Robert OToole Photography
  • Aug4

    Example

    A couple of weeks ago I picked up a mint Schneider Kreuznach macro V-mount lens setup. FYI, the SK V-mount gear is designed for the industrial machine vision market so the gear is very solid and very easy to set up and use.
    The gear was in great condition but was missing the hood that interestingly mounts on the front or rear of the lens depending if you are using the lens in reverse or forward orientation for the best performance under different magnification ratios.

    Apple Repair Extension Program

    Example

    On Monday I dropped Schneider-Optics west coast office an email asking if they could help with the availability and price for the missing hood. They replied on the same day and told me that not only did they have the hood I needed but they would send it for no charge if I paid for the shipping. The package arrived on Wednesday and to my surprise not only did they send the hood but they sent a matching lens cap!

    Now that is customer service!

    Example

    FYI Schneider Kreuznach owns the US subsidiary Schneider Optics and is best known as the owner of B+W Filters, Rollei Fototechnic, and Century Optics.

    Any questions or comments? Leave a question below or send me an email.

    All content (including text, design, photos, layout, and graphics) are copyright © 2015 Robert OToole.  All rights reserved.

  • Jul31

    Video Issues and Logic Board FailureExample

    The Problem

    Owners of 2011 to early 2013, 15 and 17 inch MacBook Pros need to be aware of any issues that causes video problems like freezes, distorted screen, black or gray screens and restarts. My 17 inch MBP would show green strips and restart on its own and boot to a black, blue or gray screen! This issue is solved with a new logic board replaced under warranty. This repair would cost $600+ if you have to cover the cost of the repair.

    Apple Repair Extension Program

    Apple Repair Extension Program

    This program was set up earlier this year after consumers discovered that the problem was widespread. The page on Apple’s support site on this issue has 5 million views:
    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4766577. My 17 MBP failed a Apple diagnostic test at the service center so they offered to replace the logic board at no charge and under warranty. I decided to order a new top case or unibody case which includes a new keyboard and touchpad since the laptop was being serviced anyway. My shop had my MBP back in my hands in less than two full days for a grand total of $319 ($219 for the top case alone). This shop is an independent Apple repair center called AMS and is located in Torrance California http://www.amsus.com/

    The program covers affected MacBook Pro models until February 27, 2016 or three years from its original date of sale, my computer thankfully  failed in the last couple of months of the coverage and t
    hankfully there were no issues with OWC aftermarket SSD drives (two) and RAM effecting the warranty process.

    Need more info, see Apple’s support page: https://www.apple.com/support/macbookpro-videoissues/

    Example

    Any questions or comments? Leave a question below or send me an email.

    All content (including text, design, photos, layout, and graphics) are copyright © 2015 Robert OToole.  All rights reserved.

  • Jul29

    Trip Report : Tour One

    Overall this tour was just about perfect. Even though I managed to step on and break my Maui Jim sunglasses in half on the first day of the trip and later having my old faithful MacBook Pro suffering a RAM failure and logic board failure didn’t seem to really matter to me since I was working with such a great group of people including my hard working co-leader Mark Comon from Paul’s Photo. The Photographic opportunities were fantastic from the first few minutes and seemed to get better and better up until the last minutes of the final shoot of the trip. This tour, in a partnership with Paul’s Photo in Torrance California was the first in a series we are doing together in the future including Japan in 2016.

    Example
    Plus size mother blonde bear checking out our group. Sigma 24-105 Art  lens and Nikon D810, 1/1000s, f/5.6, 75mm, ISO 640, EV + .7, Manual mode, Auto-ISO, handheld.

    The first few minutes after stepping off our floatplane I was faced with a tough decision, we had two bears (and later a wolf) fighting on top of a dead fin whale carcass, but the rest of our group was due to arrive in an hour or two. For the first couple of hours the harsh light made the dark bears on a white carcass unattractive so the decision was easy but after a 3 hour flight delay wait the light improved to the point where I decided to have the present half of the group suit up to take advantage of the scene in front of us. But before we could finish suiting up the rest of the group with Mark showed up, 3.5 hours late but just in time for the soft late afternoon light!

