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Photos Using the Late Birthday Present

For a while now, I’ve been looking at the nicer DSLR camera lenses and drooling a bit. As a late birthday present for myself, I went ahead and purchased an L-series 100-400 mm lens, which arrived on Friday. Naturally, all productivity came to a screeching halt while I ran around to try it out. If we’re friends on Facebook, you may have already seen some of the results.

The lens is both bigger and heavier than I expected. I can take pictures and get a bit of a workout at the same time. It’s got three different stabilizer modes that I need to figure out yet, and long-range handheld shots are tricky, but I’ve gotten some pictures I’m very happy with.

You can see a few more, or check out larger versions of these, at Flickr.

Red Winged Blackbird Flower Alley Geese, in silhouette Geese, with babies! Squirrel, with Nut Nuthatch Macaw Frog

For those of you who do photography, do you think I should worry about watermarking any of these? I’ve never bothered before, but I’m still very much an amateur trying to figure out what I’m doing.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 9th, 2016 05:38 pm (UTC)
First off, those are some great shots. I particularly like how the squirrel is looking straight at the viewer.

Second, whether you should watermark or not depends on what you want to accomplish with the watermarking.

(Caveat: I am not a lawyer.) My understanding is that watermarking has no legal effect on your ability to protect your images from infringement. It does, however, make it easy for people to tell who took the photo, and if that's what you're looking for, it's not difficult to add watermarking to your workflow.

I don't personally watermark my images, but then my images aren't exactly out there in front of a bunch of people. You, obviously, have a much wider reach with yours than I do with mine. :)

Here's an article on using your signature as a watermark:

If you're interested in how to protect your images, here's a useful resource:

(Caveat 2: Rod Barbee and Carolyn Wright are people I know personally through photo workshops--Rod is the best photographer and photography teacher I've ever met, and Carolyn used to use one of my images as her profile picture on her web site.)
May. 9th, 2016 06:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I suspect it's similar to writing, where the work is copyrighted regardless of whether you put a notice on it or not. (And putting a copyright note on a manuscript tends to be a hallmark of a new/amateur writer.)

I'm thinking mostly about the identification piece, and I have no idea if I need to worry about that or not. I've got a few photographer friends who watermark, and at least one who doesn't -- I need to go pick their brains at some point.
May. 9th, 2016 10:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah, "you made it, so you own it" is how I've been told it works with photos. You can increase your ability to defend against infringement by registering images (or groups of images) with the Patent Office, but I've never gotten around to doing that, so I don't know how the process works.

(And I figure you probably have more actual knowledge on that front from your writing than I do, and I didn't want to be more mansplainy than I could get away with. :) )
May. 9th, 2016 06:22 pm (UTC)
I can't really speak to the watermarking. I know some artists on tumblr and some who don't. (I just saw a post there about metadata yesterday, which apparently makes it easier to prove a piece of art is yours if someone tries to claim it as theirs, but it sounded like something one embeds into a drawn/painted piece. I'm not sure if it works the same for a photograph.)

These are really lovely, though. I especially love the first two--the translucency of the flower petals and the details on the leaves are amazing.

(I have a digital camera and I love taking pictures, but I have no idea where to start in terms of upgrading to something like this. Mine is just a small Canon Powershot.)
May. 9th, 2016 06:51 pm (UTC)
gorgeous shots!!
May. 9th, 2016 09:00 pm (UTC)
Did you get the V1 or the newer V2 version of the 100-400 - I have the 7D mk II body and that paired with the V2 version of that lens is apparently AMAZEBALLS for bird photography.

Sadly beyond my price reach at the moment but one day. I have the 70-200 F4 IS L in the mean time and if you want a zoom with a bit of reach but doesnt weigh a ton, its a good choice (the 2.8 is very heavy)

Re watermarking - its a fairly heavily debated topic. I don't bother because anyone with a bit of photoshop capability can edit it out and a lot of them are very intrusive and completely ruin the photo.

The usual advise is to put low res small files online so people can't get files big enough to print. I also have my Flickr account set so that people can't download the files.

That being said, there is a school of thought that says watermarks are advertising but I have no data on the reality of people seeing an image they like, with a watermark and going and looking for more of that persons work (if they found it elsewhere on the net).

Re using the lens - if you are serious about it esp for things like bird photography esp BIF (Birds in Flight) then get a good tripod with a Wimberley head - its a gimbal mounted tripod head that allows you to pan the camera with the bird, but it supports it via the lens.

Did you get a lens collar with it to mount on a tripod? For a longer lens like that the center pivot point is somewhere down the body of the lens so there is a spot to mount a collar on it where you attach it to the tripod there.

If you mount the camera body on the tripod the weight of the lens might pull on the socket and damage it (I have seen pix where a really big lens has literally torn the socket out of the camera body)

Critique re your pictures - good exposures, nice colours and good engagement with the subject. Pay attention to where your light source is, the first bird (a raven/crow?) is backlit which makes it very hard for the camera to expose well for the detail in the black feathers. Same with the two birds in the water - the sun is on the other side so again we see the shaded side.

