Monday, September 5, 2011

California Quail

I've seen several California Quail, both before and after I rejuvenated my birding hobby, but I only have a couple of so-so pictures of them. The reason is they are very elusive. I typically see them dashing across the road while I am driving, but I'm usually not in a situation in which I can stop to take a picture and even if I am, they quickly scoot out of site into the grass or brush along the road.
It's also typical to see young Quail scurring with the adults. Such was the case as I approached the parking lot on Rogers Ave at Fern Ridge Reservoir yesterday, only this time one of the adults stuck around long enough for me to pull over my car and snap a few pictures. It was like it was standing watch as it let out odd sounding clucks as it stood out on the road.
I was trying out a 300mm lens and 1.7x teleconverter combination that I had rented for the weekend. The usual 400mm and 600mm were both out, so I thought I'd try this out. My 70mm - 300mm zoom is not capable of accepting a teleconverter so this gave me an equivalent 500mm with a little more sharpness; or that was the theory.
I wasn't quite as impressed as I thought I would be as even though it was a f4.0 (mine is f5.6 at 300mm) the 1.7x teleconverter increased the focal length to f6.7. And since it was an older lens, I lost the advantage of vibration reduction. Luckily there was bright sunlight this weekend so the slowness wasn't as big of a factor, but the images were definitely not as sharp as the results I get with the f2.8 400mm or f4 600mm, even with teleconverters.

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