    Example
    Lone bear morning walk at Hallo Bay. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/500s, f/7.1, 360mm, ISO 280, Manual mode, Auto-ISO, Uniqball UBH 45X on tripod.

    The Weather

    July in Alaska always seems to deliver with a great balance of long hours of good light and good weather and this year was no exception. We had a single rain delay due in the entire seven day tour!

    The Locations

    This tour, the first of a series of three, was aimed at bears, their behavior and interactions mostly in Hallo Bay. The second and third tours this year that are taking place in August are targeting bears hunting for salmon at a spot down the coast called Geographic Harbor.

    Hallo had just started to show a limited salmon run when we were there and had good numbers of bear and cubs. Kuliak had tons of pinks getting ready to run (and the dead whale) but Kukak seemed pretty slow but it still provided a hugh number, almost unbelievable number of eagles and eaglets, one nest had three good looking young ones!

    Example
    Taking a break from eating a whale lunch to size up our group. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/1250s, f/8, 500mm, ISO 450, EV -0.3, Manual mode, Auto-ISO, handheld.

    Equipment

    This year I went with the same lenses that performed so well on my Japan tour, the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 (+1.4X), Sigma 150-600 sports, and a Sigma 24-105 all in my F-stop backpack / roller system. The 120-300 f2/8 sports lens was my go to lens for low light conditions, the 150-600 was my main lens the rest of the time. For bodies I brought a two Nikon D810s. The ability to go into CX mode with 6 fps and a 1.2X crop and DX mode with 7 fps and 1.5X crop with the increase in buffer size was great.

    This year I brought three sets of waders, a convertible chest wader from Orvis, wading pants from Patagonia and a convertible thigh wader from Chota, all the ultra light Patagonia boots. The Chotas are good for warm afternoons since they pull down to boot level to keep cool.

    Example

    Mother bear enjoying a roll in the warm sun and fresh sedge. Moments later the cub ran over to join her. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/500s, f/7.1 600mm, ISO 3600, EV + 0.7, Manual mode, Auto-ISO, Uniqball UBH 45X on tripod.

    The entire tour delivered lots of great opportunities up the final minutes of the tour when we had a surprise! I knew the area were scouting was great for red fox in years past but I was even surprised when Mark spotted a fox sunning on a patch of grass in perfect light. We motored closer and closer to what seemed like a few feet past the end of my legs that were hanging off the front of the skiff. Before our boat hit a rock and scared the fox away my lens EXIF reported a seven foot shooting distance.

    Example
    Red fox taking a hunting break to enjoy the sun. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/1250s, f/8, 550mm, ISO 900, EV + 0.3, Manual mode, Auto-ISO, handheld.

    If you are interested in joining a 2016, 2017, or 2018 tour email me to be placed on the interest list.  I should have solid dates by the end of August. Right now it looks like a tour at the end of June for bears and cubs and two August tours for bears fishing for salmon.

    Sunday February 21st – Saturday March 5th, 2016, 14 Days: $8200. Deposit $3000.
    Maximum 6 photographers + Leader Robert OToole and co-leader.

    Any questions or comments? Leave a question below or send me an email.

    All content (including text, design, photos, layout, and graphics) are copyright © 2015 Robert OToole.  All rights reserved.

  • Apr17

    Example
    Eagle Launching into a superman pose. Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 Sports lens and Nikon D4s, 1/4000s, f/5.6, 140mm, ISO 400, EV + 1.3, Manual mode, Handheld.

    2015 has the distinction my being my tenth year leading eagle workshops in Alaska. Its a privilege to have such wonderful tour participants that made all the 4 tours a big success, a special thanks to all of this years participants.

    Example
    Redirection against spruce trees with cones. Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/2500s, f/4, 300mm, ISO 400, Manual mode, Handheld.

