400mm as a 600mm

Well, this weekend has been a fun time, out and about in the Owyhees and out to my sister’s by Emmett.

We ran out to the Owyhees after lunch at Gem In & Out in Caldwell.  It was one way to find out that the 3 mile marker I’d noted on the way back at 1:30 AM as where the dirt road was had been misread.  I’d noticed it out of the corner of my eye before I even realized there was a road marker so close and dutifully noted the shape in my photography book and mind.  And so I overshot the road Saturday…it really was an 8 and not a 3.  But at least I’d been half right…the right half of the 8 to boot!

So, we took the first Leslie Gulch turnout and ran down that to the cutover again.  From there we went up on top and over to the old Poison Creek Station.  I got some nice photos, have problems with my panorama taken just above Wild Horse Basin, and found out some stuff.

The big thing I found out is that while I can still take some really nice photos, I’ve lost my touch with my 400mm.  It doesn’t help that on my digital camera that translates with a x1.5 35mm equivalent into a 600mm.  That lens is HEAVY.  You could, as I like to say, hit a teenager over the head with it and not dent it.  We all know how hardheaded a teenager is.  The slightest movement is magnified so much in that setup that even bracing the 400mm by sitting down and putting my elbows on my knees was insufficient.  A tenth of a mile hike back to get my tripod out of the car?  Nah.  Too lazy and to be honest, I didn’t realize my photos weren’t clear.

Thinking about it, I really need to adjust my camera’s viewfinder first.  I’m not 100% sure that I have it set up right.  The rocks looked sharp to me through the viewfinder, but the pictures are “hazy” if I want to be polite, a little blurry if I don’t.  I took some other photos later with the camera laying on the hood of the car, just to eliminate any shake but I’ve not looked at those yet.  That includes utilizing shutter speeds of up to 1/2000 seconds and an ISO or 800.

My close-ups of a flower were really nice even if I do say so as shouldn’t.  There were a lot of bugs on there, and I even got a sequence showing a bee walking over the top of another bug to get to the other side of the flower.

The threat of thunderstorms that evening kind of blew the original goal, to teach a friend to take pictures of the Milky Way.  Next time, though.

We threw some rocks in the canal and took photos of the splashes, and some pictures of the old Poison Creek Station.  It looks just like it did 5 years ago when I was last there.

Yesterday I went to my sisters out by Emmett and along the way tried to take some photos with the 400mm.  That’s when I realized that I was having real problems with it:  None of the photos were coming out nice.  Either my setup for visual manual focus is off or there’s a problem with the lens.  Later photos will help determine that, and over the week I plan to do some serious testing with the 400mm to isolate the issue.  I seriously hope it’s my viewfinder focus setting and not the lens.  I like that lens.

Sis has an almond tree, and apparently when they’re getting close to harvest time the almonds exude sap.  They look like sap out of the tree, sapcicles, and even delicate patterns as if some master chef drizzled sap on them.  Most of the sap is crystal clear, but some of it has a tan or pale brown touch of color throughout.  I’ve no idea yet how these are going to turn out, either.  I won’t be able to check tonight, but hopefully tomorrow I will be able to.


One Response to “400mm as a 600mm”

  1. Bill B. Says:

    Well, I checked out the pictures, and I’m very happy to say it’s not the lens. It really is hard to hold that heavy lens aligned, I think it’s going to be one that can only be used with a tripod, which isn’t really all that bad.


    Onwards and upwards!


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