Search found 88 matches

by fvachss
May 2nd, 2017, 6:22 pm
Forum: The Forum
Topic: Collared Lizard Swarm at Joshua Tree
Replies: 19
Views: 8524

Collared Lizard Swarm at Joshua Tree

Went to the usual place in JTree to see Collared Lizards and was rewarded by a greater variety than I've seen in some time. At least 8 individuals seen over a 2.5 hour hike. The special treat though was (what I think is) a big Yellow Back Spiny Lizard, which I hadn't seen in that area before: http:/...
by fvachss
April 27th, 2017, 8:38 pm
Forum: The Forum
Topic: Whole Lotta Leopard Lizards
Replies: 4
Views: 2910

Whole Lotta Leopard Lizards

Every year I wander by a favorite spot in the northern Mojave that is well known for Leopard Lizard and Horned Lizard sightings. This year I only saw a single horned lizard: http://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2818/34182867641_7b195d9890_b.jpg However, this absence was more than compensated for by the abun...
by fvachss
April 19th, 2016, 7:57 pm
Forum: The Forum
Topic: Usual suspects from the usual place
Replies: 5
Views: 2900

Usual suspects from the usual place

A quick trip to one of the standard lizard hotspots in the Mojave.... Leopard Lizard https://c6.staticflickr.com/2/1552/26468641541_f378efdd45_b.jpg Horned Lizard https://c7.staticflickr.com/2/1465/25929752174_7ce9396117_h.jpg Zebratail https://c6.staticflickr.com/2/1466/26468641581_7d5fb3edb9_h.jpg...
by fvachss
April 2nd, 2015, 7:12 pm
Forum: The Forum
Topic: Usual Suspects in Joshua Tree
Replies: 1
Views: 815

Usual Suspects in Joshua Tree

I went on a lizard spotting trip to JTree this past weekend. Didn't see a whole lot in the lower desert portion of the park - lots of whiptails, but nothing I was quick enough or excited enough to photograph. Even the usual trails in the northern half of the park failed to yield their usual diversit...
by fvachss
March 18th, 2015, 6:45 am
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Lenses
Replies: 12
Views: 6517

Re: Lenses

The 100mm macro lens being recommended is certainly a fine one, but probably wouldn't be the first one I'd recommend for herping. Something like either the 300/4IS or 100-400IS would allow for much greater working distance - and the potential to get a shot when the subject is skittish. The trade off...
by fvachss
March 14th, 2015, 3:52 pm
Forum: The Forum
Topic: First Horned Lizard of the season
Replies: 1
Views: 880

First Horned Lizard of the season

It's so warm and dry that everybody's showing up sooner. This little guy was out in the Antelope Valley not far from the Poppy Fields.

Image
by fvachss
September 7th, 2014, 6:49 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Canon VS. Nikon Debate
Replies: 19
Views: 9097

Re: Canon VS. Nikon Debate

I don't know why I'm being foolish enough to wade into this - other than to say I regularly use both the Canon 65mm MP-E and the 500/4 IS (which decidedly does exist - though good luck finding one for under $5K in the Canon or Nikon world). All that said, the Nikon D800/800E is clearly a better body...
by fvachss
April 27th, 2014, 2:53 pm
Forum: The Forum
Topic: Skink vs. Snake
Replies: 12
Views: 3861

Skink vs. Snake

I can't take any credit for this one, but my wife was leading a nature hike in Newbury Park today and came across this battle royale between a western skink and a ringneck snake alongside the trail. She was able to watch for a good 10 minutes before she was obliged to head off with her students and ...
by fvachss
January 22nd, 2014, 9:34 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Scott Kelby talks about his switch from Nikon to Canon
Replies: 9
Views: 4392

Re: Scott Kelby talks about his switch from Nikon to Canon

I've been a Canon shooter forever, but honestly I can't see why anyone invested in either system would ever switch. Yes there are a few specific advantages of each, but come on - both systems allow one to do pretty much everything well. Other than simple gear lust and change for change's sake I can'...
by fvachss
January 9th, 2014, 11:30 am
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Canon mid-level DSLR
Replies: 9
Views: 4776

