Sample Photos From Neil’s New Bird Lens

As I noted in my post on camera upgrades…Neil ordered us a new bird lens…he’s not sure whether he’ll sell his Tamron 150-600 mm G2 lens but after seeing the sample shots from his new Nikon 500PF lens (and he’ll be getting the teleconverter when one is in stock so this will become a 700mm as well)…and taking into account the lowered size and weight…the Tamron is 10-15 inches long depending on zoom level (usually it’s at the maximum) and weighs 70 ounces while the 500PF is 9 inches and 51 ounces. The Tamron is essentially impossible to hand hold and needs either a tripod or monopod…the 500 is much easier to hold up for images as well as hold steady handheld as one moves through the brush…adding in those advantages to the better image quality that a prime lens has over a zoom lens and that a more expensive lens has over a less expensive…let’s just say he’s quite happy with this $3600 purchase over the $1300 Tamron.

Let’s see…what else is happening. We got our first coronavirus vaccine jabs last week…both of us were achey the next day and had some residual injection site soreness for 3 days or so but are pretty much back to normal now. We had an aborted Valentines Day dinner at the Elks on Saturday…but they’ve essentially abandoned following the CDC guidelines so we ended up leaving before dinner was served and picked up some sushi on the way home instead. We got our bed delivery for next week confirmed by Rooms2Go this morning.

The weather has warmed back up nicely after our cold spell. 

We finally got around to starting to configure the programming on the Roomba he got her for Christmas…and yes, it was on her list…he’s not dumb enough to buy her an appliance for a gift unless she asked him to. It slowly maps out the house and vacuums as it goes…retreating to the base station to dump the bin and recharge when necessary. The first job took about 6 hours by the time it recharged twice and dumped 4 or 5 times. We need to send it out on another mapping only run to let it finalize it’s knowledge of the house layout…you have to run around in front of it and move things out of the way so it gets an accurate location on fixed furniture, walls, island, and such. Once that’s done…we think we will be able to program jobs for a single area like the kitchen and then only a few things need picking up/moving while it does it’s thing. It isn’t very loud except during the brief periods when it’s dumping it’s bin back at the base station. 

It’s Date Night© tonight…and our plan is for some ribs from Smokin’ Pit…assuming Connie continues to improve and we don’t end up cancelling. She had a headache and felt bad this morning but at least as of 1355 as I write this is feeling better but we’ll make sure before I run out in case we need to go to plan C or D or whatever.

As part of selling Big Red…we got a notice from the state that they could not remove it as a ‘vehicle we own’ until it was re-registered in FL with a new title or since that won’t happen ever until we filled out a form and sent it in saying we don’t have it any more. While trying to figure out how to get that form filled out…Neil discovered that Connie’s aqua green 1992 Ford Probe that was totaled back in 2001 or so before the human kid graduated high school…he ran into the back of a semi in stop and go traffic on the freeway…anyway it had never been removed form our account either…despite the fact that it had been long re-registered in VA back then. So we ended up doing the form for Big Red, the Probe, and the rig all at the same time although from what the page said the rig should have been already removed as it was re-registered in Florida.

Assuming it’s a nice morning tomorrow…it’s supposed to be…and that Connie is feeling better we are planning a road trip up to the Venice Rookery about 50 miles away to photograph the nesting and mating plumage waterfowl. If that works out OK…we’re going to plan one up to Orlando and Merritt Island over near Cape Canaveral…there are wildlife drives at both places and this is mating season so they’re all dressed in their finest Sunday go-to-meetin’ clothes. Sunrise is at about 0700 so we’ll get out of the house a bit before 6 and after getting coffee, donut, and gas head off…and after our photo session Connie will find us a brunch place to have a late breakfast/early lunch.

So…here’s some initial shots Neil took with the new lens and if you go back and look again at some of his older posts with the other bird lens it’s pretty easy to notice the difference.

We have several Great Blue Herons…AKA GBH…that frequent our pond out back…this is what we call the skittish one as she…at least we think it’s a female as they’re smaller…she typically flies off before you can get her picture but he was able to sneak out behind the tree and get a couple of shots as she was on our side of the pond.

