Readers’ wildlife photographs

September 24, 2015 • 7:00 am

I’m slowly starting to catch up with my cache of readers’ photos. Here are four of birds from reader Colin Franks (photo website here; Facebook page here):

Glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens):


Great Grey Owl  (Strix nebulosa):


Double Crested Cormorant  (Phalacrocorax auritus):


Wood Duck (Aix sponsa):


And an astronomy photo from Diana MacPherson:

I took this nice moon picture with my new 150-600mm Tamron zoom lens. This is at full zoom and hand-held. Even my Canon 300mm prime isn’t this good! I’m very impressed with the lens and am no longer a prime snob. Usually, my moon shots only look this good through my telescope!

Moon Through Telephoto Lens

37 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photographs

        1. Yeah with the supermoon. Depends on if I’m 1) not sore 2) not sleeping from taking medication to stop me from being sore 3) not cloudy

    1. This Sunday (7:11 PM PST) there is going to be a super blood moon, so get your cameras ready…probably don’t need a telephoto lens though.

        1. @ Diana: Ah, I hadn’t read through the comments. I’d just heard about the eclipse and surfed back to this thread to find your great moon shot. But mordacious1’s mentioning of the super blood moon is what I was thinking of.

          I do hope it’s not cloudy!

          1. charleen, please note that both Diana MacPherson and I –Diane G.– comment regularly here. Diana’s the one with the new lens. 😉

            1. Oh, gracious me, I’ve done it again. For some reason, my brain is creating a -dian- composite entity. Unfortunately, you and Diana are being lumped into a hybrid.

              But, this will differentiate with more contact and as I get a feel for you two as individuals.

              This response from you, Diane G., was helpful. Thanks :–)

  1. Very nice all around.

    Diana: That lens must have IS in it, yes?

    I loved my Sigma 150-500 (1.5 crop on my bodies) but I’ve moved on to a micro 4/3 system, a Lumix 100-300 (equiv. 200-600) is my longest reach now — and perfectly adequate for what I do. It also has IS (so does my body, Olympus OM-D E-M10, I love it.)

    1. Yes, I don’t buy a lens that doesn’t have IS because I prefer hand-held. This was shot at 1/2500 so shooting fast is still a must.

  2. Wildlife pictures are always great – but are even better when an owl is featured. Many are impressed by the speed of some birds but the fact that an owl can fly more slowly than any other bird (I think – waiting to be corrected) is even more impressive to me – and to aeronautical engineers. Most birds would stall and fall from the sky but the owl with its remarkable wing can stay in the air while barely moving.

    1. I took some photos with my 24mm prime and they are really nice. I think primes force you to think about composition more sometimes. I find I can take nicer photos compositionly with primes vs. zooms which turn out unsatisfactory to me. Could be just the way my brain works.

      1. I expect that a prime lens will best a high quality zoom lens at the same focal length. That is if one takes a picture at comparable settings, and then really magnifies the images to look for things like sharpness and chromatic aberration.
        But what most people do these days is look at pictures, even very very high quality pictures, on a computer monitor where all details are brought down to the number of pixels on the monitor. That is the great equalizer.
        Its like having great recordings of music, but we listen through ear buds.

        1. I found this lens to be chromatic aberration free but even my prime will get them when there is a white sky. In theory, there should be more in zoom lenses because there is more glass.

          There is some barrel distortion at full zoom, but very little and that is easily corrected in Lightroom. There is pin cushioning with my wide angle prime that I correct for as well.

          I imagine a zoom lens can be heavier than a prime, however this one is about the same weight as a similar prime. It’s heavy, but mnanageable.

          It’s pretty impressive what companies like Tamron & Sigma are doing with their super zooms!

          1. A main advantage of primes over zooms, as I am sure you know and don’t need me to tell you, is maximum aperture. But if you have plenty of light most of the advantages conferred by the larger aperture are not significant. But, that but can be pretty big sometimes.

        2. There’re lots of variables at play. Any more, the top-of-the-line zooms generally offer the best image quality, and the only advantage to a prime is some specific ability the zoom doesn’t offer — typically, a faster aperture, true macro focussing, or tilt / shift movement. But if you don’t need that specific feature, the zooms are typically optically superior.

          Not always, of course. But typically.


  3. Depending on where the gull was shot, it could be holding a Clinocardium nuttallii, a common cockle found along the west coast of the US.

    The gulls carry the cockles into the air, then drop them, in an effort to crack the shell & get at the meat. I’ve been on one beach where you need to keep a close eye out for falling cockles!

  4. I wish Diana would anthropomorphize the moon like she does chipmunks. Something like “the moon looks especially pensive tonight with that puffed out left cheek.” 😺

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