The 200-400VRII is primarily my “big game” lens but entering into the summer, there just isn’t any big game around the house in the Sierra so field testing by photographing them isn’t possible at the moment. Well, not field testing just won’t do!

[swf], 585, 473 [/swf]

With PRS coming up soon, I decided to practice my panning and at the same time, field shoot with the new 200-400VRII. So Jake & I headed to Mono Lake to a creek the California Gulls come into in the afternoon to bathe. I set up purposely so the gulls would be backlit and let some natural fill light reflecting off the tufas deal with some of the shadows. I set myself up where the gulls would set their wings in a glide just prior to come to the creek and pulling up to land.

We shot for about two hours, until our arms got tired of handholding and panning for nearly 800 images. I was VERY impressed with my results which are basically hundreds of images like this, a single gull coasting on in.

[swf], 585, 473 [/swf]

And why did I concentrate on just flight for two hours? You been to Mono Lake in the afternoon? You can’t find a nastier background for birds than its bleached bright white alkaline! Yeah, the gulls did interesting and funny things, but you need welding glasses to see it the light is so bright. I’ll take the interesting backlit green background over this white out anytime! The new 200-400VRII seems to be a tad better balanced handheld which I do like. I shot the whole time at f/8 and the D3s did all the AF work. The lens continues to impress me and support my own personal conclusion that it does produce a cleaner image.

Photos captured by D3s, 200-400VRII on Lexar UDMA digital film

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