CA Lake Birds Gallery (6)

Photo Gallery

Finally got some nice weather this weekend, which made it a perfect opportunity to try out my new lens! After many months of indecision, I took the plunge and got the 150-500mm OS Sigma lens. Do I really need a 500mm lens? I don't know. Maybe. It was at least something that I really wanted to try!

Initial impressions on the lens is that it's well built, huge, and heavy. I've often joked that I work out lifting weights just so I can be a better photographer. That's not far from the truth - especially with regard to this lens! The lens by itself weighs over 4lbs. Together with the camera, that's over 6lbs hanging around my neck, or being hand held for a shot. After a couple of hours standing with it, my back was definitely complaining!

The real question is: How are the pictures, and is it worth all that extra aggravation toting the heavy artillery around? I'm probably going to be a bit biased since I just spent a reasonably large sum on the lens. But the picture came out pretty sharp (assuming I do my part), the auto focus fast and accurate, and the image quality quite nice. The only problem I have is that the zoom ring operation is reverse from that of the Nikon lenses. I'm constantly screwing up the shot zooming in instead of out, or out instead of it. It's all muscle memory, but it's wrong for the lens. I don't know how or when I'll be able to adjust.

The following are some of the birds I photographed at Fremont's Lake Elizabeth. Shutter priority, with auto ISO.
Nikon D300, w/ 150-500mm Sigma OS lens. - Bernard Zee

The ever graceful Great Egret.

The morning sunlight reflected off the water onto the wings.

My best guess is that it's a Yellow Rumped Warbler. More than a little challenging to catch in flight...

One of the more ungainly birds there was the American Coot.

A closer shot of the Warbler.

Honking agressively, this male makes a running charge with his wings flapping and legs running to stay on top of the water.

The Canada Geese were easily the most vocal residents at the lake.

They get quite testy during mating season, and make more racket than normal - especially when chasing off unwanted guests! It's like music to many though; you know who you are!

I haven't seen them actually fight. Mostly there's the aggressor, and the ones beating a hasty retreat.

Big zoom came in handy, as all this was happening further away from the shore.

Yep, below that calm exterior, beats the heart of a raging beast!

Here's a Black Crowned Night Heron in flight.

There were of course, plenty of Seagulls in attendance.

A Double Crested Cormorant is not only a capable flier, but an adept diver of fish as well.

Near as I can figure, this goose is not native to the area. Perhaps someone released it there, and it's called it home since.

Their little stubby wings hardly get the Coot off the ground. It does help them 'run' on water though!

Seagulls are pretty cool fliers. No one pays them much attention though, since they're so common.

A trio of Mallards tearing up the sky.

Just as I was leaving, a White Pelican drops in from out of the blue!

Maybe it's the zoom, but he looks rather rotund for a Pelican!

The zoom in/out mix up really made me miss some shots here.

A handful of Pelicans (at least 2) have taken up permanent residence at the Lake. Normally, I believe they're migratory.

The lens does well with good light. Here's a closeup of a Mallard.

I really love this shot. A female Mallard coming in for a water landing.

Here's the Heron gathering nesting material later on in the afternoon.

A Cormorant moments before splashdown.

The Night Heron shopping for more building material.

A Western Grebe is a less common sight around the lake. They tend to stay underwater fishing!

The Heron was quite picky about which branch to take. Climbed all over the tree trying to find the right one.

One of my fav shots of the day. Nice warm light of the late afternoon sun on the Heron, with a clean but colorful background.

Compared to the other birds, the Cormorant sits low in the water.

A Great Egret banking in flight.

With the waning light, it's also time for me to go! Hope you liked it!