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Audubon Bird Photography Winners

Stop giving away your photos

Photography in the snow?

This is a fun read from a photographer that covered the Philadelphia Eagles game in the recent blizzard.

Lions and Eagles and Snow, Oh My!

Little People - Big Food

What a fascinating concept, and well executed.

Great Shot!

Check out this article about getting a great shot called Lava Kiss in Hawaii. Fun story, even better photography.

Nikon D4 Announced

The technical blog engadget has posted about the forthcoming Nikon D4.

Interesting Photo Series

I thought this was an interesting idea for a photo series. Photographer Seymour Templar has created a series of pictures (portraits) of people illuminated primarily by their cell phones. He calls the series Personal Little Gods.

Wimberly Replacement Foot for Nikon 600

A few months ago I was (finally!) able to purchase a Nikon 600mm F4 lens. My first few trips with this lens involved using my Gitzo monopod because I didn’t purchase an adapter for the lens in order to fit it on my Wimberly tripod head, and my older Bogen would not safely support the weight. Officially the monopod was a bit overwhelmed by the weight as well, but it did the job for a short term.

While shopping for an adapter to fit the lens on my Wimberly head I found this:

These custom low-profile replacement feet replace the factory foot on the rotation collar of your lens and also serve as the Arca-Swiss style quick-release plate for your lens. No additional quick-release plate is needed. It makes your lens handle better on a conventional tripod head, such as a ball head, and also makes it easier to pack.

Using our replacement foot on your large lens decreases the overall height of the lens, lowering the center of gravity so that it achieves proper balance when used on a gimbal head such as the Wimberley Head…

Basically it’s a replacement foot made by Wimberly (part number AP-452) that is designed to completely replace the stock foot on the lens, rather than an adapter plate that would bolt on when needed. With my first 600mm lens I purchased an adapter and basically just left it on the lens all the time. This is a far better solution as it basically gives a more stable platform (one less connection) and still allows me to use my lens on a monopod if desired.

Wimberly makes a version for both of my big lenses, but I just purchased one for now (for my 600mm F4). Based on the success I plan to order one for my 200-400 zoom as well. For some reason shipping for the replacement foot for the 600 was free, but it’s not for the other. :? I decided to just get one to try it out first, and will wait a while and see if anyone runs a special for free shipping on the other.

Nikon 600mm F4 VR Finally Available

I started saving money for a Nikon 600mm F4 about five or six years ago; I don’t remember exactly when. The lens carries a five-figure price tag so I expected to have to save for more than a couple of years, and in fact it took a bit over three years before I was ready to pull the trigger on a purchase. At that point I went to several different web sites and tried to place an order, but everyone had the lens listed as out of stock. I went back a month later and the lens was still out of stock. Two months, same story. Five months… six months… still no stock. I finally gave up and signed up on one site, asking them to notify me when the lens was in stock. (I should point out at this time that the same thing happened when I tried to buy the Nikon 200-400 F4 zoom. When it finally came in I was too late on my order and they had already run out. The next time it came in stock I didn’t wait.)

A few years later I decided that they must have lost my notification subscription so I logged in and tried to subscribe again. They said I was already subscribed so obviously their system was working. :) That was over a year ago. I tweeted to Nikon asking for details, and they simply said to be patient, that they were working on them. Apparently the front lens takes several months to make because the glass has to cool very, or shall I say extremely, slowly in order to maintain the optical quality.

Finally a few months ago I got an email notification saying that the lens was in stock again. I immediately went to a couple of different sites (including Amazon) and found that at least two of my typical sources for photography equipment both had the lens in stock. The price was basically the same and both offered free shipping so I ordered from Amazon. (Interesting aside: if you spend that much on an order, Amazon assigns an “order concierge” to make sure everything goes well with your order.) Amazon only had 7 of the lenses in stock then, and when I checked today they were down to 5. My lens came in a few days later, and I was able to take it out for some soccer pictures. While this is not intended to be a full review, I can say a couple of things right away.

The lens is heavy. I knew that going in, but seeing it on paper and experiencing it live are two different things.

The lens is fast! Focus is fast, and quiet due to the silent wave motor technology Nikon uses in their advanced lenses.

The lens is sharp. I was able to take pictures half-way across the youth soccer field and still read the lettering on their uniforms when viewed at full size. Here’s a sample image:

youth soccer image

The label on the shorts reads ADIDAS and in the full-size image it’s very clear. As I was looking at the picture I also noticed that the fingers on the soccer gloves were already worn down to some degree, and the gloves had not even been used for an entire season yet…

Finally, the lens attracts a lot of attention from other photographers but non-photographers as well.

I am not highly technical when it comes to evaluating lenses, so my reviews are somewhat subjective. I know what I’m looking for, and from there decide if a lens is meeting my requirements. So far this lens is exactly as advertised. I can hardly wait to take it out for some serious wildlife photography.

New Toy On The Way…

Details to be posted soon, but I have a new toy on the way to play with. 8-)

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