Saturday, April 9, 2016
BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY in DUBAI with the FUJIFILM XF 100-400mm
When I reviewed the just announced, FUJIFILM XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 OIS WR lens (click here for review) mid January, I did have only a very limited opportunity to take the lens out on a typical long lens photo-shoot. Since I was very happy with the initial results and image quality, I realised straight away I would be "buying" the lens! By the way, unlike what I read online the other day, official X-photographers do not get their gear for free !
The number one reason I bought the lens, was to be used as my main "Airshow / Aviation photography" lens; such as for the shoot at the Red Bull Air Races in Abu Dhabi last month. End of April, I'll be attending a large warbird airshow in California (Planes of Fame, Chino) where both the 100-400 and 18-135 will be my main two go to lenses.
Secondary, I also plan on using the lens for some wildlife photography and can already see how it will shine on an African wildlife Safari. Meanwhile, I took the XF 100-400mm and the new X-Pro2, to two spots in the UAE, to photograph some large birds.
I started of at the Ras-al-Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, at the end of the Creek in Dubai; a completely fenced off area with three hides, of which presently only two are open for the public. I spend some time at the Flamingo hide; part of the sanctuary where up to 3000 Greater Flamingos live. While about a third leave the area over the hot summer months, there is always a good population visible from the hide.
The 100-400 lens was perfect to photograph the Flamingos being fed and capture a few in flight. The focus was snappy using Zone focus and Single Shot mode, while for the birds in flight, I changed to AF-C with Zone focussing.
Twice a day a ranger gives them a cereal based food supplement; a great moment to capture!
A few days later I took the super telephoto to the Al Quadra lakes; a cluster of man-made lakes in the middle of the desert, where one can find more than a hundred different bird species. The most photogenic was a family of Black Swan.
But also some smaller species like this Black Winged Stilt.
Beside the ridiculously small lens-foot, I very happy with the new Fujinon XF 100-400mm lens. The image quality is top notch and the 5 stops of OIS (image stabilisation) works great. One can easily shoot the 100-400 handheld for several hours at a time!
I've been using the new X-Pro2 for the above shoots and have quickly fallen in love with the new 24Mpx X-Trans III files. Although, I'm still tweaking my RAW file workflow somewhat, it will be hard to go back to my trusty X-T1/X-T10 the day I return the camera to Fujifilm Middle East!