#1209. The long game

By Pascal Ollier | How-To

Jun 13

My last post was about flora; so, in order to treat the animal world on equal terms, I thought it would be appropriate to put a few members of the honorable fauna in display.

This is going to be quite a counterclimax for me since, as readers of previous posts know, seldom if ever do I have a long lens screwed on my camera body.

21mm is my default lens, with a 9mm and a 35mm being the two companions in my usual camera bag.

In this post, pictures below are exclusively taken with a long, 100-400mm, telephoto.
Funnily, when a lens is “short”, one shoots “wide”, but when one uses a telephoto, one does not shoot “narrow”….

Family outing

It was a groundbreaking exercise for me as I tried the Sony tracking system for the first time, having viewed numerous how-to videos beforehand to prepare.

This bat-like colugo has no eyelashes, therefore sleeps with his eyes open

Sony proposes three modes for its eye-tracking system: human eyes, animal eyes and bird eyes. Yes, in Sonyspeak, birds are not animals 😉 .

Nothing like a long, peaceful nap after a good meal.

Yes, I am indeed shy. Please make it quick.

So, tracking mode on, continuous auto focus on, a well loaded battery and space to spare on an SD card, here we go.

Little snake will grow, beware!!

Lice!!?? How many times did I remind you to wash properly under the shower!!!

One thing I indeed learnt is that when all the bells and whistles are activated, it feels like plonking your foot down on a very powerful, large-engined car: you can actually see the fuel gauge moving down along the drive! Same with the camera battery. Quite a difference from shooting with a (thus more economical) manual lens.

Collecting the ingredients for the dinner menu.

One more thing I discovered is needed for such an exercise. Patience.

Feeling lonely. And it shows. (When my group has abandoned me – true story).

But sometimes, it can be rewarding. Or so I think.

Mayday! Mayday! Requesting ground assistance! (When you flew through unfriendly skies – and it is clearly visible).

Because nothing jumps from spot to spot faster than an insect.

This one is coming from the right…

They just move on after a mere couple of seconds after touch down, and the opportunity is gone.

This one from the left… Any preference??
Don’t think this one would fly in black and white ;-).
Dinner is served! (And the frenzied look on his face indicates he is quite hungry).

Monkeys are much more accessible, and not disturbed one bit by human presence.

Meal time! Insects anyone?
How about a rest on the beach after a good swim?
The missing link with my previous post. Nothing like rain drops to enhance water lillies.
Did I hear anything?? An aperture ring? A shutter??
Law and order! ‘Cause I’m the boss!
Thank you for coming by, it was nice having you!

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  • Lad Sessions says:

    Pascal, Flora or fauna, it doesn’t matter–you are simply a fine photographer! Animals are so interesting, and I wish I had the proper equipment and temperament for “capturing” them. But you do, and you do it so well! Thanks for these images.

    Incidentally, I prefer left-facing to right-facing butterflies, though not necessarily other animals. Strange. But I’m currently reading a book entitled Metazoa (by Peter Godfrey-Smith), and insects are very much members of our extended family.

    • Pascal Ollier says:

      Dear Lad, I am blushing with pleasure reading your kind comment. Insects are fascinating, you are absolutely right and I was fortunate to come across a fine selection. I have to say it was somewhat physical as lugging the body and zoom in a warm climate and keeping the setup up in the air for some monkey pictures was demanding. Reading your comments, coming from such a fine DS contributor, confirms it was worth it. Thank you again!

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Pascal, thank you very much for sharing such a witty and charming and entertaining post with the rest of us. Your text almost subverts your photos! But I did try to pay attention. Until you derailed me again. I simply do NOT believe you could possibly take such amazing photos of moths, butterflies or a dragon fly with a 100-400 zoom lens!

    • Pascal Ollier says:

      Dear Pete, thank you so much. I am glad you enjoyed the comments as well since I tried to make them complement the pics.
      As always, it is a pleasure receiving some praise from you. And yes, I confirm that all shots were taken with the said zoom. I do not possess an autofocus macro lens and such exercise is almost impossible with a manual lens – at least for me. Take care.

