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Monday, 9 March 2009

Minsmere - 27 Feb

A friend of mine, Tony Coombs and I took a trip to Minsmere recently in the hope of seeing some Bittern activity and the Marsh Harriers.

Initially the day looked like it was going to be clear with good light, but after a very early start, a grey blanket of cloud moved over the reserve and stayed with us pretty much until we decided to leave (at which point the sun came out and shone all the way home !).

Our early start paid dividends though as the deer that usually are gone once visitors arrive in force, were showing well.

Having spent a fruitless couple of hours in the Bittern Hide (1 Bittern seen in the distance + 3 Marsh Harriers), we moved down to the Island Mere Hide. The Marsh Harriers were showing well, but only occasionally coming close enough to the hide for photo opportunities.

On the way back to the car, a Wren decided to appear, and posed well for the camera - a bird I'd not previously had in my library, so I was very happy to get some shots.

During a quiet moment, as Tony and I both have 1D MKIII's, with 500mm f4 attached and 1.4x converters we decided to test our kit.

On each shot, sitting next to each other and photographing the same goose using AV mode, Tony could only manage a shutter speed roughly 1/200 slower than my camera.

We continued to take shots of the same birds and again, Tony could not get the same shutter speed.We checked our basic settings - same mode, f stop, iso, focus point etc., but same result. We then went through all settings in the menu and Tony adjusted his to match my camera exactly. Again, the same result.The only difference between our gear was the 1.4x - Tony has the Canon version, mine is a Kenko.

This was interesting experiment, and possibly the difference between getting 'that sharp image', or not.

I appreciate that there are more precise tests that could be carried out - like swapping converters/lens etc., but this is food for thought for now.

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