Re: Canon mid-level DSLR

Most of the Canon crop bodies over the last 3-4 years have used the same 18MP sensor and will produce similar image quality. These include the T2i - T5i Rebels, the 60D mid-range and the 7D "semi-pro" body (and pretty much includes the 70D - a 60D replacement with a slightly higher res 20MP sensor)....
by fvachss
January 2nd, 2014, 7:29 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: $1100 600mm coming this month
Replies: 19
Views: 7902

Re: $1100 600mm coming this month

There have been a number of high quality 3rd party long zoom lenses for a number of years now and they are often a reasonable, relatively inexpensive alternative to the high dollar super-telephoto primes. The real question, though, is image quality. Some of these lenses produce very nice images, but...
by fvachss
October 3rd, 2013, 8:08 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Canon 300mm f4 vs 17-40
Replies: 8
Views: 3777

Re: Canon 300mm f4 vs 17-40

i see you're using the 300 with the 1.4 tc? you don't find that it degrades image quality It depends on pixel density. On a 5D2 with relatively large 6.5 um pixels the 300+1.4x is pretty sharp wide open and very sharp just stopping down a hair to f/6.3. On the more recent high pixel density crop bo...
by fvachss
October 3rd, 2013, 3:07 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Canon 300mm f4 vs 17-40
Replies: 8
Views: 3777

Re: Canon 300mm f4 vs 17-40

The 300/4IS is my 'go to' herping lens. Almost all shots (except the few macros) in these folders were taken with the 300: http://www.pbase.com/fvachss/mojave_april&page=all http://www.pbase.com/fvachss/jtree2012&page=all I have a 16-35 as well (similar in utility to the 17-40) and like it a lot for...
by fvachss
September 20th, 2013, 8:14 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Computer for photo editing
Replies: 6
Views: 4035

Re: Computer for photo editing

Disclaimers: I've always built desktop machines for photo editing, so I don't have any great laptop advice. Also I'm still running a 6 year old system, so I'm not fully up on all the best hardware combos. Still some general rules apply. You can generally get at least 2/3rd the performance of a top e...
by fvachss
August 31st, 2013, 11:32 am
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Choosing a Field Recorder for Anurans - A Primer
Replies: 4
Views: 7701

Re: Choosing a Field Recorder for Anurans - A Primer

Thanks for a very interesting post. Regarding the bandwidth limitation of typical pocket recording devices like cell phones, I wonder if heterodyning might permit the use of these devices to record higher frequency calls. Introduce a 20 KHz local oscillator and a even a small device with a 4 KHz ban...
by fvachss
August 29th, 2013, 6:04 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC
Replies: 9
Views: 6795

Re: Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC

This may very well be an excellent lens, but the question to ask is whether the focal range works for your intended purpose. Many APS-C users have a standard 18-55mm kit lens (which while much slower and likely substantially less sharp than the lens in question, includes the same range of focal leng...
by fvachss
August 24th, 2013, 7:19 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: What herps do you have problems photographing?
Replies: 22
Views: 8312

Re: What herps do you have problems photographing?

I don't trap and pose any animal I photograph so any that are active can be a problem. Fortunately, most of my favorite lizards tend to freeze when they sense danger (i.e. me) in the middle distance and only bolt if I get close. This is why I tend to shoot most lizards with a medium long tele (300 -...
by fvachss
August 16th, 2013, 5:17 am
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Best Editing Software
Replies: 10
Views: 4937

Re: Best Editing Software

Photoshop Elements (whatever the current version is) does pretty much everything I need. I've used the full version of Photoshop CS(2-6) quite a bit, and in a perfect world of cheap software I prefer it to Elements. But the little bit extra it provides (the ability to record actions is my favorite) ...
by fvachss
August 11th, 2013, 9:31 am
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: A couple macro questions
Replies: 12
Views: 5331

Re: A couple macro questions

You guys probably already know all this, but here are a couple of fun math facts about macro photography: 1. Depth of field decreases like 1/(M*M) where M is the magnification. That squared factor is very significant since it means that DOF gets smaller even when scaled to the size of the body in qu...
by fvachss
August 9th, 2013, 6:14 am
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: A couple macro questions
Replies: 12
Views: 5331