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        Well, from the various photos of dragonflies that I’ve seen over the years, all taken with MACRO lenses and most with AF, I have to award you the Nobel Prize for dragonfly photos, Pascal. Whether your choice of weapons is “conventional” or “bizarre” is quite beside the point – yours is undoubtedly the winner!

  • John Wilson says:

    Great post for a morning coffee Pascal. Animal watching can be great fun, especially the monkeys … their behaviour can be so much like ours but my personal favourite is Otters … natures comedians. Wildlife and bird photography aren’t part of my photographic skill set so it’s always a pleasure to see the work of someone who does it well (colour me envy). Thanks for sharing and keep shooting.

    • Pascal Ollier says:

      Thank you John! Much appreciated coming from you, the Master of the Backyard gems! Monkeys are indeed fun to watch. They don’t seem to be bothered at all by human presence in this particular case. It took separate occasions to bring this set of shots to fruition and on none did they seem to be anything but unaware of my presence. Thank you for your encouragements, I shall try and follow the same line. I look forward to see some more gems coming from you too. I took the opportunity to revisit your posts and they are indeed stunning. Take care.

  • Mer says:

    Many thanks for posting these. I think my favourite is the snake, there’s a nice feel to the way the lines, colours and out-of-focus areas all work together. Good composition, with the focus and contrast meeting up around the snake’s head. I like it. Dragonfly runs it close. Again, good lines, particularly like the way the left wings cut a horizontal across the angle.

    Is that 100-400 a beast to lug around? Fellow Sony shooter. Only with a 35 so far, but I might branch out one day.


    • Pascal Ollier says:

      Thank you for the kind words, always enjoyable to read.

      The 100-400 weighs 1.4Kg. When you add a full frame body (I do not know whether you have a full frame or an APS-C) add in another 650grs. If you really want reach, the 2X teleconverter adds 200grs, you’re well above 2kgs.
      If you “limit” yourself to the 100-400 the set already weighs 2kgs.

      When you carry it for a few hours, including at arms length pointing upwards, yes, it is a relief to stop.

      However, I love the IQ and I have a number of bird pics, not shown in this post, that make owning this lens a real reward, if you are into animal pictures.

      Coming from a 35mm lens (one of my favorite lengths, owning the Voigtländer 35mm APO which I am genuinely fond of), the difference can really be felt at the end of the day.

      Finally, I have to say that I mostly use manual lenses, so to fully exploit the great progress made in terms of tracking, an auto focus lens like the 100-400 works wonders.
      I hope this helps, do not hesitate to come back if I can of further help. Cheers.

  • Philberphoto says:

    Exquisite images, Pascal! I was mislead by the title, which I understood to be the opposite of my « short game ». Whereas in effect your use of the long lens brings distant subjects into short range, achieving the same form of intimacy which I strive to achieve by other means. Kudos and congrats!

    • Pascal Ollier says:

      Thank you, Philippe, I could not resist this little nod nod, wink wink.
      I looked into macro lenses a while back and did not find something that appealed to me, and thought I’d give it a try with this tele.
      Thank you again for the kind words!

  • Ian Varkevisser says:

    You nailed the red tailed dragon fly . The detail and limited complementary colour pallet make it a winner in my book. Two things that are not in my playbook either – long lens and fauna and flora – making me reconsider. Appreciate the humourous style in which you have written the blog too. Thanks

    • Pascal Ollier says:

      Thank you Ian! Glad you liked the pictures!
      About reconsidering which equipment to use, this in my mind illustrates what DS is all about. Sharing and pushing the envelope together.

      As far as the humour is concerned, you’re the master!

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    Those are some fine fauna photos, Pascal! Especially love the monkey shots. Your photography skills combined with the inherent monkey cuteness equals winners every time. You made great use of that telephoto lens, hopefully we’ll see more from you very soon.

    • Pascal Ollier says:

      Dear Nancee,
      I am delighted that you enjoyed this set of pictures. As said,these monkeys were quite approachable and I was fortunate to get close to them. Again I treasure your compliments, thank you!

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