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Reflecting on an Old Friend

It's official. I have sold my trusty wildlife lens; the Canon EF 100-400mm f/5.6. Like all things, there comes time for a change. Luckily, this change is good, even great. I have invested in a Canon 400mm 5.6 prime lens, something that is sure to bring professional quality to my images. I have thought about making this change for some time now, so with winter photography madness quickly approaching, I have decided to pull the trigger. 

I am truly sad to see my lens go, as silly as it sounds, for it is what got me to this point in my photography career. So I have decided to write sort of an "in memoriam" blog post, reflecting on the awesome experiences and images I've had with it. But before I dive into that, I want to recommend this lens to anyone looking to get into serious photography. It's one of the best all purpose lenses in my opinion. I know plenty of big name photographers who packed it in their gear bags for years and years. Not only for wildlife, but sports, portraits, even telephoto landscapes. Plus with many other lenses popping up in the market nowadays, you can be sure to find one at a decent price. So don't listen to the crappy reviews out there, because there definitely are a few. Pay attention to the good reviews, for they are right. I definitely made the most out of this lens, so you can too. My portfolio has a lot to say about it!

Now, how about a trip down memory lane? Here are some of my best images with the Canon 100-400mm.

Male northern harrier (gray ghost) in the golden light. 

Male northern harrier (gray ghost) in the golden light. 

Semipalmated plover in rack.

Semipalmated plover in rack.

Peregrine falcon perched at the beach.

Peregrine falcon perched at the beach.

Yellow warbler in spring.

Yellow warbler in spring.

Snowy egret preening.

Snowy egret preening.

And lastly, arguably my favorite image to date... 

Smalls, one of the craziest piping plovers in all of New Jersey!

Smalls, one of the craziest piping plovers in all of New Jersey!

I could go on for days about my favorite images and why, but these all exemplify the quality of the Canon 100-400mm. All of these images are sharp, show smooth bokeh and colors as well. Not to mention, they are all some of my favorite subjects to shoot. That helps make the decision a bit easier. Shorebirds of course are my favorites, then raptors and yes an occasional warbler (only when cooperative !!!). All but the warbler image were taken with my Canon 60D. The YEWA was taken with my old Canon Rebel T3i (an awesome starter camera). 

One of the things that I will miss about this lens, is the image stabilization. Canon absolutely killed it with this feature. Though many will complain that it takes away from image quality (adding grain, fuzz, etc.) I believe it is the reason why so many of my images are high quality. All six of these images were taken with image stabilization (IS) turned on. They were all taken at relatively high shutter speeds, but IS definitely helped with the success of the shots. When a bird is perched, IS is a necessity in my opinion. I don't shoot with tripods or monopods, so keeping the bird motionless in the frame helps a ton. Flight shots don't really require IS, but I have noticed that it really helps when tracking faster birds like falcons or hawks at close range. This is another reason why I would recommend the 100-400mm 5.6. The Canon 400mm 5.6 lacks image stabilization, turning many people away, but I believe that I have learned enough over the past few years that I will be able to find success without it. 

So farewell, my trusty friend. It's been an amazing time. Yet another reason why I stay true to Canon. Quality, quality, quality. There is some awesome competition out there, but in the end I believe Canon takes the crown. But don't let my biased opinion steer you away! Everyone has their own style, which makes the world of digital photography so amazing. Soon I will bring forth some new content, but until then I'm lens-less! Oh no! 

I hope you all are enjoying fall as much as I am. Talk to you soon.

Kyle