Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Some Wildlife From my Kayak - Nikon Df and Nikkor 300mm f4 AF-IF Lens

I have an older Nikkor internal focus 300mm f4 lens. I have been tempted to upgrade it to the AF-S version, but mine is so good, I just haven't seen a reason to do it.
Yesterday, I loaded my Nikon D700 and 500mm f4 Ai-P (manual focus) lens and matching gargantuan Gitzo tripod that I picked up very used and very cheap, along with my Nikon Df and 300mm f4 and Tamron AF 1.4X tele-extender into my kayak and paddled out. I ended up never using anything but the Df and 300mm. Instead of setting up my tripod near my favorite osprey nest (even though the birds are on the nest), I decided to paddle further up the creek and explore.
Stopping to rest in the shadow of a steep bank, not five minutes later I saw a swirl in the water, followed by a head coming to the surface. Thinking that it was likely a beaver, I started shooting. The sound of the camera clearly alarmed the animal, who quickly went under water, then returned to the surface looking straight at me. It was a river otter! The first one I've ever seen in the wild. He actually raised high out of the water to get a good look at me. I was ready, with my Df set to lock exposure with the rear button, meter set to spot metering, and auto-focus ready to go. Here's one of the shots I got.
River Otter, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 300mm f4 AF-IF Lens
iso 1100, f8, 1/1000 sec.

Another otter passed through very quickly a minute later.

I had the camera in auto-ISO mode, and exposure in M. So, I had a fast shutter speed and optimal f-stop already set. The camera chose the ISO. With the Nikon Df, I could shoot with confidence, without worrying about digital noise from the relatively high ISO setting.
I've printed this image at about 10"x15" and it looks just great.
I've got some more images from the morning kayak trip, and will share them in later posts.