Re: A couple macro questions

Actually you don't need to give up aperture control with reversed lenses if you stack then on another lens.... Thanks for describing this. I like this approach better than the bare reversed lens one I was talking about. It also seems to allow for higher magnifications than are easily obtained with ...
by fvachss
August 8th, 2013, 6:39 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Rebel T5i of EOS 60D
Replies: 14
Views: 6363

Re: Rebel T5i of EOS 60D

The T5i and the 60D both use essentially the same sensor so noise performance will be about the same. They both have tilt/swivel LCDs and they both use SD cards for storage (vs. the CF cards of the more expensive lines). The main difference between them isn't functionality, but simply size and weigh...
by fvachss
August 8th, 2013, 4:47 am
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: A couple macro questions
Replies: 12
Views: 5331

Re: A couple macro questions

While reverse mounting lenses can be an effective way of increasing magnification on the cheap I'd recommend using extension tubes to achieve pretty much the same effect. That way you can at least retain aperture control from the camera. Most ways I've seen using a reversed lens there is no electric...
by fvachss
July 15th, 2013, 4:30 am
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Canon Telephoto help needed
Replies: 14
Views: 7232

Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

While these lens rental companies certainly perform a valuable service, for lenses readily available on the used market I generally just prefer to buy the lenses I'm interested in. The buy/sell prices on high quality used lenses are pretty stable and when I've decided I didn't like a lens I've gener...
by fvachss
July 1st, 2013, 8:39 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Herp Atlas Updates
Replies: 3
Views: 3029

Re: Herp Atlas Updates

I have to admit I didn't notice your earlier request for photos (and there are plenty of folks here that have taken as good or better versions of my pictures of domestic herps, anyway). That said I see you're looking for Australian herp photos, and I have a few of those sitting around on my web site...
by fvachss
June 29th, 2013, 3:36 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Canon Telephoto help needed
Replies: 14
Views: 7232

Re: Canon Telephoto help needed

I own the 70-300L and 300/4IS and used to own a 400/5.6 and 70-300 non-L. Others may differ, but here are my opinions: 1. The 300/4IS is my favorite herping lens. I like to get in for close-ups and the 300 excels at that - and takes a 1.4x very well when you want those lizard head shots. 2. I'd say ...
by fvachss
June 29th, 2013, 3:20 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Full Frame Herp Lens?
Replies: 15
Views: 7513

Re: Full Frame Herp Lens?

The 65mm MP-E is one of my favorite lenses. It blew me away the first time I used mine. It opens up a whole new aspect to photography. I highly recommend it! As do I, but emphatically not as a first macro lens. Shooting at much over 1:1 takes a lot of practice (and usually additional gear as well)....
by fvachss
June 28th, 2013, 9:15 am
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Full Frame Herp Lens?
Replies: 15
Views: 7513

Re: Full Frame Herp Lens?

Extension tubes work fine on a macro lens and can provide nice sharp results, but take away some of the flexibility in magnification that a macro lens provides without giving much of an improvement in magnification. To get from 1:1 up to 1.5:1 on a 100L lens requires something like 50mm of additiona...
by fvachss
June 23rd, 2013, 8:53 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Full Frame Herp Lens?
Replies: 15
Views: 7513

Re: Full Frame Herp Lens?

On a 5D2 I've had reasonable success using either a 180L macro or a 300/4IS for herping. Eventually I found that the extra working distance (and IS) on the 300 more than made up for the ability to get down to 1:1. Either one is dead sharp on a full frame body. These choices work for me since I seem ...
by fvachss
June 20th, 2013, 5:36 am
Forum: The Forum
Topic: SoCal Herping roundup 4th-11th of June. (Lotsa Pics!)
Replies: 9
Views: 4131

Re: SoCal Herping roundup 4th-11th of June. (Lotsa Pics!)

Outstanding photographs. The close ups are really impressive.
by fvachss
May 5th, 2013, 6:12 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Self Restraint - Strategy or Pointless?
Replies: 25
Views: 11825

Re: Self Restraint - Strategy or Pointless?

