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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Wildlife Talk 
Thread started 20 Oct 2017 (Friday) 09:51
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Stalking vs. Waiting ... tips for a wildlife newbie

 
kmilo
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Oct 29, 2017 17:32 as a reply to  @ post 18484154 |  #31

Thank you, Martin.


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Sgt.
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Nov 02, 2017 17:42 |  #32

IMAGE: https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1693/26002762141_0fed4678da_b.jpg
Photo from Sgt.'s gallery.

The 400 F 5.6 is no slouch, I wouldn't completely disregard it.

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Phoenixkh
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Nov 02, 2017 18:10 |  #33

Sgt. wrote in post #18487202 (external link)

The 400 F 5.6 is no slouch, I wouldn't completely disregard it.

Very nice.... I just couldn't get a decent photo when I had the 400 f/5.6. I did buy it used but from a reliable camera store, so I don't think that was the problem. I suspect it was me.

I didn't have it long.... I traded it back in to the same store when I bought my 100-400L ii.

Still, like your photograph, I've seen some great stuff from it. It's a very inexpensive way to get into wildlife/birding photography, that's for sure.


Kim (the male variety) Canon 1DX2 | 1D IV | 16-35 f/4 IS | 24-105 f/4 IS | 100L IS macro | 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II | 100-400Lii | 50 f/1.8 STM | Canon 1.4X III
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Pigpen101
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Nov 02, 2017 18:32 |  #34

MalVeauX wrote in post #18484154 (external link)
I will also, again, champion the 300 F4L IS with a 1.4x TC as an alternative to the 400 F5.6L approach.

I'm not affiliated nor part of the ad, but there's a 300F4L IS in the classifieds right now for less than $600 and it's immaculate. I would go with that and a TC. I recommend it as I have the very lens and have used it with TC and having IS makes it a really versatile lens. I absolutely would go 300 F4L IS with a TC over 400 F5.6 if I did it over again. I use my 300 F4L is for wildlife more than my 600mm. It's just such a great, light weight, fast, sharp, versatile lens.

It focuses fast, it's sharp, close focus range which is really helpful sometimes, and handles a TC very nicely, giving you a 420mm F5.6 IS lens basically.

For an anecdotal evidence example, here's the 300 F4L IS with a Kenko 1.4x TC handling an extremely fast flying Royal Tern flying right at me and how the lens and TC were able to not only keep focus at that crazy velocity, but also still nail it sharp, at very close distance (even harder; farther away is so much easier):

QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Z2NG​mJ  (external link) 9V9A0100 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

For wildlife that is not moving super fast, stopping down and chilling with a tripod some where, you'll have crazy sharp images.

Very best,


I have to agree. I bought the 400mm F/5.6 and loved it (still do). I then spoke to many who owned the 300mm F/4 + 1.4x, and their results were just as sharp as my 400mm, and that is with the 1.4x attached. Since then, I've been shooting for a newspaper. The 400mm on a crop sensor is actually too close most of the time when shooting baseball & football. If faced with the same decision today, the 300mm + 1.4x III would be the choice.

In line with the OP's question, I will have to choose "none of the above". When it comes to wildlife I suggest the best approach is luck. Now I believe you create your own LUCK. I once got to spend 3+ hours, only 3 feet from a newborn fawn. How did I get this opportunity? I left very early one morning to photograph the Osprey in a nearby lake. I found this fawn on a back road, and never even made it to the lake. I guess my basic point is you'll never get incredible wildlife shots from your couch.




  
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Sgt.
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Nov 03, 2017 16:38 as a reply to  @ Phoenixkh's post |  #35

Thats too bad, I have gotten lots of good stuff with it.
My 14 yr. old daughter uses it now since I got the 100-400 MKII.:-P


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Phoenixkh
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Nov 03, 2017 22:15 |  #36

Sgt. wrote in post #18487877 (external link)
Thats too bad, I have gotten lots of good stuff with it.
My 14 yr. old daughter uses it now since I got the 100-400 MKII.:-P

I know so many people who achieve amazing results with the 400 f/5.6. I have no idea why I struggled so much.

The very first photo I took with the 100-400Lii was so clear, I was hooked. I've had and continue to have lots of fun with it.

And, btw, I'm also in the Pondrader fan club.