    The Weather

    The biggest news this March had to be the weather. My first group had unusually low temperatures hitting  -5 F all the way down to -15 with lots of wind and only one short period of snow. The next three groups saw much warmer temperatures but no major rain or snow.

    The warmer weather we have had over the last couple of years did create one benefit this year. The stress of the warm weather caused a bumper crop of mature spruce cones.  They really add a nice touch of color  in an otherwise monochromatic spruce background.

    The Usual Subjects and Locations

    The sheer numbers of eagles at our locations this year was just great, the opportunities have been getting better and better over the last few years. In all four of my groups we had magical shoots that made all the expense, time and effort to get to Alaska worth it.

    Example
    Launching in soft light. Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 Sports lens and Nikon D4s, 1/2500s, f/5.6, 155mm, ISO 1250, EV + 1.3, Manual mode, Handheld.

    Equipment

    This year I went with the same lenses as my Japan tour, with Sigma 120-300 f/2.8, Sigma 150-600 sports, and a Sigma 24-105 all in my new F-stop backpack system. For bodies I brought a Nikon D810 and D4s for backup. My old faithful 120-300 f2/8 sigma lens was my favorite lens again this year. This lens has to be just about the perfect lens for eagle photography.

    The D810 AF system worked very well, maybe even better than my D800E. The ability to go into CX mode with 6 fps and a 1.2X crop and DX mode with 7 fps and 1.5X crop on the D810 was useful when the D4s was not around. The D4s was my choice for low light and when I expected some heavy flight action.

    This year with the addition of my new Bama boot socks my arctic sport Muck boots kept me warm and toasty even on the coldest mornings. Why didn’t I know about these before?

    Example
    Eagle island Kachemak Bay. Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 Sports lens and Nikon D4s, 1/2500s, f/5.6, 145mm, ISO 500, EV + 1.3, Manual mode, Handheld.

    Temperatures

    The higher than normal temps over the last couple of years has a huge influence on the eagles behavior. This can make action at certain spots inconsistent and at others better than ever. Some of the areas that are normally very productive were unusually quiet this year but since there are so many spots available we worked alternate locations that offered amazing opportunities.

    Example
    One twentieth speed blur. Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/4000s, f/13, 270mm, ISO 100, EV + 1.3, Manual mode, Handheld.
    Example
    Eagle posing next to cone topped bonsai like spruce. Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/500s, f/4, 300mm, ISO 500, EV + 1.3, Manual mode, Handheld.

    Example
    Super close up approach. Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 Sports lens and Nikon D4s, 1/2500s, f/7.1, 220mm, ISO 1250, EV + 1.3, Manual mode, Handheld.

    Example
    Bank and spruce trees. Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 Sports lens and Nikon D4s, 1/2500s, f/4, 250mm, ISO 800, EV + 1.3, Manual mode, Handheld.

    Example
    Eagle over Mt Augustine. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D4s, 1/2000s, f/7.2, 600mm, ISO 1000, EV + 1.3, Manual mode, Handheld.

    The weather this year was not the best due to the lack of snow and warm temps but each and every group was able to experience amazing dream like eagle shooting sessions that made everyone more than happy so my rating for this year is an A+.

    If you would like to join us next year my 2016 dates are available but act quickly so you are not disappointed.

    Eagle Photo Tour Series 2016

    March 15 – 19th,  2016, 5 days $3900. Deposit $1950.
    March 22 – 26th,  2016, 5 days $3900. Deposit $1950.
    March 28th – April 1,  2016, 5 days $3900. Deposit $1950.

    Maximum of 5 photographers + Leader Robert OToole and co-leader.

    For more tour info follow this link: http://www.robertotoole.com/workshop/bald-eagles/

    Sunday February 21st – Saturday March 5th, 2016, 14 Days: $8200. Deposit $3000.
    Maximum 6 photographers + Leader Robert OToole and co-leader.

    Any questions or comments? Leave a question below or send me an email.

    All content (including text, design, photos, layout, and graphics) are copyright © 2015 Robert OToole.  All rights reserved.

