When I took my best shot to my work place last Monday and test print it on the new Epson Stylus Pro 9900 we just bought, the result was phenomenal! Now everyone want a print of that Tui bird!
After all the initial excitement I look at the picture again and my photo-head tell me that there is something missing from this shot! Where was his LEG?
I went back and scrutinised all the shots and still concluded that this is the best, look at how the bird's stance and how he look at me! I got a frame next to this one, with leg; but his "pose" was not as good and it is not as sharp!
Photoshop to the rescue and an hour later, I have the shot I want! Hang on, I feel that the manipulation is OK because the "cloned leg" is his leg after all! The two frame was shot a fraction of a second apart! AND this is NOT a NEWS picture! ;)
All this "Tui involvement" got me even more obsess and wanting to get more shots of this gregarious bird!
So last Thursday after my nutritionist appointment I had 90 minutes to kill before picking up Le General, I set up my BIG GUN to capture the Tui again!
The "Big Gun" is my 15 year old Nikkor 300/2.8 telephoto lens that was sold to me for a fraction of the price by Helen Lim when I was working in Singapore. Thank you Helen!
This optical monster cost a bomb in the 70s and it was the favorite of pro sports photographers!
I was a bit disappointed with my results though, it could because the window is just too dirty and degrade the large aperture optics too much?
Fast forward to this afternoon, from the two previous experiences I know my Tui will come and suck the flax nectar after 4.15 pm! And this morning I had water blast the window to a pristine glaze!
For my third encounter, I decided to use my 25 year old Nikkor 180/2.8 mid-range tele.
This lens was my favorite as a bright telephoto to cover football games in our dimly lit stadiums in Malaysia in the 70s and 80s. We usually shot the action full 2.8 on Kodak Tri-X film and pushed process it another 3 stops!
Legend has it that this lens was modelled after the legendary Zeiss 180/2.8 Olympia Sonnar originally produced for the 1936 Berlin Olympics!
Just as I thought, my Tui bird landed noiselessly on the flax at 4.30 pm, I pick up the D300 with the 180/2.8 attached and walk quite near to the window; I am sure the Tui cannot see me and I shot hand held at f4, 1/680 sec. and ISO 400. Manual focus of course! Duh!
The results are STUNNING! See for yourself! And my old lens has fungus patches on one of the lens element! The sparkling clean windows help!
You wanna know how sharp this old lens is? Take a look below!
Another stunning shot of my favorite bird subject!
100% crop of the photo above it... old lens but GREAT lens!
I am really ecstatic how good my old lens is! I must get it service soon!
Famous last words:
Used Nikkor 180/2.8 manual focus lens are going for a song at some second hand shops, since most of these lenses were heavily used by pros be careful about their condition. Best if you can take your DSLR along and grab a few shots to make sure the focusing is true and visually check for fungus in the lens.
A really clean copy of this excellent lens is going for US$330.00 at ebay.
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