While I was at the Coralville Reservoir on the 4th, I got a photo of this family making their way to the cool water across a muddy shore. I realize this isn’t much of a picture, actually, but I post it here for a few reasons, as this is primarily intended to be a learning site – a place for me to share what I’ve learned (and for all my readers to help teach me!) as much as great photos.
In this case, I learned that the inexpense Canon EF 75-300mm zoom lens I got for $100 when I originally bought my camera may not be as bad as I’ve been thinking for 2.5 years. In the past I’ve had enormous difficulty with this lens. It didn’t focus well for me, I had terrible issues with chromatic aberration, and camera shake was horrible.
A week before taking this trip I spent a Saturday learning about lens sweet spots and doing some experimenting. And then I learned about minimum shutter speeds to use for a given focal length. Armed with those two crucial pieces of information, I mounted my zoom for the first time in months and pointed it at the wildlife, zooming in almost to the limit. Although I hadn’t tested this lens’ sweet spot directly, I knew that it must be somewhere in the f/10 range, so that’s were I put it. Fortunately it was a sunny day, and using aperture priority I saw that I was getting 1/400, which should be plenty for a clear shot free of camera shake.
The only question left was whether I could count on the lens to focus properly (since my eyes have proven far too old to be reliable). Back home, I discovered that, yes indeed, when I use my lens properly to begin with, it is capable of taking a reasonably crisp image. It’s not L series quality, but as I’m not likely to be getting an L series any time soon, it’s at least nice to know that, with the necessary information in my head, I now have another useful tool in my camera bag.