  • Mar23

    Example

    Early bird sequence. NIKON D4S with Sigma sports 120-300 mm f/2.8 lens @ 220mm, ISO 800, 1/4000 s at f/5.6.

    Within minutes of arriving at our shooting location at first light this eagle flew directly at us and banked across our bow.

    Wildlife photography is challenging but sometimes everything falls into place and makes things really really easy.

    Will post lots more images and details on my 2015 eagle tour series soon!

    Example

    Unsharpened 100% magnification crop of the above sequence.

    Any questions or comments? Leave a question below or send me an email.

    All content (including text, design, photos, layout, and graphics) are copyright © 2015 Robert OToole.  All rights reserved.

  • Mar8

    Example
    Japanese red-crowned crane pair in a snow storm. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/30s, f/11, 150mm, ISO 64, EV + 1.3, Manual mode with Auto-ISO, UniqBall UBH 45 head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.

    Japan really delivered this year with great conditions, superb opportunities for our tour and thanks to a really wonderful group of people the trip was a big success. Sitting in my office in Los Angeles with 87 degree weather outside I am wishing I was back in Japan right now!

    Example
    Japanese red-crowned cranes displaying in the snow. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/1250s, f/7.1, 550mm, ISO 64, EV + 1.3, Manual mode with Auto-ISO, UniqBall UBH 45 head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.

    The Usual Subjects and Locations

    There are four main areas that are visited on my Japan tour. We started out in Tokyo and moved to the beautiful Nagano area, sometimes known as Japan’s Alps, on the first day to target snow monkeys at the famous monkey park. Then we traveled to the northern island of Hokkaido to target the rare Steller’s sea eagle, whooper and the ultra rare Japanese red-crowned crane for the next nine days. This amount of time almost guarantees that you will see excellent snow and ice conditions for eagles and cranes.

    The Weather

    When photographing cranes in Japan you hope for at least one day of snow, this year the weather delivered with a few days of snow storms and even a couple of blizzards to make things interesting. Thankfully at the crane park even in bad weather you are always few steps away from a heater, warm food and drinks.

    Out of the nine days on Hokkaido we had a great mix of all kinds of weather, snow, cloudy, and overcast with only two days of full sun. In Japan clear weather is not ideal since it means harsh light and usually lower temps.

    Example
    Japanese red-crowned cranes in Hokkaido. All Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810 and UniqBall UBH 45 head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.

    Equipment

    I recommend telephoto zoom lenses for locations like a crane park where you are limited to a certain distance. The images above were made at focal lengths from 200 to 600mm all made without having to change lenses. When you don’t have to stop and change  the lenses, or switch  the bodies, you can relax and concentrate on expressing your creative vision. This strategy has proven to work very well for me over the years in Japan.

    Since I decided not to bring a big prime lens this year all of the images in this post were made with the new Sigma 150-600 sports lens in Nikon or Canon mount. How did this lens work over a 500 or 600 prime? I can tell you I didn’t miss flying, carrying or shooting with a prime lens for one second and I will not be bringing a long prime lens next year thats for sure.

    On this trip I carried a new (medium sized) F-stop photo backpack with not one but two Sigma 150-600 sports lenses, with hoods on, and a Sigma 24-105!

    Example
    Red-footed red-crowned crane bank top view at the Akan crane park. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/1600s, f/6.3, 600mm, ISO 640, EV + 1.3, Manual mode, Handheld.

    The Cranes

    The japanese red-crowned cranes have a more highly developed display and mating behavior than typical cranes like the sandhills. In one hour an entire large group of cranes will display over and over again. This is one of the reasons I never seem to get bored of shooting the JRC cranes.

    The japanese red-crowned cranes are the rarest on the planet with total numbers less than 3000. The non migratory population on Hokkaido number about 600-1000.