When photographing still life (nature, architecture, products, etc.) then I'll often spend a fair bit of time preconceiving and setting up the shot. In this case I could see that there might be some kind of "aesthetic rigor" gained by limiting oneself to a few polished shots - but hey, even then I u...
by fvachss
April 28th, 2013, 4:00 pm
Forum: The Forum
Topic: Almost in time for Mother's Day
Replies: 1
Views: 490

Almost in time for Mother's Day

Haven't had time to head into the desert to check out the lizards this year, but I saw this cute little family scene in the creek out back a couple hundred yards from my house: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7049/8691147300_bcd66b56ba_b.jpg I'm guessing they're Western Pond Turtles, but I'd appreciat...
by fvachss
April 11th, 2013, 6:28 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: short-mid range zoom lens suggestions for Canon 7D
Replies: 1
Views: 1830

Re: short-mid range zoom lens suggestions for Canon 7D

I don't know a lot about the non-CANON lenses, but these are my opinions of the Canon options: I'd just look for a used 17-55 and not worry about dust. It takes a *whole lot* of dust before it will affect your pictures. The main problem would be in resale value to finicky purchasers. Buy one that's ...
by fvachss
March 11th, 2013, 1:04 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Help me pick a tripod!
Replies: 13
Views: 6054

Re: Help me pick a tripod!

There's a now-classic article by Thom Hogan on choosing a tripod/head: http://www.bythom.com/support.htm . In short he suggests getting good equipment the first time rather than bargain hunting, ending up dissatisfied and having to rebuy the proper gear later. I'm a worshiper at the church of Gitzo ...
by fvachss
March 9th, 2013, 4:22 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: shooting scenarios
Replies: 10
Views: 5855

Re: shooting scenarios

Can you get close to the correct exposure just using the super-old-fashioned flash technique: Guide number/distance = f-stop? Even if there's all sorts of intervening detail between you and the subject that could screw up auto-exposure I would think this would get you pretty close (hopefully within ...
by fvachss
February 22nd, 2013, 3:01 am
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Another Fellow Possibly Upgrading *EDIT* + Current Question
Replies: 35
Views: 11874

Re: Another Fellow Possibly Upgrading

On the Canon side there's a pretty big difference between the two models you name: the XTi is an intro level camera that, while capable of taking fine photos, is now several generations out of date while the 7D is newer, more capable, but considerably larger and more expensive. My best advice would ...
by fvachss
February 7th, 2013, 8:04 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Non herp photo advice+tips
Replies: 10
Views: 4370

Re: Non herp photo advice+tips

Nightscape photography can be lots of fun. If you have a decent moon to work with then the lighting looks a lot like sunlight only needing maybe 12 stops more exposure (i.e. foreground/background illumination can look daylight-ish). In some of the OP's shots it appears he's working without a moon. I...
by fvachss
January 24th, 2013, 10:43 am
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.
Replies: 20
Views: 7114

Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

The 300/4 vs. 100-400 debate is one of those that is endlessly hashed out on various Canon forums. Sorting through the opinions can be a bit of a chore, but from what I've seen good copies of either lens will be very sharp. The 300 allows for greater magnification, particularly with a 1.4x extender ...
by fvachss
January 23rd, 2013, 8:31 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.
Replies: 20
Views: 7114

Re: New camera soon, questions about lenses, flash, etc.

I have a 7D and a pretty wide variety of Canon equipment. I would suggest not getting to caught up in getting all the perfect equipment right off the bat. Get the 7D and either the 300/4IS or 100-400 for herping. I have the former and am very happy with it, but the 100-400 will work fine in this app...
by fvachss
January 6th, 2013, 8:29 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Herp Lens
Replies: 15
Views: 5190

Re: Herp Lens

One question you should ask yourself is how often do you expect to shoot herps wide open at f/4. I would think that to obtain wide enough DOF you'd be doing most of your shooting at f/8+, in which case the sharpness advantage of the L lens becomes much less apparent. The 24-105L is a fine lens, but ...
by fvachss
December 11th, 2012, 9:02 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Extender opinions/comments
Replies: 1
Views: 1211

