March 2011



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 Hawk in Tree 1















 Additional images of the Hawks can be viewed here


We've just had a lot of rain and even some snow in the mountains surrounding LA. Most of the birds that I usually try to photograph seem to have gone somewhere else. The night before the local weather person had forecast torrential rain.  Of course the following morning  the sun was out so I decided to visit a local, little known garden, known as the Fullerton Arboretum.


The Arboretum covers 26 acres including a couple of large ponds, some huge tropical trees, a public garden area, and numerous paths through indigenous fauna.  I wasn't expecting much since there weren't any herons or egrets in the ponds.  I was just taking random images of pretty much nothing until this beautiful hawk flew onto a tree limb above me.  Capturing this image is the perfect example of having multiple cameras with different lenses attached in order to be ready to shoot as quickly as possible.  If I was only carrying one camera body and had to  replace the lens with a telephoto zoom, the hawk would have been long gone.


I'm getting ready to go to Yosemite so I thought I'd make a practice run with the equipment I was going to take on the trip and try it out at the Arboretum.  Thankfully, I found out that my main full frame camera body had some bad settings so I was able to correct this problem before taking very many images. I also recently purchased a high-end amateur body and was trying it out on a 80-400 zoom lens.  I generally use a low end pro body which yields a very high percentage of properly focused and exposed images.  I used the new body, which I planned to take on the trip, to capture the hawk image above. 


The problem is that I'm only getting about a 20 % yield.  I've modified the settings on the camera to emulate the settings on my higher end bodies and this seemed to help somewhat.  However, a relatively low yield still bothers me.  I suspect the new body may just be too light to use with the much larger and much heavier 80-400.  This is the first time I've had this concern with any body/lens combination.  I'll be very cautious when using this body/lens combination on the trip but if the yield doesn't improve, it will be going back for repair to the manufacturer.


Image shot with a 80-400 zoom and high end amateur DSLR body with 80-400.