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My New Lens... so Far

I think I've had about 3 days of quality sunlight in the last two weeks. In other words, not the greatest way to test out a new lens. Between classes, work and just poor weather, it has surely been tough to get any good shots going. Luckily, the sun was shining this week. I hurried up to the hawk watch after class on Friday, and had a few cooperative subjects to click away at. 

If you've ever shot with me, you know that I'm all about raptors. There aren't many birds that can pull me away from hawk watching. A red-breasted nuthatch is one of those birds. These little characters are without a doubt one of my favorites. This fall has begun an irruption year for red-breasted nuthatches. They have been absolutely all over the place - in good numbers too! We have a particularly special bird constantly running our feeders up at Franklin Mountain Hawk Watch. This little guy is so social. Of the 500 or so shots I have taken with my lens so far, around 200 of them are of him. At times, he lands too close to my lens to focus. I've ended up watching him more than I've shot him.

Fox sparrow in the open! 11/4/16.

Fox sparrow in the open! 11/4/16.

Another bird that has been hanging around the hawk watch is this fox sparrow. My primary subject was the nuthatch of course, but I did not pass up the opportunity to shoot this one either. What a gorgeous bird. 

The only problem I have thus far is the fact that I haven't had ANY photo ops with large birds. The level of detail I'm getting on smaller birds is really nice, but the biggest difference I expect to see with this lens will be in larger subjects. Hopefully soon. Shooting without image stabilization has been tough on cloudy days. If the shutter speed isn't at least 1/500, sharp images are impossible. But this isn't the worst thing in the world. The camera is wicked smooth in every other aspect. I feel better without zoom and IS. It is a challenge at times, but it feels as though there is a lot less going on inside the lens mechanically. This leaves room for sharpness.

But I am surely NOT complaining about lack of good birding opportunities. The last three weeks alone, I have seen almost 20 golden eagles. Migration has been very good up here, and will only continue into the next few weeks. I may end up blogging again in the next few days, as tomorrow is shaping up to be a really nice golden eagle day. Fingers crossed! But until then, here are a couple additional images I took this past week:

Downy woodpecker on a nice perch. There is a TON of detail here. 11/4/16. 

Downy woodpecker on a nice perch. There is a TON of detail here. 11/4/16. 

Another one of my favorites. White-throated sparrow. 11/4/16.

Another one of my favorites. White-throated sparrow. 11/4/16.

That is about it for now. Lots of good birds showing up all over the northeast. Winter is so close, I can taste it! 

Have a nice weekend everyone.

Kyle