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Author Topic: Seabird colony - change lens or not?  (Read 5984 times)

GuyF

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Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« on: May 31, 2013, 03:18:32 PM »
Wasn't sure if this was the best place to post this query but I'm sure we'll cope!

I intend going on a seabird safari in the next few weeks and wondered what the consensus was on changing lens in a "salty air" environment. I suspect the few seconds it takes to change a lens (done within the confines of my camera bag) wouldn't be much of an issue but wondered what experiences you've all had in similar situations. The island is rocky/grassy so I don't expect sand blowing everywhere but wanted to know how sensitive contacts could be to brief exposure to salt air.

I intend taking my 300mm 2.8 IS, 70-200 f4 IS and maybe 17-40mm for seascape type shots if I get the chance (body is a 5D3). I'll get a waterproof jacket for the body/lens combo just in case the weather is poor but mainly in case of bird poop landing on it  :o

Depending on the weather I won't change the lens at all but want to go prepared - the one bit of gear you need is always the thing you left at home.

Any advice gratefully received.

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Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« on: May 31, 2013, 03:18:32 PM »

ahab1372

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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2013, 05:11:46 PM »
I have done it several times without any problems.
I think that the air near the water (even on a beach) has usually less dust than the air inland. The sand grains on a beach are usually bigger than the average dust inland, and are not picked up by the wind easily. The wind coming from the sea should be pretty dust free. Only if the wind is very strong it will pick up these larger sand grains and blow them around, and then spray can become a problem too.
 Unless you get a big drop of spray into the open camera, it should not be a problem. If it feels like your hands and face are being sandblasted, I would change lenses somewhere else.

RGF

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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2013, 05:17:53 PM »
I would be extremely cautious, with my back to wind, camera facing done, ...  And only change lenses as few time as possible.  Or bring a second body

Kumakun

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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2013, 06:55:16 PM »
Changing lenses while a large flock of seabirds are flying above you should definitely by avoided! The seabirds may decide to make a sport out of it.  :-)

More seriously, I have changed lenses at the beach before but there was no wind blowing at the time and I was very careful about my gear.  And I was still nervous during the process.  (And there were no seabirds flying over my head at the time either...)

paul13walnut5

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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2013, 07:32:07 PM »
Take a hat.  Take a monopod.

Do you really need the 70-200 and the 300?  I would carry the 70-200 and crop.

The birds are pretty game on colonies, you'll get closer than you think!

You will also get crapped on, I took a very bad reaction to tern poo when I visited the Isle of May.

Travel light, the difference between 200 and 300 isn;t really that great.  I would consider leaving one at home.

The danger is you spend more time making decisions that taking images.

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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2013, 07:37:44 PM »
I would not worry about it, I'd do it using my body to shelter the camera from wind and salt spray.  That's one situation where a 28-300mm L would come in handy.

Don Haines

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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2013, 10:23:54 PM »
As someone who grew up on Canada's Atlantic coast, my advice is to bring a hat and a raincoat..... there is a reason why gulls are nicknamed "shithawks"...

It can be much cooler by the water than inland...

If the wind is blowing and there is mist in the air, I wouldn't change lenses.... but if you must under those conditions, put the raincoat on, back to the wind, bend over a bit to shelter things, and change the lens under the raincoat.

And make sure you have a change of clothes and a garbage bag for the dirties back in the car.... if the natives get restless you will need it.
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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2013, 10:23:54 PM »

GuyF

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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2013, 05:45:50 AM »
Thanks to all replies for the advice.

Paul - actually it is the Isle of May I intend going to. You reckon the 70-200mm is adequate? Do you think the 17-40 would be of any use? A monopod might just be one more thing to faff about with.

The folk doing these tours supply waterproofs and I was going to take a hat anyway.

Must remember never to look up with my mouth open.


serendipidy

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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2013, 05:46:52 AM »
As someone who grew up on Canada's Atlantic coast, my advice is to bring a hat and a raincoat..... there is a reason why gulls are nicknamed "shithawks"...

And make sure you have a change of clothes and a garbage bag for the dirties back in the car.... if the natives get restless you will need it.

Hmmm.....then again, maybe a hummingbird safari ;D
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GuyF

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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2013, 08:42:19 AM »
Thanks Fussy, I'll keep that in mind and certainly won't go chasing the wildlife (too much like exercise!)

paul13walnut5

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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2013, 01:52:53 PM »
Thanks to all replies for the advice.

Paul - actually it is the Isle of May I intend going to. You reckon the 70-200mm is adequate? Do you think the 17-40 would be of any use? A monopod might just be one more thing to faff about with.

The folk doing these tours supply waterproofs and I was going to take a hat anyway.

Must remember never to look up with my mouth open.

Yep, I use a crop camera, so it its that bit more tele, but to be honest with todays resolutions, you'll be fine, the slightly wider shot gives you some environmental context too, it's a beautiful place, and if you want closer you can always crop.

I would emphasise choose one or the other.

Another valuable lesson: The boat that takes you out has gunwhales below the benches where waves crash in.  My bag got soaked, thankfully a billingham, the contents were bone dry.  Don't sit your gear at your feet.

The terns will peck at your head on the way in and way out, so the hat is essential, as is a monopod to carry over your shoulder slighty elevated.  It was the poo that got me though, I needed an eye flush on the way back, thankfully the excellent chippy distracted me at the far end.

It's a great wee day out, there are a few lighthouses of different generations on the island, not spectacular enough to make for great landscape shots, and you'll like ly be there early afternoon too!

I would take a monopod, one big lens (I suggest the 70-200) a spare battery and spare card and enjoy.  Spend some time looking at the birds with your eyes rather than just through the viewfinder, the less gear you have, the less time you spend tinkering.

Quite jealous recalling it.

paul13walnut5

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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2013, 03:07:04 PM »
All from my trip to the Isle of May.

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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2013, 03:18:12 PM »
A Tern attacked the photographer? They defend their territory well.

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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2013, 03:18:12 PM »

paul13walnut5

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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2013, 03:54:28 PM »
Oh aye!

It was roosting season, the slipway was right in amongst their nests, some of the folk without hats had blood drawn!

My eyes were like golf balls after they crapped on me.

serendipidy

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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2013, 04:48:50 PM »
Oh aye!

It was roosting season, the slipway was right in amongst their nests, some of the folk without hats had blood drawn!

My eyes were like golf balls after they crapped on me.

Sounds like a lot of fun to me ::)

I suggested a new topic (in another thread recently) entitled :
"What I went through to get the shot". I think this would certainly qualify and earn the participants the coveted Photographer's Purple Star of Valor :)
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 04:53:09 PM by serendipidy »
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Re: Seabird colony - change lens or not?
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2013, 04:48:50 PM »