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Snowy Egret with breeding plumage starting to develop. This one is across the other side of the pond and even at 500mm focal length it’s a crop to about 1/3 or so of the frame…the old bird lens would not have shown the finely textured breeding plumage as distinctly.

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A flower on our side of the pond about 30 feet away…again the old bird lens would not have gotten the detail in the spiderweb nearly as clear.

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This is a different individual in the GBH…he’s starting to get his mating plumage as you can see the separate gray wispy feathers on his breast just below center frame and looking past the plants.

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He kinda of ruffled his feathers after stabbing at lunch…very nice detail in the underneath non flight feathers on his neck and back.

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Next he stretched his neck upwards to full extension and again very nice details…although Neil should have switched to pinpoint instead of single point focus to get it on his eye…the focusing point was over his head across the pond and unfortunately the autofocus usually grabs the closes thing under the selected focusing point.

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Lastly for the same GBH…4 shots taken at 7 frames per second…he got about 15 or so as it flew off and when he could keep the autofocus point on the bird it grabbed excellent detail.

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This is a pretty bad shot of the bird as Neil let the AF point slide off of the body and it grabbed the pines behind him…but there’s much better detail in the pine needles than the old one would have given.

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This shot is the very next one in sequence after the one above so maybe a third of a second later…he got the AF point back on the bird and the new lens focuses much more quickly back to the bird.

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Then there’s this fish…they stick their heads up out of the water and just sit there. They’re about a foot and a half long and do occasionally eat bugs off the surface from underneath…but then they also do this stick the top of their head out of the water thing and we have no idea why that is. We saw on our Next Door community web site a woman who claimed that they were gasping for breath at the surface since the ponds weren’t oxygenated enough and that the community association needed to put bubblers in the pond to save them from suffocating. The trouble with that is that fish don’t have lungs so they’re not physically capable of gasping for breath…and their gills don’t work that way either. This is a shot from behind the fish and if they were trying to breathe at the surface with their gills there would be some movement…but there isn’t…they just sit there without moving for many minutes.

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Neil also took a shot with Connie’s mirrorless Z50 camera body and the new bird lens…the Z’s use a different lens mount but he bought the adapter. Again…not a great shot and normally I would not have posted it as the autofocus missed the eye…again he should have changed AF mode…but the breeding plumage agains comes into very clear focus as the camera grabbed focus on the bird. This one is also across the pond so is probably 35 or 40 yards out and is a pretty severe crop…the old bird lens would not have shown the separate strands in the mating plumage but more of a gauzy veil sort of look. He likes the new one…a lot…

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I dunno whether Dr. Fauci is smoking something he shouldn’t be or whether he’s just trying to please his new boss…or whether he was instructed to walk back his claims by the White House. Anyway…he was on all 3 morning news shows last week and made 3 completely contradictory statements. First…he said that
anybody and everybody
will be able to get a vaccine by April 1…then by 2 mornings later on the third show it was by July. Given the issues with vaccine supply and getting a reservation for one…and that it’s only 6 weeks until April 1…that’s just not gonna happen. The President has announced that we’ve ordered 300 million people’s worth of dual shot vaccine for delivery by the end of July…but (a) there’s a difference between delivery and getting it into arms and (b) it’s not clear that production capacity can be ramped up that fast. And naturally they’re giving no credit at all to the previous administration who actually spent the money and got the vaccines developed in record time…in fact almost every time they talk about the previous administration and the pandemic response it’s a variation of “it was worse than we thought even yesterday”. Yes…the previous administration did a lot of things both wrong and that the Democrats didn’t like…but they did a lot of things right as well.