    Example
    Japanese red-crowned crane dropping in during a snow storm. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/1600s f/8, 600mm, ISO 1100, EV + 1.3, Manual mode with Auto-ISO, UniqBall UBH 45 head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.
    We spent four full days targeting cranes at two main locations and a couple of backup spots to make sure we get the cranes in optimum conditions. This is my favorite photographic combination on Hokkaido, it just doesn’t get any better than 50+ cranes calling and displaying in falling snow, sometimes all at once!

    Snow Monkeys

    Example
    Snow monkey nit-picking in the sun at the monkey park. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/500s, f/11, 300mm, ISO 200, Manual mode with Auto-ISO. UniqBall UBH 45 head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.

    Over the years I have spent lots and lots of time around the monkeys in Japan and it never gets boring. The young monkeys like to keep moving and seem to always be up to mischief and the adults are always seem to be doing something interesting.

    Example
    Napping in each others arms. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/500s, f/11, 380mm, ISO 560, Manual mode with Auto-ISO, +0.7 EV. UniqBall UBH 45 head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.

    The monkey park can get crowded, this year was the busiest year ever at the park, but the wave of crowds eventually thin out leaving with some very good, sometimes excellent opportunities.

    Example
    Young snow monkey checking out my camera under the watchful eye of its older sister. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/500s, f/8, 380mm, ISO 560, Manual mode with Auto-ISO, UniqBall UBH 45 head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.

    Blizzard

    Example
    Japanese red-crowned cranes in a blizzard. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/30s, f/11, 150mm, ISO 64, EV + 1.3, Manual mode with Auto-ISO, UniqBall UBH 45 head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.

    My group was lucky to see and photograph the cranes in blizzard conditions. It was amazing to see the cranes react to the blizzard conditions by forming a tight group and big gusts of wind triggered an alert posture of some kind, anyway the blizzard definitely got their attention, as you can see in the image above. It really seems like the cranes enjoy the snowy weather because as soon as the wind would die back down just a little they would spread out and start a frenzy of displaying even going into copulatory stances a few times.

    It might seem like a bad thing to check the weather and see extreme weather warnings highlighted in bright red for the area you will be shooting in all day. On the contrary bad weather often means great photo opportunities.

    Japan continues to still have plenty of snow, thankfully, something that has been the case in Alaska over the last couple of years.

    Example
    Japanese red-crowned crane pair in a snow storm. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/30s, f/11, 150mm, ISO 64, EV + 1.3, Manual mode with Auto-ISO, UniqBall UBH 45 head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.

    The Steller’s Sea Eagle

    Hokkaido is still the best location on the planet to photograph the steller’s sea eagle and for anyone that loves to photograph eagles seeing the SSE on pack ice is something that you will never forget. We spent two days photographing the steller’s and next year I will be adding additional photo sessions.

    My group had perfect timing as the blizzard that gave us the awesome conditions for the cranes shut down the roads to the eagle peninsula and not only kept everyone from leaving town but also kept the eagle boats in the harbor for 3 days.

    If you have ever thought about photograph the steller’s sea eagles in Japan do it now.  The pack ice has been steadily declining over the years and due to the huge increases in gas and oil development in the region who knows how much longer this will be happening (for example a Russian oil rig was lost in Jan in the area). Also the world’s population of SSE is less than 5000 and is declining steadily every year.

    Example
    Steller’s sea eagle banking hard against a sea ice background. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 1/1600 s, f/7.1, 270mm ISO 640, Manual mode with Auto-ISO and +2/3 exposure compensation (yes EC in manual mode) handheld.

    Steller’s sea eagle hard bank image made with my new Canon 7D EOS Mark II. This lightweight combo with a 240mm to 960mm range and 10 fps is just about perfect for the eagles in flight. FYI, I am putting together a future post about my findings with this camera and lens combo right now.

    Example
    Steller’s sea eagles perched on sea ice in the Nemuro Straits. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/1250 s, f/6.3, 600mm ISO 7200, Manual mode with Auto-ISO and +0.7 EV , handheld.

    Example
    Steller’s sea eagle redirection against the Shiretoko Peninsula in morning light. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 1/2000 s, f/8, 240mm ISO 400, Manual mode with Auto-ISO and +2/3 exposure compensation (yes EC in manual mode) handheld.

