Looking for Lunch
Shot this today from the Maryland side of Great Falls along the Potomac River. This was one of the images that Walter Rowe, Roger Maki and I captured at phase 1 of our two phased TPN photo outing today, which also included the National Cathedral in Washington. More to come!

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Comments 9
Views 1360
Media ID 20110604205254644 
Sat Jun 04, '11 08:02AM
Uploaded By: Patrick Flynn  


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Media ID 20110604205254644  
Date Sat Jun 04, '11 08:02AM
Comments 9
Views 1360
Uploaded By Patrick Flynn
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Very nice.  I'll try to post at least one image tomorrow.

Love the blues and yellows in the falls.   I would be curious too as how you shot this please?   Different than Roger?   I notice the bird had a little wiggle to him, but understandable with such a slow shutter speed.    Can't wait to see more!  

Richard - I used a Sigh-Ray Vari-ND filter to dial up whatever shutter speed I wanted. This was set upon a Canon "L" lens (the 100-400mm f5.6) and a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod with an Arca Swiss B1 ballhead. And the heron in fact did not wiggle or otherwise move at all during this half-second exposure. So mechanically my circumstances were pretty perfect.

Thus I really didn't think you or anyone else would detect the defieciency here, which is the lack of sharpness in the main subject of the heron. But since you did, here's what happened: my Vari-ND filter is 77mm, only fitting the aforementioned lens. I do happen to own a far superior lens, which is the EF 800mm "L" f5.6 IS lens, but did not bring it because I do not own an ND filter at that gargantuan size. Wanting to capture the water movement that you have lauded above, I opted for the 100-400mm "L" lens and the EF extender 2x Mark II in order to effectively equal the way more unweildy option mentioned above. And the 77mm Vari-ND fits right on that no problem.

So that approach seemed promising if not optimal. But my eyesight is poor, and with the 2x extender on the 100-400mm L, the autofocus is disabled. So three problems existed: a) a zoom lens rather than a prime lens was in use for wildlife photography, even though the zoom was an "L" series lens, and b) an extender was placed in front of that, even though it was a Mark II "L" worthy extender, and c) I simply do not possess the personal optical acuity to determine this level of focal perfection with contact lenses in. I am about to turn forty and that's a new reality I am accepting.

So I learned a new lesson on Saturday, two-fold: buy an ND filter big enough for my 800mm "L" prime...and get Lasik surgery! I was sitting there with my contacts in, peering through my EOS 7D, not really sure where perfection existed, zooming in and out between two focal points that were pretty far apart and just guessing at which millimeter stopping point was correct! And unfortunately AF was not an option on my rig because the 2x extender disables it. So what you see here is my best attempt to hide that, and it simply wasn't good enough to fool you!

What I love about you is how you point that out to me. To be honest, much of my work on Saturday is likewise deficient, but fortunately for me the day was spectacular (meeting Roger and Walter) and I live close enough to Great Falls to go get what I wanted from that shoot another time. I am looking into a large format 5 stop ND filter so that my big 800mm prime can hook me up with the vision I brought to Saturday and failed to achieve in that instance.

Meanwhile I have written an article about that day which I hope Walter will publish and I hope you will read. SOmeday I would love it if you and got together on a TPN outing!

Well Patrick, despite your difficulties I think you did a fantastic job! I love the sparkle in the falls.


I have the same problem with manual focus, I rely on autofocus to make up for my visual shortcomings and everytime I have to shoot manual focus .. I pretty much just cross my fingers and hope for the best. Big Grin

I also have a MF problem with my eye's

I think the major photography secret is out  "WE CANT REALLY SEE WHAT WE ARE DOING"


  Wink   Smile



A great shot even with MF difficulties.

I really love that water movement and the colours that are with it.

Patrick...wow. You are a fully loaded photographer! Never in my wildest dreams would I ever think of having all this! :-) Very interesting commentary which I enjoyed reading and I am very impressed with what you did here knowing that. I see what you mean now too as looking at the rocks closely I see a little of the same thing as the bird, but the falls truly take you away from all of that and were fantastic. I know I had so much trouble with my 2x extender in Africa trying to focus manually, I gave up. You are still a young pup...try doing it when your eyes do not work at 58. So...auto focus for me. I am also what I call a "minimalist" photographer whereas almost anywhere I go, I carry two cameras and two lens. 100-400mm on a 50D and and 24-105mm on a 5DMII. No flash, tripod and only one additional thing...a polarizer filter. I will carry a tripod if I know ahead of time of the value...but rarely do I. This all came from some high quality time with Karl Grobl who I admire as much as anyone in any business.
So..it would be a blast someday getting together and having a field trip. Still here in Singapore for probably one more year...then back to the good ole USA. Thanks for this detailed update and much appreciated.

Edited on Monday, June 06 2011 @ 07:50 AM EDT by rpschoettger

Thanks Richard. Once you are back stateside we definitely need to go shoot somewhere together!

Regarding all my gear - yep, I'm a gearhead at heart, but what I have now has been collected over twenty five years of saving up. For instance, the big 800mm I mentioned above was something I meticulously saved up across ten years to buy, specifically to photograph the Easter Island eclipse last summer. Most of my stuff was slowly accumulated that way.

Now with two kids including a newborn - those days are over! Twenty five more years until retirement and I can indulge personal whims again ;-)


I think everyone's covered it for me. My first instinct was to go get my glasses to ck if the heron was in focus. Actually my first reaction was - good lord you are brave shooting a bird and a waterfall at slow speed. Who would expect a bird to stay still? Well done!

Sri Lanka/Northern California