Two weeks from the day . . .

Canon returned my 100m-400m lens this past Friday, which it repaired under its warranty, shipping it via standard overnight delivery–all at no cost to me.  I sent the lens to them via ground on the Friday two weeks prior. It turned out that the image stabilization was not working properly.  They repaired the unit, and checked and cleaned the rest of its inners. I’ve had a chance to use it and it now seems to be working fine.  Bravo Canon!

Image destabilization

It seems I’ve run into a problem with the 100–400mm lens that I purchased this past June.  The image in the viewfinder began jumping around when I pressed the shutter button half-way—often this would continue even after shutter release.  I contacted Canon’s customer service. Based on my description of the problem they suspected the image stabilization had failed.  I sent the lens to their service center and they accepted the lens under warranty. I hope to have it back in about another week.  I’ll let you know how the process went, as well as how the lens works when I get it back into the field.

It’s taken some time

I haven’t quite understood why Lightroom will let you use FTP to send images directly to other sites, but not their own Photoshop on-line gallery. At long last, Photoshop.com recently announced that it has a plug-in available that will do just that–all in one step. Now, instead of having to export from Lightroom, then go Photoshop.com to perform the upload, then relabel the photos as I did in Lightroom, these can all be done automatically with the Lightroom Publish Plug-in.

I had the same problem getting my images from Lightroom to this blog at WordPress.com. Voila! Now there’s LR/Blog (http://www.photographers-toolbox.com/products/lrblog.php). Now I can just export from my images from the Lightroom Library to WordPress.com. In fact, I have the option to include a post at the same time. These two Plug-ins increase my production workflow significantly.

At this point I’ve established my two photography web sites–at WordPress and Photoshop (and more or less understand them)–and I now have the basic equipment I need for my photography.

I’ll begin posting to my blog on a weekly basis on Fridays by 5PM. Most of the topics from this point forward will focus on my field trips, and background about my subjects.

Gray Catbird: North American Population 10m, 15-49% increase over the past 30 years. (Exposure: 1/60 @ f/4.5, ISO 100, Canon PowerShot G10)

With some practice and luck you don’t necessarily need an expensive camera with a super-telephoto lens. This shot was taken in a National Audubon sanctuary in Florida, then cropped. Note the slow shutter speed and sharpness. I was ready–though the bird did not sit for long, it was motionless.  (More photos at: http://sfielding.photoshop.com)

Canon’s 100mm – 400mm lens

I’ve been using Canon’s f/4.5-5.6 L USM IS lens since June and I must say I’m very happy with it. It certainly takes time to learn since I have no super-telephoto experience. It’s heavy; with the camera it weights about 5 pounds. Nevertheless, even with my slender build, a 3 or 4 hour foray into the field doesn’t seem to pose neck strain, though tripod breaks definitely help.

Although the USM autofocus is very quick, it’s not so effective when photographing birds where there are often leaves or branches in front of or behind the subject, often resulting in an out-of-focus bird. Manual focus seems to be the better alternative under these conditions. When extended to greater magnification, the image stabilization feature helps but you really need to brace the camera against something solid if you’re shooting at less than 1/800 of a second, otherwise the image will not be sharp. As always, it’s important to know your subject so you can be in position with the necessary camera settings to get the best shots. (More photos at: http://sfielding.photoshop.com)

My next challenge will be to capture landscapes with a compressed effect that cannot be done with a shorter lens.