    Being able to photograph the steller’s sea eagle in flight is definitely a highlight of this tour. They are easy to distinguish from the white-tailed eagles also found at the same spot by the  way they fly. Thankfully they are slower and the darker color, almost black, makes an easy target for your camera’s AF system.

    Example
    White-tailed eagle top view bank. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 1/2000 s, f/8, 534mm ISO 200, Manual mode with Auto-ISO , handheld.

    Another highlight for me was photographing the smaller white-tailed eagles. A close cousin to our bald eagle the WTE or white-tailed eagle can be found all over Asia and Europe but there is not another place on earth where they are so tame and easy to reach and photograph at close distances.

    As I sit in my office writing this blog in Southern California I cant help but think about what fantastic opportunities we will find next winter in Japan and I can hardly wait to make it back to Hokkaido to lead my 2016 tour! I hope you can join us.

    2016 Japan Winter Wildlife Tour
    Sunday February 21st – Saturday March 5th, 2016, 14 Days: $8200. Deposit $3000.
    Maximum 6 photographers + Leader Robert OToole and co-leader.

    Single western style single rooms, mini bus (van) transport, mobile Wi-Fi, small group size of six, english speaking guide and special afternoon eagle photo sessions.

    For more tour info follow this link: http://www.robertotoole.com/workshop/hokkaido-japan/

    Sunday February 21st – Saturday March 5th, 2016, 14 Days: $8200. Deposit $3000.
    Maximum 6 photographers + Leader Robert OToole and co-leader.

    Any questions or comments? Leave a question below or send me an email.

    All content (including text, design, photos, layout, and graphics) are copyright © 2015 Robert OToole.  All rights reserved.

  • Feb22

    Example

    Juvenile snow monkey with an early morning snack at the monkey park. NIKON D810 with Sigma sports 150.0-600.0 mm lens @ 400mm, Auto-ISO at 400, EV +.3, 1/500 at f/11

    My first week back in Japan has been great so far with great light, huge piles of snow everywhere and I am with the best group of people I have ever led in Japan. This was the year of the baby monkey with 75 young ones born at the park but this was also the busiest week ever at the monkey park with great weather and the chinese new year holiday creating the perfect storm of crowds but overall the conditions were still great.

    Next stop Hokkaido!

    Below is a 100% pixel crop of the above image to give you an idea of what image quality the 150-600 sports lens is capable of. This was my first trip to Japan without any prime lenses and my Sigma 150-600 and 120-300 lenses are working out great so far.


    Example

    100% actual pixel crop NIKON D810 with Sigma sports 150.0-600.0 mm lens. BTW this image was shot at f/11 which is not the lenses sharpest aperture.

    Any questions or comments? Leave a question below or send me an email.

    All content (including text, design, photos, layout, and graphics) are copyright © 2014 Robert OToole.  All rights reserved.

  • Jan15

    Example
    Two openings just became available for one of my Bald eagle tours. The tour is at one of the prime eagle photography locations on the planet. Here are the details:

    March 26th – Mar 30,  2015, 5 days $3900. Deposit $1950. 5 photographers maximum.
    2 openings.

    Tour leader: Robert OToole

    You will need to be in Alaska on March 25th at least.

    Here are more details on past tours:

    See the 2014 Eagle Tour Report part one: http://www.robertotoole.com/2014/03/19/eagle-tour-2014-part-one/

    and part two: http://www.robertotoole.com/2014/04/02/eagle-tour-2014-part-two/

    Let me know right away if you can join us, you wont regret it.

    Example
    Early morning touch down made at a 300mm focal length.

    Example
    Photographer working an immature bald eagle with a 70-200mm lens.

    Any questions or comments? Leave a question below or send me an email.

    All content (including text, design, photos, layout, and graphics) are copyright © 2014 Robert OToole.  All rights reserved.

