Another Cattle Egret – Plus More

Ann and I decided to take another run down to the Eldorado Water Treatment ponds again yesterday, Monday, morning.  With all that bird activity, I wanted to see if I could pick up some more good images, or at least improve on some previous photos.

First of all, we found that the little juvenile Cattle Egret was still hanging around.  I got this photo of it as it was perched upon a post in one of the ponds.  It was an easy shot with my Canon 7D and 100-400mm lens.  1/500 sec. @f8 and ISO 400.  Sky a little overcast so it made for excellent lighting.

juvenile Cattle Egret

We started to drive around the ponds again, slowly, as we always do.  I had my other Canon 7D with the 500mm lens and 1.4 converter in my lap, leaning slightly out the window.  My Puffin’ Pad window cushion was in place.  I was hoping to see another Wilson’s Snipe.

As we were making a turn around the corner of one of the ponds, I was rewarded.  Right down to my left, only about twenty feet away, I spotted one.  I quickly set up my camera in the window.  I discovered that I nearly had too much lens.  The snipe, as you can see, filled up the frame, with the 500mm and 1.4 converter.  He froze thinking that I couldn’t see him, which was nearly true, as he was blending in with the weeds and mud.  I didn’t want to grab the other camera with the 100-400mm for fear that he might fly.

"Hiding in Plain Sight"

Wilson Snipe.  Canon 7D with 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter. 1/400 sec. @ f8, ISO 400.

These ponds are about 150 feet across.  There are hundreds of ducks of different species, and it has been hard to get decent close-ups even with using the 500mm and the 1.4 converter.  The ducks always seem to swim away to the furthest side of the pond.

To solve the problem, or at least help it a bit, I decided to do something that I never tried.  I have a 2x tele-converter that I can use on the 500mm, but because it would change the aperture to an f8, the auto focus is dis-abled.  Therefore I would have to hand-hold it and manual focus.  Plus the ducks are moving on the water.  But, I figured what the heck.  Nothing to lose.

I went ahead and attached the 2x making my working focal distance 1,000mm.  I sat it on the window sill, and focused it on this female Northern Shoveler, so far away it was pretty tiny with the naked eye.  The result, as you can see, isn’t so bad.  I was able to crop it and print out a nice 8×10.

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler.  Canon 7D with 500mm lens plus 2x tele-converter.  Focal Distance 1,000mm.  1/4000 sec. @ f8, ISO 400.  Manual focus, hand-held with aid of a Puffin’ Pad window support.

Now that I can get these great results, I may use the 2x tele-converter more often when down in Eldorado.

I hope you enjoyed the images, and my little telling of the experience.  Click on any photo to see an enlargement.