Tag Archives: telephoto

Bison Close Encounter

While in the Badlands I was waiting for the next sunset I decided to get some close-ups of some prairie dogs using my 800mm lens setup. Unfortunately by sitting behind my tripod on my lens case I seemed to have frightened them and they never really popped out of their closest holes. They were chattering at me only from afar.

After about a half hour I looked over my shoulder and HOLY CRAP! A bull bison was crossing the road about ten feet away looking directly at me! I froze, I didn’t want to startle it so I very slowly moved around to the other side of my tripod, my heart was pounding violently! I was way too close so I had to remove my 2x teleconverter to reduce the lens focal length to 400mm and wallah!. Right in from of me he started kicking up a prairie dog mound and rolled in the dirt, it was so damn cool. He then slowly grazed his way away from me.

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Unfortunately this was the best that I shot of the prairie dogs. I think a ground blind and more time would be needed in order to get closer, more candid shots._DSC7521

Voyageurs Early Summer Audio Delight

Here is a video, actually mostly audio, of the twilight near Voyageurs National Park. The sky was very hazy, the dew point was reached, the wind nonexistent, and the setting was absolutely surreal.


The original version is six minutes long and was way too big to upload here 🙁

Blood Red Moon Eclipse

Isn’t it cool to think that all of the sunrises and sunsets from all over the Earth are all being projected onto the Moon 🙂

This one was added 22:00 CDT, two exposure HDR image using Photomatix Pro:



Taken with a Nikon D800, Nikon 400mm with 2.8x teleconverters (1120mm) mounted on a CGEM mount.

Untitled1This shot was taken with a Nikon D3s with and 85mm lens, 3 min intervals.

For the CGEM fanboys – Even if this mount were to have been manufactured perfectly, which I can assure you it was not, the speed of the motor was fast, requiring me to recenter the Moon three times in an hour-and-a-half or it would have been out of frame.

This means that even if the mount could be perfectly aligned with zero error the mount would still need to be continuously guided with significant adjustments with each exposure of the guide scope. If, on the other hand, the motors were speed controlled, rather than position controlled, then after the first few corrections the mount would continuously track correctly. Instead the internal clock incorrectly calculates the estimated position of each of the impulse  movements.

By the way, for the moon to go completely off frame would be a tracking error by well over one degree, while the movement of the moon relative to sidereal time would be 360/28days/24hours or about one-half of a degree per hour. This is approximately the angular width of the Moon per hour.


A Beautiful Mother

Here are a really cool pair of images showing the sacrifice a good mother is willing to do for her young. Notice that she is creating a scene upon my arrival, she is quacking and splashing violently, drawing my attention away from her youngsters. Successfully, several hundred yards away, she is clearly upset but yet not actually escaping my presence, instead she is still drawing my attention away from her young. (notice her shit dropping in the second shot)

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Again, these images showcase the Nikon D3s and its capability for low light shots. This time about a half hour before sunset, but in heavily overcast skies and drizzle. Handheld with the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens with the 2.0x teleconverter at ISO 6400, 1/500s, f/8.0, focal length 340mm.

Taken in Voyageurs National Park, Sullivan Bay.

Nikon D3s at 128000 ISO

Here are a couple of images of a family of Canadian geese showing off Nikons D3s’s incredible low light capabilities. The first shot was taken handheld with a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens with a 2.0 x teleconverter at 400mm and the widest aperture of f/5.6 and a shutter speed of 1/50s with the ISO setting to 128000 and using spot autofocus. Note that the grain and sharpness loss due to the wide open aperture. These were also taken under fairly dark twilight conditions twenty-five minutes after sunset. I had no expectations that they would turn out at all.



Nikon’s D3s is (was) the ultimate low-light high-gain capable commercial DSLR on the market. The next was taken at a focal length of 270mm. Taken in Voyageurs National Park, Lost Lake.