Kim (the male variety) Canon 1DX2 | 1D IV | 16-35 f/4 IS | 24-105 f/4 IS | 100L IS macro | 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II | 100-400Lii | 50 f/1.8 STM | Canon 1.4X III
RRS tripod and monopod | 580EXII | Cinch 1 & Loop 3 Special Edition | Editing Encouraged

  
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bobbyz
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Post edited 7 months ago by bobbyz. (2 edits in all)
     
Nov 11, 2017 09:01 |  #37

Great advice so far. Being handicapped it was harder for me to walk but I used to walk around same locations and watch birds, how they behave, what perches they use. A few times I would setup my hide (like the one Martin showed). If you watch Alan Murphy on naturescapes.net most of his shots are setup unlike being out in the wild. Regarding 400mm f5.6, only once in 2-3 yrs that I had it that a green heron came so close where MFD was an issue. I just sold another copy of it for dirt cheap 2 weeks ago. Florida birds are easier to get to so go visit that place.


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Grizz1
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Dec 03, 2017 22:36 |  #38

Great advice by those posting above. My skills as a wildlife photographer are under the bar set by those such as Tom and many others here so I tend to hesitate on giving advice with the camera. I would say that I fall in the C category, most of my better quality shots have been taken while waiting, often in a blind or as some say, a hide. Other times I enjoy hiking and going after certain wildlife.

My most passionate past time is actually hunting with archery tackle for mature white tailed deer and turkey and I often use still hunting or stalking to get within 40 yards or less. To be successful I dress comfortable for the weather conditions, use camouflage clothing, use my binoculars often and move very, very slow. If I'm disturbing any wildlife whatsoever, than I know I'm moving too fast to be successful. Red and Gray Squirrels along with thousands of Woodpeckers make up the majority of residents in the woods on my farm and watching and listening to them indicate to me my next move. All the animals and birds should be reacting as though I'm not even there.

I will wager that many of the successful wildlife photographers that are shooting truly wild animals are also patient and move slow and unnoticed while in the outdoors if they choose hiking over sitting and waiting.


Steve
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Post edited 6 months ago by CyberDyneSystems.
     
Dec 03, 2017 22:48 |  #39

kmilo wrote in post #18476755 (external link)
....which do you prefer:

(A) - Hiking through the woods and you find what you find? or ...
(B) - Finding a good place to hide, trying to get to that place before the animals do, and then wait for them to show up?
(C) - Both, depending on your mood

...

I am always on the move UNLESS I am staking out an area where I already have reason to believe that a known subject will return.

ie:

If I am going for luck, I'd rather be hiking.
If I know my quarries habits, all I can do is wait :)

There is no point in sitting still in a place where you have no idea if anything will come along.


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mistrzmiasta
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Jan 02, 2018 05:42 |  #40

was going to start a smiliar thread. thanks guys




  
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PINNACLE
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Jan 08, 2018 12:35 |  #41

Interesting question. I have just gone back through my flickr and I think the answer is just get outdoors, go for walks, get to know a spot, go to reserves, look up species you are interested in on flickr or areas, see what was taken. Take the kids with you if you are walking, my boys are great at spotting stuff and usually quiet enough for a few minutes to get some shots in, or pop back later without them. Take a camera everywhere. The more time you are out the more chance you have. I have had some of my best deer, owls and birds of prey shots just on dog walks.

This Saturday I spent 3 hours looking, listening and waiting for Goldcrests at a spot I knew reasonably well and had success before but got nothing, the light was going so I packed up and headed to where I had parked my car in a public well used car park and there in the bush by my car was this fella. UK's smallest bird.

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4726/38834053714_f7b26de61d_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/22aC​Fdf  (external link)
Goldcrest (external link) by Martin Billard (external link), on Flickr
The light was so low I had to use the pop up flash on my camera.

I took this just before Christmas in a public park, I had just dropped my son of to use the bike track when I spotted some Longtailed Tits, I felt a bit of a twit setting up a tripod and 500mmf4 with people walking their dogs in every corner but then this chap walked into view just the other side of the fence.
IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4733/39341218082_a19380ac81_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/22Ws​2vu  (external link)
Fox (external link) by Martin Billard (external link), on Flickr

I guess you have to be in it to win it.

As for lens choice, I opted for the 300f4is and x1.4TC over the 400mm mainly for the IS and 300 and 420mm covered. I also have a Sigma 150-600c which is my walk about lens now, great focal length, reasonably light and cheap for what you get, also great OS for hand holding.

Don't wait for spring there is still plenty out there now.

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Jan 08, 2018 15:18 |  #42

kmilo wrote in post #18476755 (external link)
(A) - Hiking through the woods and you find what you find? or ...
(B) - Finding a good place to hide, trying to get to that place before the animals do, and then wait for them to show up?
(C) - Both, depending on your mood

Any insight about what you love and hate about both would be awesome.