Re: Extender opinions/comments

I've used the EF1.4xII extensively with the 300/4IS on several Canon crop and full frame bodies, for herping and a wide variety of other wildlife shooting. I've found it to be a very effective combination - particularly since the 1.5m minimum focus distance allows for near macro shooting with a long...
by fvachss
December 4th, 2012, 6:55 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Whats a good camera
Replies: 12
Views: 3578

Re: Whats a good camera

Canon and Nikon both make fine DSLR cameras in your price range. Other manufacturers do too, but don't have the lens selection of the big two, so I'd recommend sticking to these. I know Canon's lineup better than Nikon's so I'll let someone else recommend the appropriate N gear. On the Canon side, t...
by fvachss
December 3rd, 2012, 9:22 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Random thoughts on lenses and herp photography...
Replies: 12
Views: 3887

Re: Random thoughts on lenses and herp photography...

In fairness the Canon 300/4IS is almost a macro lens. It gets down to around 1:4 magnification which on a crop frame DSLR gets you a minimum image size of about 2.5 x 4 inches (or less than 2 x 3" if you throw a 1.4x extender on it) - plenty small for a majority of herp shots and with a 4+ foot work...
by fvachss
December 3rd, 2012, 9:09 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Lens filters?
Replies: 11
Views: 3139

Re: Lens filters?

This is one of those "holy war" topics that is endlessly debated on photographic forums. While the fundamental question of whether you should use a filter cannot be answered definitively, one thing most agree on is that if you do use a filter it should be of one high optical quality - both in unifor...
by fvachss
October 18th, 2012, 9:33 am
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: PHOTO ESSAY - October 16-31 - Scary Herp Shot
Replies: 44
Views: 16343

Re: PHOTO ESSAY - October 16-31 - Scary Herp Shot

Image

Maybe not all that scary, but this Perentie was sure angry and letting me know not to get any closer. Found roadside in the nowhere midway between Exmouth and Broome, WA.
by fvachss
October 17th, 2012, 2:56 pm
Forum: Invertebrate Forum
Topic: Come on People, Show Me Some Inverts
Replies: 30
Views: 8072

Re: Come on People, Show Me Some Inverts

Along the lines of the post starting off this thread here's another Bee Fly from a field near my home in Ventura County, CA:

Image
by fvachss
October 2nd, 2012, 8:37 pm
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: PHOTO ESSAY - October 1-15 - Herps in Motion
Replies: 33
Views: 8706

Re: PHOTO ESSAY - October 1-15 - Herps in Motion

Not necessarily in *fast* motion...

Image
by fvachss
September 3rd, 2012, 5:51 pm
Forum: Invertebrate Forum
Topic: Come on People, Show Me Some Inverts
Replies: 30
Views: 8072

Re: Come on People, Show Me Some Inverts

JAMAUGHN wrote: There are a few Monarchs in this one:
Image
Monarch Butterflies by J. Maughn, on Flickr
We're fortunate enough to have some good "Monarch Trees" down in Ventura County too...

Image
by fvachss
July 30th, 2012, 11:43 am
Forum: Invertebrate Forum
Topic: No snakes to photograph - Snakeflies will have to do.
Replies: 2
Views: 1543

No snakes to photograph - Snakeflies will have to do.

Saw this guy up on Mt. Pinos...

Image

Image
by fvachss
July 27th, 2012, 2:42 pm
Forum: Invertebrate Forum
Topic: Some insect shots from the past couple of months
Replies: 6
Views: 2257

Re: Some insect shots from the past couple of months

Very nicely done. I'm particularly impressed with the lighting - very natural looking, but with just enough 'pop' so that I think you skillfully wielded flash + diffuser on many of these.
by fvachss
July 18th, 2012, 9:59 am
Forum: FHF Image Lab
Topic: Croatian Critters
Replies: 0
Views: 1129

Croatian Critters

My wife and I spent June wandering around the Balkans - mostly on beaches and in towns and without wildlife photography gear. But a few lizards/frogs showed up and we were able to get some shots... http://www.pbase.com/fvachss/image/144820549/original.jpg http://upload.pbase.com/image/144820548/orig...