One of the things that President has said is that he will “fire on the spot anybody in the administration that disrespects anyone”. Apparently the guy that was the Deputy Press Secretary “threatened and harassed a reporter” over somebody he dated. I read what the guy actually said and while it was getting toward the borderline of inappropriate “threatened and harassed” seems a bit much. However…after knowing about this supposed behavior for months…he was finally suspended without pay for a week last week…and while I personally think that this is an appropriate level of discipline considering his actions…it certainly doesn’t square with “fire them on the spot”. He’s subsequently resigned after the White House was pilloried for their inadequate action given the President’s statement…but that doesn’t excuse the fact that they knew about it for several months and then just suspended him a week after the President’s statement.

So…apparently out in San Francisco in the PRC…awhile back the School Board directed back in May 2018 that a study be made of school names so that schools named after historical figures linked to “the subjugation and enslavement of human beings; or who oppressed women, inhibiting societal progress; or whose actions led to genocide; or who otherwise significantly diminished the opportunities of those amongst us to the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This direction was ignored for a long time but the employees finally got around to doing it, prepared a report that suggested renaming some 44 schools, and it was approved by the School Board in late January. The study…instead of being performed in the matter in which it was directed to be informed…consisted entirely of a wikipedia and google search and in at least one case the ‘researcher’ completely misunderstood what he had read. In any event…the
44 schools to be renamed
…and the list was approved 6-1 by the school board…anyway the list includes schools named after noted racists named George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Diane Feinstein, Roosevelt (don’t know whether it was Teddy or Franklin), Thomas Jefferson, and the Alamo. Lincoln in particular was on the list due to his “mistreatment of First Nation people”…because at least according to the researcher…he signed the execution orders of 28 or 29 Indians who were involved in an uprising and killed a bunch of white people. What the researcher didn’t find…or more likely ignored everything past the first 3 google results…was that the original list of Indians to be hanged sent to Lincoln was 230something names long and he determined that to be unconscionable…and spent hours/days reading the evidence of what each had actually done and only executed the ringleaders or actual murderers. No good deed goes unpunished. Senator Feinstein’s crime…she as the mayor of San Francisco back some time ago ordered the replacement of a Confederate battle flag on a historical display after the original was torn down. 

Only in the PRC would Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln be deemed racist…and I have no idea what the Alamo did wrong other than stand up for freedom.

Interesting things found on the net.

Apparently…Saturn would float. Turns out that it’s density is only 0687 grams per cubic centimeter which is less than that of water which is 1.0. so…assuming you could get Saturn to earth and had an ocean big enough…it would float if you dropped it in.


I never realized that an accordion was a “high demand item” that required a limit on purchases in the store…but apparently they are.


This guy has set a standard that can never be met.



We’ve all read on the news about RINO or “Republican in name only”…but apparently there are DINOs too…I especially liked the last speech bubble myself.



Things that might be of interest only to me.

Did you ever wonder how much coronavirus there is in the world? Well…
this guy
was asked to calculate it for an interview/show on the BBC. He has some experience with these cocktail napkin sort of calculation estimates as he wrote a book named “The Maths of Life and Death” so he went through a process of figuring out how many positive cases are diagnosed per day and statistical analysis to get the estimated total infected people when the peak virus load happens (about 6 days past infection) and then figured out the total viral load for those folks. He then took into account the high end estimate for total virus load in an infected person at around 100 billion, the size of the virus, and the numbers and came up with an answer.

How big do you think it is. Think about it and come up with a guess…I’ll tell ya the answer in a minute.

















OK…time’s up…what did you come up with. He came up with a total virus population at any one time on the planet of about 2 quintillion or 2 billion billion virus particles…but ya gotta remember they’re pretty small, on the order of 100 nanometers or 1000 times smaller than a human hair. He then took into account the spherical nature of the virus…the fact that spheres don’t pack evenly in a container (about a 26% space inefficiency), and the average height of the virus spikes on the virus.

Before he did the calculation…his wife estimated either a teaspoon full or a swimming pool full as…her words…it’s always one of those for questions like this.

His actual calculations came up with 160 milliliters or about six shot glasses. In other words…less than would fill a Coke can.

About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
This entry was posted in Homebody, Photography, WIldlife, Ya Can't Fix Stupid. Bookmark the permalink.

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