  • Dec20

    Currently I am shooting with a new Sigma 150-600 Sports Lens, my new favorite lens by the way, and will be posting a review of the lens here soon. Until then I wanted to post some quick results of center sharpness at 600mm, wide open, the focal length and aperture that should be of interest to a lot of people. I will post lots of images of real life subjects and more map images at other apertures and focal lengths soon.

    150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports lens on Nikon D810, OS off. Live view focus, AF lock, Manual mode, 1/1250 s, f/6.3, Auto ISO, EV at 0.

    Jobu MK3 gimbal head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod

    Be sure to click on any image below if you would like to launch the viewer and see a larger version on the image.

    Example

    Full un-cropped test image

    Example

    Center 100% magnification view crop of the image above, remember no sharpening was applied

    The results here speak for themselves, sharp at the center wide open at 600mm. Stopped down 1/3rd – 2/3rd stop and at shorter focal lengths the sharpness improves pushing the results into prime lens territory. I think Sigma is going to have a hard time keeping up with sales of this lens!

    Interested in a complete lab test of the  150-600 sports lens? Check out lenstip’s test: http://www.lenstip.com/417.1-Lens_review-Sigma_S_150-600_mm_f_5-6.3_DG_OS_HSM.html

    Any questions or comments? Leave a question below or send me an email.

    All content (including text, design, photos, layout, and graphics) are copyright © 2014 Robert OToole.  All rights reserved.

  • Dec16

    After nine years of leading tours at Bosque I have seen more than my share of unforgettable moments that keep me coming back. This year the conditions were not all time but Bosque still delivered really great moments for all my tour participants.

    Be sure to click on any image below if you would like to launch the viewer and see a larger version on the image.

    Example
    Early morning crane display. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/1250 s, f/6.3, 600mm ISO 640, EV + .3, Manual mode with Auto-ISO, Jobu MK3 gimbal head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.

    The weather at Bosque this year was different (this seems to be common theme with all of my tour reports this year). The weather was so warm we no snow and only a couple of mornings with temps below freezing. The upside to the warm temps were some unusual bird behavior. The cranes would display and dance in large groups in the mornings, not as much as other crane species but for sandhills it was pretty special. One afternoon my group watched a large group of cranes bath for about an our. This might not seem like anything special but in my nine years of spending lots and lots of time on the reserve I have seen a sandhill bathe there once before. Unfortunately the bathing was too far away to shoot but it was interesting to observe.

    Example
    Early Late evening fly in speed blur. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/20 s, f/6.3, 600mm ISO 72, EV + .7, Manual mode with Auto-ISO, Jobu MK3 gimbal head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.

    The cranes pools have always been reliable at Bosque and one of my favorite spots of all time. This year was different, the pools really were the place to be since they were the only reliable location to shoot on the reserve! My favorite spot, the north crane pool was overgrown this year, really limiting the spot’s opportunities but management has promised me the north crane pool will be trimmed and back to normal in 2015!

    All of the images in this post were made with the new Sigma 150-600 sports lens. This year I decided not to bring a big prime lens for the first time. How did the lens perform at Bosque? Superb, even wide open at 600mm. This trip to New Mexico was my first chance to shoot with this lens so I will post a field report on the lens performance once I am done my current trip in Hawaii. I am looking forward to sharing more images and my experiences on this new lens! Sigma really did an amazing job with the lens.

    Example
    Pintails bathing in morning light and mist at the flight deck pool. Sigma 150-600 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/1250 s, f/6.3, 280mm ISO 900, Manual mode with Auto-ISO, Jobu MK3 gimbal head and Jobu Algonquin Carbon Tripod.

    The main or flight deck pool is past its prime by the time my groups were there since it is flooded in October but still the pool was had lots to offer in December with ducks and great light most mornings like in the image above.

    Lots more coming in part two of this report coming as soon as I can finish up editing images.

    If you would like to join us next year my 2015 tour dates will be available really soon, you can email me anytime to be placed on the interested list.

    Any questions or comments? Leave a question below or send me an email.

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