The 500mm Lens, A Work in Progress

It’s been about a year since I upgraded my camera equipment, and I’m still a bit frustrated with my 500mm lens.  It’s a fixed f8 refracting lens, similar to a telescope.  Until recently, I’ve had absolutely no luck getting any workable (or viewable) images from this lens.

The other day, I read a blog somewhere giving a review of this lens, or one similar, and the qualities that it has.  In the article it mentioned that the lens and ISO should be about 1:1.  In the comments, there was someone who mentioned the best way to use this lens was to use Aperture priority, and to set the ISO to 400 and then go have some fun.  So I did.

Following are some images I took this afternoon with this advice in mind.  I also noticed inside the camera the speed of the shot that was automatically set by the camera, which helped a lot, especially with the low lighting here in Zion Canyon.  When the speed became low, I upped the ISO until the speed became comfortable enough to get a decent image without using a tripod.

Just so you know, all of these images were taken free hand (no tripod), so they are still a bit blurry.  Camera shake is easy with slower speeds and slower lenses.  I just need to work on the focus (or use a tripod).  Hopefully the new glasses will help.

IMG_6174 copy

This is on the cliff above the employee area.  It looks like there is a remnant of some old power lines in this tree (either that or it is a ham radio antenna, hmmm, gives me an idea).

IMG_6186 copy

This is Horse Pasture Plateau, which is slightly visible here in the lower canyon.  If you look on the right side of this image towards the top, just above the white section, there appears to be a straight line in the red formation.  If I’m not mistaken, I would say that’s the West Rim Trail, one of my absolute favorite trails in Zion National Park.

IMG_6189 copy

Here is the view of Angel’s Landing, at least the top of it (which is about 1 mile from the lodge, and taller than the new Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan, approximately 1500 feet above the canyon floor). I took this from a bench on the front lawn of Zion Lodge.  If you were on the top of Angel’s Landing on Sunday, October 11, between 4:30pm and 4:45pm, you are in this photo!

IMG_6198 copy

Did you know that Zion Lodge has its own gargoyle?  Here is a closeup of it.  It is a popular climbing route (I don’t know the name of it off hand) that goes up to this cliff from the Lodge.  Someone told me it looks like a Mayan serpent, like you would see in the Mayan ruins in Mexico.   There are a few of these in the Park, who knows.

IMG_6262 copy

Later this evening, I was sitting at a quiet spot and I heard a noise, so I looked up and was surrounded by mule deer.  This fawn was up the hillside from me (it’s hard to get a good shot of deer with a 500mm lens when they are just a few feet away).

IMG_6265 copy

Here is the mama deer to the fawn above.  They were eating grass just a few feet away.  They are gorgeous animals.