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Messages - steven kessel

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Animal Kingdom / Re: Your best animal shots!
« on: July 28, 2014, 10:20:41 PM »
I feel a need to break up all of this cuteness.  Fishing Spider and friend.  5Diii, 180 f3.5L Macro, ISO 200, "M" setting, f/14 @ 1/160, assisted by 600EX-RT speedlite.

Lenses / Re: Going native at 400mm
« on: July 24, 2014, 10:02:03 PM »
I have the 400DO.  Forget about the negative reviews, this is a truly fine lens.  It's relatively light and razor sharp and I've produced hundreds of good images with it.  I recommend it without hesitation.

Brown Pelican.  Photographed at Dana Point, Ca.

Zone-tailed Hawk.  Not a rare bird over its distribution, which includes much of Latin America,  but pretty uncommon in the U.S.  I photographed this one in a remote canyon in the mountains of southern Arizona.

5Diii, 400 DO, ISO 400, f6.3 @ 1/1600

Animal Kingdom / Re: DragonFly Series
« on: July 16, 2014, 10:12:55 PM »
Not all dragonflies (and damselflies) live happily ever after.  Photo taken with Canon 5Diii, 180 f3.5 L Macro, ISO 200, f7.1 @ 1/160, assisted by Canon 600EX-RT speed light.

I own an f4L and love it.  It's wonderfully light and reasonably portable.  I sometimes carry it on my belt in a canvas case that I bought for about $5 and that is designed to hold a water bottle.  It's also possibly the sharpest non-prime lens that I own, way sharper than the 100-400 f4-5.6L.

I find that it is extremely versatile due to its lightness.  I've used it to photograph insects and birds and just about everything in between.  I have friends who own the 2.8L and who rave about it, and I'm sure it's a very fine lens.  But, it's a behemoth compared to my f4 and certainly not nearly as portable as is the f4.  And, as for the extra stops, well, I just never experienced all that much of a need for them.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: July 09, 2014, 07:27:56 PM »
Juvenile Verdin.  Nothing terribly dramatic about this little bird, I just think that it's cute.

Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, ISO 400, aperture preferred setting f7.1 @ 1/2000

Animal Kingdom / Re: Your best animal shots!
« on: July 04, 2014, 10:58:27 AM »
Rattlers are common where I live (southeastern Arizona) and one learns a thing or two about them after a while.  First, they are utterly uninterested in people.  Rattlesnakes don't "attack" people, they defend themselves when interfered with.  Yes, it's possible to get bitten if you put your feet or your hands where they shouldn't be or if you forget to watch where you walk, but statistically, more than 2/3 of rattlesnake bites occur when people deliberately interfere with the snake.  The basic rule is: leave the snake alone and it won't bother you.  The second rule is: always stay outside of striking range, which is a minimum of 2/3 the length of the snake.  Stay 3 feet away from a 3-foot rattler and it can't reach you.

These are also highly beneficial reptiles in that they keep down the rodent population.  Arizona has many times more packrats than rattlers and packrats can do a lot of damage to property whereas rattlesnakes do none.

I see rattlesnakes here at least a couple of times a month, especially during the warmer months.  They're everywhere.  Seeing so many of them is conducive to developing a "live and let live" attitude about these beautiful animals.  I might add that snakebite is a very rare phenomenon even though there are many snakes living here.  In a state with a population of about 9 million people -- augmented by several million tourists each year -- we experience only about 300 rattlesnake bites per year.  One has a much bigger chance of being hit by a car while out walking than being bitten by a snake.

That said, I'd never leave a snake in a location where there is a risk that someone could blunder into it.  A snake on a sidewalk or on the front doorstep needs to be moved to a safer location.  Don't try doing that if you see one, call a professional to do it for you.  In my community the local fire department will gladly remove troublesome snakes.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: July 03, 2014, 04:03:59 PM »
What do I think of the 400 DO?  I love the lens, it's relatively light and portable and razor sharp.  I think that it was unfairly maligned when introduced 10 years ago and has never lived down the initial bad reviews.  I've had mine for a year and never regretted the purchase.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Your best animal shots!
« on: July 03, 2014, 02:01:08 PM »
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.  Photographed in a friend's front yard, where the snake lives in peace and undisturbed   by passersby.

Canon 5Diii, 180 f3.5L Macro Lens, ISO 320 "M" setting, f7.1 @ 1/60, scene lighted by Canon 600 EX-RT Speedlight, with diffuser.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: July 03, 2014, 01:52:45 PM »
Juvenile Green Heron at sunrise.  5Diii, 400 DO, ISO 400, "M" setting, f10 @ 1/640

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show us your Hooters (Owls)
« on: July 02, 2014, 03:20:17 PM »
Here's one, a Burrowing Owl in flight.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: June 30, 2014, 07:55:04 PM »
Moments after its maiden flight the newly fledged Cooper's Hawk encounters its first photographer.  Canon 5Diii, 400DO, ISO 1000, f5 @ 1/250, hand held.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Your best animal shots!
« on: June 27, 2014, 09:20:18 PM »
Dolphin, airborne.  Shot from the stern of a boat, a pod of dolphins were surfing in the wake.

Canon 5Diii, 70-200 f4 L, ISO 320, aperture preferred setting, f6.3 @ 1/2500

Pricewatch Deals / Re: Canon EF 16-35 f/4L IS Shipping This Week
« on: June 22, 2014, 10:16:38 PM »
Got an e-mail from B & H this morning telling me that they've shipped mine.  I can't wait to try this one out.

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