Worth the Wait?

It’s been a while.  Rubbish weather and more house renovations have kept me indoors in a gloomy mood.  Those of you who can remember when I retired last year may recall I was contemplating purchasing a new super-zoom lens.  Due to various factors it never came to be until……  A couple of weeks back I noticed the camera centre had lowered the price of my weapon of choice (always kept a regular eye on their site) by £50.  The time was right and my new baby was brought home, a Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary.  All that was now needed was a decent break in the weather so I could go and play, er, I mean test the lens.

Today, wall to wall sunshine, light breeze and temperatures touching 12c, that will do nicely!  One hour later and I was at Titchwell RSPB on the Nth Norfolk coast.  Here is a small gallery of my favourite shots, a veritable wader fest!

My favourite winter wader, the diminutive Sanderling (Calidris alba). I love the way they chase the waves on the beach, like a clockwork toy!
Coming at you! From the smallest to the biggest. Curlew (Newmenius arquata)
Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
Reflection. A tiny Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Finally (for now) the beautiful Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) takes cover from a bathing companion

So was the lens worth waiting for?  For my first efforts I am delighted.  This may be the smallest and lightest of the ‘super-zooms’ but it still weighs in at over 4lbs (2 kilo) so I used a monopod for support.  The 600mm reach added to my crop sensor Nikon gives a length of 900mm (compered to full frame or old slr equivalents) so any slight movement will really ruin a shot.  With this in mind the optical stabilizer is not as good as my other lenses, not bad just not great, so fast shutter speeds are a must.  Focus was quick and spot on, I varied the f.stops to try and find a ‘sweet spot’ f11 was, to my eyes, the better.  I hope these shots show as good when uploaded here as they do on my pc, and yes they have been cropped, the lens might be a big boy but wild birds don’t like you getting too close!

43 thoughts on “Worth the Wait?

  1. Thank you for sharing these lovely bird portraits, Brian. I would have loved to be at the Norfolk coast with you, getting to know these beauties better. I hope you will continue to enjoy your new camera.
    Happy birding and photographing,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Mr. B,
    Oh definitely worth the wait! What wonderful views and photos.
    I missed seeing our waders when they passed through my country so I am happy to see them here, through your new lens. Hope all is well with you and your dear ones.
    From a fellow bird lover in Japan,
    Takami 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Takami! Everything is good with us (so far, fingers crossed). We are planning to visit Berlin next week to spend xmas with our daughter so we are trying to keep very safe from this new omicron covid wave and hope we will be allowed to travel.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely set , Brian. Never seen a Lapwing and haven’t seen an image of one since I was a kid avidly paging through my pocket bird watchers guide. YOur shot s a corker!
    Well done.
    I can tell you will be having lots of fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers Ark. Sadly as a breeding bird the Lapwing is in sharp decline, good numbers can still be seen in winter as they flock to the coastal marshes though.
      Yes, I hope to have fun with the purchase as long as the elements are favourable.


  4. Nice photos! I envy your opportunities, now made more rewarding with such a fine lens. I’m struggling with my 55-200mm Fuji to make photos of backyard species of birds that sit perfectly outside my window, but as soon as I open the door ready with my camera, they take to wing and fly too high in nearby trees to make even 200mm shots difficult. Still, I can often crop in post, due to the excellent resolution of my Fuji. I’m not sure a longer range lens would be worth it, for me anyway. On the other hand, were I within range of shore birds as you are, (five hour drive for me) I’d do exactly what you did. Congratulations and good Wintertime shooting!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It looks like a keeper based on these images, Brian! How exciting to finally get the lens you wanted!! I’m so excited for you, but don’t envy the 4 pound weight of it!
    You’ll be adding muscle to your arms and core carrying your rig. 😀

    Oh, that Lapwing is wonderful!! I’d love to see one someday. Have a lovely Christmas, and I hope the reno is coming along well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Deborah. We are hoping to spend xmas with our daughter in Berlin but the way things are evolving here with this new covid variant there is a possibility Germany may ban us from entering like France has today.
      The lens didn’t feel that heavy in the field and was fun to use.
      Have a great festive season!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. From what I can tell from these shots, that glass is definitely worth it – I’ve looked at that offering a number of times and the Nikon upgrade to the Beast. So far sticking with what I have (the new 7500 body helped a lot to fix the low light issue). These shots are nice and vibrant, especially the Oyster (always a favorite) and the shimmer on the Lapwing. Did you notice if you get deeper blues – that is one thing I’ve noticed with the newer glass/bodies. Welcome back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi B. Not noticed deeper blue yet, the blues in these images stand out more because of the light. Obviously at this time of the year the sun is very low, this was midday and the sun was 180 due south and I was on a wide open beach which is why, I think, the shots look like flash has been used. The shallow pools were reflecting a clear sky.
      What I need to do now, when other things allow, is try the lens in various light conditions. In the digi darkroom I had to add a fair bit of contrast yet I kept the iso low at 320 to get the quickest shutter speeds. Lot’s more practice needed!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful shots! Can’t wait to see how you use this on the butterfly family… I hear you on the gloomy crappy weather! One day out of a dozen recently is just not enough sunlight. Maybe why Spain is so popular.hummmm.
    Early holiday best wishes to you and Mrs “H”.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. How good it is to see a post from you! Very glad you were able to get out and about and even better news you had decent weather!

    My old eyes brightened up when viewing your photographs! Yep, worth the wait. Can’t wait to see more results as you play with …. uhhh …. perform further quality control and testing.

    All here is good. Me and missus were down for a bit with a cold but now back out trudging through alligator-infested swamps in the never-ending search for Nature Photography subjects!

    We hope you and your family have a blessed holiday season!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to hear from you Wally and that you are back out in the swamps!
      Glad the cold wasn’t something a little nastier!
      Sadly our plans have been blown out of the water. We were due to fly to Berlin on the 23rd to spend the week with our daughter. Not just xmas but both her and my birthdays are a day apart. As your news may have reported Germany has banned us Brits from entering their country due to this new virus variant. To say we are heartbroken is an understatement.
      Take care of yourselves, I’ll post some more images shortly. B & Mrs H

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We keep hoping the situation will improve but I fear as long as politicians and morons (but I repeat myself) are in charge, we shall remain in jeopardy.

        Take good care.


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