Adventures of a father and a photographer. Tales about the mystery and excitement of family travel.

torstai 15. helmikuuta 2018

Size Does Matter

A couple of years ago I was visiting the Ähtäri Zoo with my family. It was years ago before they got the pandas.

When we were unpacking our magical mystery van at the parking lot, I noticed a brand new SUV parking quietly beside our car. Usually, I don't take any notice of other people's cars, but this one was bright and shiny despite of the lousy weather and the gravel roads leading to the park. And the thing that caught my eye was the driver taking a slim, sleek and fashionable camera backpack from the trunk of the car. It was obviously a recently bought Kata or ThinkTank bag. I took my worn Lowepro messenger bag from our car and lead my family to the park.

In the park, the kids wanted to see the bears. It was springtime and the bears were just waking up after the long winter. When we got to the bears, I noticed a familiar backpack beside me. The man carrying the bag was just taking a huge, white lens out of it. The lens was at least 400 mm long and it didn't have a spot on it's shining white surface. He attached the lens to his camera body with probably only one digit in it's model number.

I had decided to take my 40 mm lens out for a spin. Well, the Canon 40mm STM lens is a very short one even for a 40 mm. And I soon noticed that 40 mm is not quite enough for exciting wildlife photos even if you are at the zoo. The guy beside me was pointing the bears with his monstrous lens and I heard the shutter go "click-click-click", "click-click-click". My camera equipment felt so tiny, but I was taking a photo every once in the while.

Feeling frustrated I took the family to the camping area to have some lunch. And guess who was there too! He had left his camera on the wooden table right next to ours. My camera with it's minuscule lens was hanging around my neck. I pointed the white beast and, with a sad face, told my wife: His is bigger than mine.

Lesson to be learned: When you are going to take photos of wild animals, at the zoo or in the nature, use the longest lens you've got. The results will be so much better. The short lenses are good for family portraits and travel memories. But make sure the family to be photographed consists of humans and not the animals.

Canon EF 70-210mm f4 lens

This is the lens I should have taken with me. The model  is quite old, but it's still producing wonderful photos. The motor makes an awful noise, but it is focusing quite fast for it's age. And, the lens has a slide zoom! I've loved slide zooms since the film era! I got the lens used for 70 euros and it has been worth every cent.

You can read more about the lens here and here.

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