went back out and wanted to do something a little flatter but compensate by taking a longer route. I stuck with just an energy bar before heading out and I think this helped alot too. I wanted to ride the bike path along Philomath Blvd. like I used to in high school from Bellfountain and Airport all the way to CHS. Even managed to fit in a little business along the way with Rolling Stone Pizza (I’ll be doing a new website for them soon) at the Wednesday Farmer’s Market.

Day 2, 9.1 miles:

Both rides should have me burning around 600 calories each. The day 1 ride due to duration, day 2 due to the 18mph average speed. And day 2 was only 35 minutes. I think initially I’ll stick to routes like this as it was more satisfying seeing more scenery in less time. Probably a byproduct of having two motorcycles 😀

Anyway thanks for listening to me ramble and please feel to post any comments with suggestions — especially anything to help me stick with it!

dc