Nature and bird photography is full of these challenges with critters out there moving around in the environment making their own choices where to be !

Again, always happy to talk more offline. Congrats on the shiny new toy!
May. 9th, 2016 10:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Yep, the lens has a tripod collar. I'll look into a good tripod. The one I've got currently is pretty cheap.

I was actually going for the backlit effects on the birds. I like the halo around the red-winged blackbird, and the silhouette on the geese in the water. It definitely loses the details, though.

It would have been nice if the geese had brought their kids over to visit instead of keeping to the other side of the pond. Such rude birds...
May. 9th, 2016 10:19 pm (UTC)
I have Manfrotto legs and an Acratech head with a Really Right Stuff L plate on my camera.

I seriously recommend getting the L plate - its much easier and quicker.

RRS offer all the options you could possibly want with legs, heads, brackets etc and is a good place to start looking.

Their stuff is very solidly constructed and well made and with an appropriate price tag :)

Good hunting!

Next time take bread with you to entice the locals :)
May. 10th, 2016 12:23 pm (UTC)
A good tripod is an excellent investment: don't shirk from spending $300+ for a good one. I've shot Manfrotto for over 30 years and love them. Back when I began in photography in the later half of the '70s, they were called Bogen after the guy importing them, Peter Bogen. He ran a full page ad in Peterson's Photographic of him sitting on a fully-extended tripod, holding a Haselblad, with the caption: Before Peter Bogen puts his name on a tripod, he puts Peter Bogen on it.

I replaced the legs on mine and kept the head, the aluminum was fatigued and I couldn't lock it tight enough to keep it from slipping, but it was over 20 years old. I kept the head and put it on the new legs and have kit-bashed it a bit to make it better for my preferences and limitations.

DEFINITELY get a quick-release head. I prefer the big octagonal head (for Manfrotto/Bogen), but that's just me. I also have a quick release on my monopod.
May. 9th, 2016 11:16 pm (UTC)
I forgot - I have this article on my blog from ages ago when I bought my first tripod

May. 9th, 2016 09:54 pm (UTC)
I very much enjoyed looking at these; thank you.

May. 9th, 2016 10:16 pm (UTC)
I love these. You're getting really good!
May. 10th, 2016 12:28 am (UTC)
Great shots! I wouldn't worry about watermarking if you're not going to sell your photos. The only people I know who do it are pros who make their living from their photos.
May. 10th, 2016 12:29 pm (UTC)
Some blogging/gallery software lets you apply a watermark, I use a free package called Piwigo on my photo site and it's not very obtrusive, but as already has been pointed out, a patient person can remove it with Photoshop.

There's an event coming up in mid-November if you like birding, called the Bosque Apache Festival of the Birds. It's a couple of hours south of Albuquerque, NM and is pretty cool. Canon has a booth there and will lend lenses and other kit, and will also give your gear a cleaning/once-over including an OS update. There are lots of seminars and outings, it's all-in-all a pretty cool time. And lots of AMAZING bird photo opportunities.

It's also VERY cold, but considering where you live, you probably have appropriate garb.
May. 10th, 2016 06:13 pm (UTC)
Given the distance and the travel I'm already doing this year, I don't think the Festival is in the cards, but it sounds like a lot of fun. I see a number of panels/presentations I'd love to sit in on if I could.
May. 11th, 2016 01:16 pm (UTC)
Try re-thinking it (maybe not for this year). Your job is to write and promote. Conventions and appearances are promotion and networking with some R&R thrown in. Schedule a future book release for mid-October, then schedule a promotion tour around the Festival: fly in to Albuquerque, do appearances at ABQ and Santa Fe, then take a few days off for the Festival of the Birds, then down to future promotions/signings at Las Cruces, El Paso, and then you could swing East through Dallas or West through Tucson, Phoenix, Prescott, and Flagstaff.

And if you can arrange a weekend free from El Paso, I can get you a tour at my wife's observatory, home of 3.5 and 2.5 meter telescopes plus a lunar laser ranging program where a laser is shot through the 3.5 and bounces off of five retro-reflectors. (the telescope is about 2.5 hours north of El Paso, so it would be a pretty full day)

Twice the deal at half the price! I can also point you to some really good Mexican food in Las Cruces and Alamogordo, and El Paso has some great Italian and Vietnamese.
May. 10th, 2016 02:03 pm (UTC)
Those are interesting photos, and thanks for sharing. I am always looking at how other people look at things. Your angles/lighting/framing are different from what I would choose, and that's a fun mental exercise to consider.

Also, that squirrel is really not happy about the photo. Didn't you get the memo that there would be no press at his tree this morning until *after* he'd combed his tail?
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )


Jim C. Hines


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