One of the things I will freely admit that I am not is a wildlife photographer. I have neither the patience to sit in a hide for hours on end (ask my wife!), nor the skill to capture what I would see with my camera. I will be the first to freely admit that I look at wildlife photographers with awe, and wonder at the images I see in the books of wildlife photographs. However, I do live in a wonderful part of the British Isles and I am very close to some great photo locations, so just occasionally the bug bites (metaphorically speaking) and I get out and do something.
One such bug-biting occasions was this weekend when I wanted to test the Nikon TC-17E multiplier with my Nikon 70 – 200mm f2.8 zoom lens on my D300. The TC-17E has always been rated as pretty damn good so the only way was to put it on the camera and give it a go. On a perfect afternoon my wife and I went to the Titchfield Haven Sanctuary and sat in a hide for half an hour watching the antics of the waders trying to attract mates, and just feeding in general. Avocets, black-tailed godwits and shoveler ducks were the star performers so there was plenty of subject matter. using the lens fully extended I had an effective focal length of 510mm (35mm equiv.) and at 400iso I was getting shutter speeds of around 1/640 at f13 which was more than adequate. I have not tried this type of work before, and I was amazed at how quick I had to be for some of the action, especially during the feeding. I was pretty pleased with my first efforts and feel I have a couple of ‘keepers’ amongst them although I do not think I am ready for ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ yet!
Below is an upright crop from a landscape shot of a avocet on food patrol:
The one thing I did conclude was, despite the nearness of the birds to the hides, and the 510mm focal length, I still need a longer lens but the costs are SO high that I will have to wait for a while. However, I am keeping the TC-17E which is far superior to the TC-20E Mk.2 which I will now be trading in. Special thanks to Tony at London Camera Exchange in Southampton (Civic Centre branch) for the loan of the equipment.