If you’re reading this blog, congratulations! You’re probably the 4th person to do so today! That’s like a quadruple increase in my audience!
This weekend, I decided visit the bat colony on the Waugh Street bridge in Houston. The problem with bats is that they only come out after sunset and this time of the year that doesn’t happen until late in the day. While waiting, I decided to take some other pictures which in all honesty came out much better than the bat pictures. My weapons of choice for this shoot were my trusty 14-24mm f/2.8 Nikkor and the bastard child 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lenses on the D90.
It seemed like I always had the wrong lens on the camera – when I had the wide-angle lens on, there would be that giant bird flying that I want to get a close-up of that I couldn’t or the other way around. Given that this was in the evening, it also became very clear to me that my slow telephoto zoom is quite useless for wildlife unless it is the middle of the day. Even though there was at least a half hour of daylight remaining, at f/5.6 I was struggling to get shutter speed faster than 1/50 which on a 300 mm introduces camera shake even with that vibration reduction turned on and off course is completely useless for a moving subject. Loss or not, I don’t think I’ll be keeping this lens for much longer. I already own an 85mm f/1.8 lens which does beautiful work for portraits so I think I will keep that as my only telephoto lens until I can upgrade the better telephoto zoom ie. 70-200mm VR f/2.8.
Regardless, the pictures turned out not too bad. First one is taken at 70 mm. The second one was taken with the 14 mm. you can tell how much better the quality is on the wide-angle lens given that it’s a professional lens. There is no way that my old Sigma ultra-wide angle lens could even close to getting a picture that rich. The picture of a yellow crowned Heron that you see shows that my telephoto lens is just not cutting it.
Obviously I wasn’t the only one bat shit crazy enough to wait around to see some bats. the cool thing about photo worthy sceneries is that you always seem to meet other photographers and I was not alone. There was a very nice family who were pointing out all the wildlife to me in case I missed them. There was another dude with the same camera that I have and even saved a spot for me on the bridge.
Finally, the bats showed up! Only the problem was that it was too dark! I can take pictures in your darkness IF the subject is not moving; however, when I have the moving subject in near darkness, the only way to capture it is the use of flash. I could completely overpower the ambient light and instead of the shutter speed, use the instance flash to freeze them in flight, but that would require a stronger flash and would be very annoying to the people and the bats, therefore, I decided to capture some ambient light and use rear sync flash mode to try to freeze them with a little ghosting. The results, were less than thrilling. I think next time I’ll zoom in more and use a more targeted flash to see what I can get. Maybe drag the SB-800 in for more power.