2.115 FOPAL, lens

Thursday 04/01/2021

Got around my zoom problem and managed to join Veronica’s aerobics at 8:15. After that I tidied the apartment anticipating Wanda coming to clean at 2pm. Also paid two bills.

Chores done, I drove down to FOPAL. Better to go twice a week than to find 6 boxes waiting on Tuesday like last time.

Back home, had lunch and a nap, and then it was getting close to time for Wanda to come in. I had decided to try out the 500mm mirror lens at the Baylands. Since on Sunday morning at 8am the tide had been super low, I figured that 6 hours later the water would be high.

Wrong. The water was almost as low as 5 days previous. Hardly any bird action. I shot a few but there is a problem. The 500mm has very shallow depth of field, which is to say the distance at which things are in focus is very specific, and anything closer or further is not sharp. Case in point, this egret, who I caught with an actual fish in its beak.

Well I think it’s a fish. Could be a rubber boot sole. Anyway, notice the egret is not in sharp focus? Five to ten feet beyond the egret, see the jagged stump on the left and the leaning granite rock behind the bird? Those things are crisp. That’s shallow depth of field, from the stump to the rock. A very minute rotation of the focus ring would have moved the zone back to include the egret and I’d’a had a good picture.

It’s been a lot of years since I’ve had to worry about manual focus. Our cameras have been auto-focus since… the 80s? But this lens does not allow for auto-focus; it is strictly manual. I shot maybe 10 exposures today of various things, and I don’t think the center of interest was in the focal zone on any of them.

I was using a monopod, basically a 5-foot stick with the camera on top. Maybe I have to use full tripod so I don’t have to simultaneously aim the camera with one hand and turn the focus ring by tiny little degrees with the other.

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