I went out this last weekend with Canon’s 500mm f/4L lens with full intentions of putting it through it’s paces to see how it would handle some demanding shooting situations.
I had intended to catch the tale end of the snow geese migration at Freezeout Lake, but that’s a story in itself. Let’s just say it’s better to stay on top of the local bird reports, rather than just having an overly optimistic expectation that “although it’s near the end of the migration in Montana, there still should be adequate numbers to photograph”.
To make a long story short-No Birds. Notta. Every single last one gone.
However I had a very nice drive before Sunrise.
I suppose that’s what I get for not being a little more on top of things.
In any case I drove my *&%$#! off on Saturday and left Freezout lake, heading to Ovando. Given the situation I decided to make what I could of the day.
Canadian Goose.©Jason Savage
I stopped by Brown’s lake to see what was happening. It was still frozen solid and not much happening. Except for a few Canadian Geese hanging out there wasn’t much to photograph. Next it was the National Bison range and this looked much better. The hills were just starting to green up and the Bison looked great. Later in the afternoon it started to pour rain, so I decided to explore around the area. I found a whole group of baby lambs huddled underneath a big tree trying to stay dry from the rain. They didn’t look very excited about their situation.
Finally toward the end of the day I made it to Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge. Things were definetly more happening and there were a ton more birds then I had seen all day.
In front of my lens as l looked out across the pond I spotted, Osprey,Ring-necked Pheasent, Whitetail Deer, Great Blue Heron, Mallard Ducks, Hooded Mergansers and a few others. This was all within a very small area. Truly a testament to the rich diversity of wildlife that the Refuge holds.
Ring-necked Pheasant.©Jason Savage
So after spending some time really getting to work this lens- all I can say is that it’s in a class of it’s own. Not only are the images unbelievably sharp, but the autofocus is lightning quick and it’s image stabilization works very, very well. Although it’s a large lens, it’s weight is not bad coming in at a little under 9lbs.
Overall, there is not one bad thing I can think to say about this lens other than the price. At $5,800, it’s big hit to the pocketbook, but for the quality and ability to capture hard to reach scenes, I would say if you are a serious bird or wildlife photographer, it’s well worth it.
Great Blue Herons.©Jason Savage