I live in the suburbs of the northeast (Albany, NY area). My interests are mostly any wildlife larger than a football:

Owls, Deer, Hawks, Fox, Coyote, Raccoon, Skunk, Fisher, Beaver, Woodchuck, snakes other than Garters, etc

I hunt and bird watch, same concept trying to see cool things and get as close as you can.

It depends on the area. Some areas that are on the edge of towns where no hunting is allowed you can get close to some great stuff that is not scared of people or used to humans. Deer, Racoons, Fox, Coyote, many times lose their fear of humans and you can get pretty close near populated areas.

You get out of town and animals are usually more shy and hidden and it usually takes more time to see things. but you can see more rare animals if you are lucky, bears, bob cats, mtn lions.

"Stalking" animals is usually not the most effective. Most animals can hear and smell you long before you see them. I usally see lots more by sitting in a good spot and watching upwind.

Study the animals you are looking for. Where and when do they eat and drink, sleep, hunt, travel. After you study them and start seeing them you will just know the best places to look for them

Birds/Raptors -In general hawks are usually easy to find but you need a expensive lens to get good pics because they are smaller and usually far enough away.
Owls are more active in the night and sleep in the day the best way to see a lot of them is find a nest, during mating season people will go out at night and listen for mating calls and hone in on nesting sites. If you find a nesting site you can have weeks of good photo opportunities.




  
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Pigpen101
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Jan 08, 2018 15:46 |  #43

PINNACLE wrote in post #18536372 (external link)
Interesting question. I have just gone back through my flickr and I think the answer is just get outdoors, go for walks, get to know a spot, go to reserves, look up species you are interested in on flickr or areas, see what was taken. Take the kids with you if you are walking, my boys are great at spotting stuff and usually quiet enough for a few minutes to get some shots in, or pop back later without them. Take a camera everywhere. The more time you are out the more chance you have. I have had some of my best deer, owls and birds of prey shots just on dog walks.

This Saturday I spent 3 hours looking, listening and waiting for Goldcrests at a spot I knew reasonably well and had success before but got nothing, the light was going so I packed up and headed to where I had parked my car in a public well used car park and there in the bush by my car was this fella. UK's smallest bird.
QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/22aC​Fdf  (external link)
Goldcrest (external link) by Martin Billard (external link), on Flickr
The light was so low I had to use the pop up flash on my camera.

I took this just before Christmas in a public park, I had just dropped my son of to use the bike track when I spotted some Longtailed Tits, I felt a bit of a twit setting up a tripod and 500mmf4 with people walking their dogs in every corner but then this chap walked into view just the other side of the fence.
QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/22Ws​2vu  (external link)
Fox (external link) by Martin Billard (external link), on Flickr

I guess you have to be in it to win it.

As for lens choice, I opted for the 300f4is and x1.4TC over the 400mm mainly for the IS and 300 and 420mm covered. I also have a Sigma 150-600c which is my walk about lens now, great focal length, reasonably light and cheap for what you get, also great OS for hand holding.

Don't wait for spring there is still plenty out there now.


I do have to agree, just get out there. Can't tell you how many great shots of birds, deer, etc... that I've got while out trying to shoot something else.




  
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kmilo
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Jan 12, 2018 06:24 |  #44

Just to keep this conversation going, I got out into the woods yesterday after work for about an hour. I wasn't waiting, so I guess you'd have to call it stalking ... but crunching through the snow and leaves was anything but quiet. Anyway I happened upon these two deer. By the time I saw them through the trees I was about 50 or 60 yards away. They saw me, obviously, but they didn't seem too concerned about my presence ... kept foraging the whole time.

This spring I'll be looking at the 300 f/4 L, 400 f/5.6 L, and the 100-400L (v.1). I've always thought reach was most important ... and I still do ... but the extra stop of light you get with the 300 would be very useful. Even in summer during the middle of the day, a forest canopy creates a lot of shade. I've even considered the 200 f/2.8 L with and without the 1.4x ... but I think I might regret doing that down the road. APS-C camera, by the way (80D).

These photos are awful, I was just content find them without scaring them away.

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4602/39639657681_0153ededf4_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/23oP​BcP  (external link) IMG_2487 (external link) by Kris Milo (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4707/38743273715_69931e5eae_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/222B​ptR  (external link) IMG_2482 (external link) by Kris Milo (external link), on Flickr

Kris
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Jan 18, 2018 10:07 as a reply to  @ post 18477074 |  #45

Thank you. I am hoping to learn to become a skilled birder and find this extremely helpful!




  
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Stalking vs. Waiting ... tips for a wildlife newbie
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