I Now Have a 300mm Lens!

One of the first investments I was keen to make quickly when I bought my first DSLR in the spring was a zoom lens. I must have spent months looking at the various options: do I go up to 200mm or 300mm? Would that be enough for what I wanted to use it for, as in wildlife? How much should I spend? After looking over all my options I decided to go for the safe and reliable NIKKOR Nikon lens but instead of buying one new, I opted for a refurb. I must say, I’m really happy with it so far.

Copyright MG Mason 2018

The first shot I took was of the moon one night last week. This is the result. I had to fiddle around with manual settings, so that was another step in the learning process to becoming a proper photographer. What do you think? Naturally, I didn’t stop here. I’ve been testing it out on all sorts of things. I discovered that it’s no good for close ups and the closest I can get is around 7 feet. That’s fine because that’s not the purpose for which I bought the lens.

This weekend coming is the lens’ biggest test. We’re going to Dartmoor Zoo to take advantage of a half price offer after visiting the National Marin Aquarium in Plymouth a couple of weeks ago. The prospect of photographing lots of big cats certainly draws me to this place. I will, of course, keep you updated.

I like photographing landscapes and nature. It will be ideal for the latter, not so much for the former. For that, I’ll need a wide angle lens with approximately an 8-10mm range for greater depth of field. The 300mm will allow me to get up close and personal with wildlife without getting too up close and personal. Here are some things I would like to use this for as I continue to develop as a photographer:

  • Butterflies, birds, dragonflies that tend to scarper when humans get too close. I found this problematic on a walk around 6 weeks ago at the Carnon Valley Nature Reserve. There were lots of dragonflies and I couldn’t get close enough. Every time I did, the dragonfly would fly off. This lens will let me stand way back and still get a good shot
  • Distant wildlife such as soaring birds of prey, deer playing in fields, and seals out at sea. I love birds of prey but unless they are domesticated they are a) protected by law and b) incredibly shy – too shy to let a photographer get within just a couple of feet. From the comfort of my car, balcony or a safe spot, I can take shots of them in natural settings
  • The moon and other airborne objects that are large enough to capture enough detail. Several people in a photography group I’m in that like to take photos of aircraft in flight.
  • Detail on buildings that are inaccessible from ground level (dangerous or illegal to access) and where a standard kit lens simply can’t pick out the level of detail required of out-of-reach features. I’m thinking church and cathedral steeples from the ground, for example. I love historic buildings too

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