The Patient Bald Eagle

Well it’s been several months now since i received my Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-20e III, and finally i have had a good chance to actually use it. I’m glad that I had a reason to pull it out of the bag cause it was bugging me. Well Tuesday after a couple of previous stops we came across a couple snowmobilers with lenses pointed up at the trees, we looked over and saw a Bald Eagle. Not to surprising, they are common in the park. The odd thing was how mellow this guy was. He stayed on his post for hours just watching the river beneath him. He didn’t even really care about us. With the distance between us and him, the nice light and with him not moving, this was the perfect time to get out the 600’s and spend some time with the guy. For me this was a great opportunity to try out the TC-20. Now keep in mind a 600mm with a TC-20 makes it a 1200mm, with any Dx body it would be even longer. Well this baldy was over thirty feet away so there wasn’t any way to get a portrait which was fine because he made some great environmental shots.

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When shooting with any teleconverter it is important to note the amount of light lost when in use. A 1.4 or 1.7 loses one stop of light and the 2x loses two stops. A 1.7 loses a little bit more but is hard to notice. This means that in certain scenarios a teleconverter won’t help because the lose of light is too great with slower shutter speeds. Early morning and dusk are perfect examples. As seen above we ad plenty of light but we had other challenges. The snow being a not solid surface can make the tripod vibrate. Also if your hands are cold and are shaky that movement will make the lens vibrate causing for any image taken to potentially be not sharp. With a 2x it is important to remember these little details because any wrong technique will show. I have to say though that the TC-20e III did an amazing job, even with a slight vibration from my hands. If any of you were wondering why the bottom image looks slightly different that’s because i took my D3 and put the image size in Dx instead of Fx. I was curious how it would affect the image with the teleconverter on not trying to make the eagle bigger. The most prominent part that i noticed was that all those little technique issues come into play even more so, i had a number of images get deleted because i wasn’t rock solid steady. There is more to play with, with many different critters to play with.

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Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S Nikkor 600mm f4, TC-20e III, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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