Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

February 12, 2009


Filed under: Birds, comparisons, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, Non Birds, style — richditch @ 1:22 pm


My original intention in posting this shot of an ocotillo in bloom was to talk about equipment. I cut my teeth with manual focus lenses, and I relied on an old manual focus Nikon 400mm f/5.6 lens (with a matching 1.4x converter) as my main bird lens until I went auto focus in 1998 with a 300/2.8 and matching 2x converter. I eventually sold the manual focus 400 to a friend when I realized I hadn’t used it in a long time.

But I missed the compact lightness of that lens that made it great as a “walkabout” lens when I wasn’t expecting to do any serious shooting. So I eventually found a used 300/4.5 manual focus Nikkor in good condition and bought it. After all, it functions perfectly on my Nikon D200 (an under appreciated capability of Nikon’s commitment to backwards compatibility) even though the lens was made 20+ years before the D200.

This image was taken to confirm that the old lens I bought still worked, and to see if I could still mange to focus manually and hold the lens steady without a tripod. ISO 200, 1/800th second at f/5.6, hand held, manual focus, April 10, 2007. D200, EDIF 300/4.5.

But looking at this image reminded me of other shots I’ve taken, like this Great Blue Heron from the Gilbert Water Ranch:

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

ISO 200, 1/250th second at f/5.6, May 1, 2007. D200, AF-S 300/2.8 with TC20E 2x converter, auto focus, tripod.

I’m fascinated by the similar compositions in these two images. I wonder how much of a built-in “pattern engine” I work with?


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