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Dave Williams

Photographic trip to Spain 2017

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I recently took a trip to Spain along with a birding friend of mine.

I don't think Safaritalk is probably the right place to post the report but I do know a lot of members are in fact birders.

If you want to read my report it's available on my blog site.

You can share the "Trials and tribulations of a wannabe wildlife photographer" here:-

 

http://davewilliamsnaturephotography.blogspot.co.uk

 

and there certainly were quite a few!!

 

Hope you enjoy the read and it gives some insights and ideas for the future.

cheers

Dave

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Great report Dave, I had to laugh at your frustration (laughing with you, not at you!) with the equipment failure--I know the feeling so well! What's going on, why can't I get a decent sharp shot, I may as well just give up and go home... Why am I such a bad photographer and my friend is getting super shots? :unsure::( Been there, done that! Glad that you figured out the issue early on in the trip.

 

Also totally relating to the frustrations of missed shots, wrong turns, and bad light!

 

Birding that area is something I would love to do some time, so will bookmark it for future reference.

 

I'm only up to day 7, love the Bluethroat shots!

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Okay I finished the whole report and just had to come back to comment--wow! Fantastic shots from the hides. I was completely unaware that there was such a hide network in Spain. I know that there is no way I could sit in a small box for 8-10 hours by myself with only a jar to wee in :o but I admire your stamina! I could see trying out the 2-3 hour sessions, though. It did sound like Jose was giving you a bit of the run-around, perhaps in favor of repeat clients... Anyway, thoroughly enjoyed the report and you got awesome shots from both the hides and on the road.

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@@Dave Williams

Thank you for the link. A quick scan tells me to set aside some time to relish the photos and to read the detail. I look forward to it!

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Okay I finished the whole report and just had to come back to comment--wow! Fantastic shots from the hides. I was completely unaware that there was such a hide network in Spain. I know that there is no way I could sit in a small box for 8-10 hours by myself with only a jar to wee in :o but I admire your stamina! I could see trying out the 2-3 hour sessions, though. It did sound like Jose was giving you a bit of the run-around, perhaps in favor of repeat clients... Anyway, thoroughly enjoyed the report and you got awesome shots from both the hides and on the road.

 

 

I was stuck in that box for 16 hours with nothing to read or look at other than an empty perch. It pushed me to the limit I must admit !

Glad you enjoyed the read, thanks for letting me know!

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Well, looking at the results I think the trip was very much worth while, despite the bad days. You really did get some magnificent images. But 16 hours locked in a hide with nothing happening is rough going. Time to get a Kimble?

 

I do find it very interesting that they wire you into the hides. Here in SA we are used to "public" hides, which are set up and maintained by whoever owns or operates the property/reserve they are on, and once you have payed entrance to the reserve, you generally have free access to the hides, and can come and go as you please (there are some exceptions, but not many I know of). I presume this is not the case here, the hide operator either owns or has exclusive rights to the hides in question (specifically the last week's hides), is that correct?

 

Also, locally, all the hides I have used have been large enough for several people to sit in. These hides you used are definately more "stealthy", and it would seem as if in many cases the birds approach much more closely than what I am used to.

 

Another thing I would like to comment on is your converter experience. I am myself rather dissapointed almost every time I use my converter on my 500mm lens. I know it's not possible to draw direct comparisons, as they are different brands, but I seldom feel that the photos I have taken at 700mm are visibly better than more aggressively cropped photos taken at 500mm. The same is not true of my 300mm lens using the same converter. With that combo, as long as I keep the aperture smaller than f7.1, I get pretty decent results compared to the bare lens.

 

Of course, another factor is that my converter definately doesn't like being on a wide-open lens. Both these lenses perform exceptionally well wide open, but with the converter on I definately have to stop down a bit. And considering that I tend to shoot in Manual mode with Auto-ISO, which means that the ISO will usually be considerably higher, which may be having some effect on my image quality. But not all of it either, since I do occasionally find light good enough to get below ISO400, even at f8, and then still get disapointing results.

 

As yet, I have had no experience with a 2x converter.

 

One last passing thought: have you ever considered getting a monopod with a one-directional head? It would seem as if having one might have made your life a lot easier several times on this trip. Obviously, it doesn't replace a tripod, but on the other hand it is also a fraction of the weight and encumbrance.

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All stunning but the griffon vulture images are my favorite. Thank you for sharing.

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@@janzin @@PCNW @@TonyQ @PeterConnan Thanks for the comments.

 

Peter, re the use of TC's is an interesting debate. Personally I have no reservations using both the 1.4 and the 2.0x. Canon don't make a 1.7x of course and Nikon users have always seemed to prefer the 1.7 to the 2.0x. but when I was using Nikon gear I was happy with all three.

I am prefer using a 1.4 with my 1D body than a bare lens and the 7D cropped body. Nothing to do with sharpness, just the overall image quality so maybe that is as much an influencing reason as any.

That said I found some shots on my 7D which I had forgotten I'd taken and I'm happy with the results compared with the ID, neither using a TC though!

7D

35019913375_03b4081427_b.jpgBlack-winged Stilt by Dave Williams, on Flickr

1D

34002825854_cc63651bb6_b.jpgBlack-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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