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.

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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).

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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).

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




Wild Weekly’s Photo Contest: Now

First of all, I want to thank everyone for the Audience Choice Award for last week’s entry of John Ford‘s Point in Monument Valley!  It’s a great honor!!

I’m participating in the online adventure travel and photography magazine’s Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for bloggersThis week’s Challenge is: Now!

Yesterday while at work, I noticed some turkeys running around.  The males were strutting their stuff to gain dominance in the harem, while at the same time trying to gain interest of the females.  It’s actually quite entertaining!


After a while, they settled down to eat whatever they could scrounge out of the lawn.  Oh, by the way, that is a four-point buck mule deer munching away at the grass as well.  I call this one “Walking on the Wild Side.”


This is from earlier this afternoon while walking home from work, I caught a waterfall at Employee Falls


Tonight, when I went outside to go to dinner, I looked up and realized I NEED my camera with me! This was the view from my front door tonight!

CRW_0016zThis is Mountain of the Sun, which is behind the building where I live.

CRW_0013zThis is Lady Mountain, with Mount Zion in front (the little peak to the right).

I walked further down, and captured this:

CRW_0018zThis is Lady Mountain on the left, Castle Dome in the middle and Cathedral Mountain on the right.

I finally made it to dinner (barely), but when I saw this, there was no way I was passing this up!

CRW_0019zThis is Zion Lodge, in beautiful Zion National Park (my home).  This is where i live and work.  Jealous??!?