Dingos in Daylight

The dingo was the only canid in Australia for millennia.

This image was shot using the Sony 135 GM lens on the Sony A7RV at f/4 1/2000 ISO 200, and cropped to a square for composition. I haven’t used this combination a lot, but I should. The sharpness of the lens and the sharpness of the autofocus are complementary.

Dragon without depth

Oops, I did it again! Yes, this is another of my “Don’t do as I did” posts.

I ventured out to the Melbourne Zoo with the A7RV camera and the 135 f/1.8 GM lens. The temperature was low 20s Celsius, but there weren’t many clouds around, so we got some nice bright light (and the hard shadows in this shot testify to that). Although the image looks monochrome, it’s colour – the stone and the dragon just aren’t colourful.

Click on the image below to see it larger.

This image was shot at f/4 1/2000 ISO 640, and cropped from 9504 x 6336 down to 5228×5228. You can see that the A7RV found the dragon’s eye and focused on it, but I made the mistake of thinking f/4 would give me sufficient depth of field. I’d leaned into the shot because the water dragon was posing so beautifully in the sunshine, and as you can see the dragon’s head is beautifully clear and sharp, but the body and tail are not.

When you are aiming to get the whole of an animal (or human!) in focus, remember that you can increase your depth of field by choosing a smaller aperture (like f/8), or stepping back and using a longer focal length (on a zoom), or cropping more (on a prime).

Of course, you do have another option: claiming that it was a deliberate artistic decision to emphasise the head and eyes (and modern eye AF will help make that a credible claim). I’ve chosen to describe this as a mistake, but you know what? I am not unhappy with this image. I just would have liked to see the rear leg and toes inside the depth of field, because the dragon has unusual rear toes.

It wasn’t me!

This lemur looks guilty, but denying it.

This was shot on a Sony A1 with the Sony 135mm GM wide open at f/1.8, 1/2000, ISO 800. The shot is only slightly cropped, because I was not far from the lemur.

Disheveled Kookaburra

While I was wandering through the zoo I noticed a kookaburra sitting on top of a sign. This was a bird passing through, although he or she was not in a hurry to move, even though being harassed by a smaller bird (I think the smaller bird was protecting a nest, and was bothered by the presence of a kookaburra, because kookaburras are predators).

This was shot on a Sony A1 with the Sony 135mm GM wide open at f/1.8, 1/2000, ISO 125. The shot was cropped heavily, but is still sharp.

Sunbathing Simba

I mentioned on the shot of the tiger that it was a sunny day; here you can see blue sky and bright sun. The two bachelor lions at Melbourne Zoo are up on their high platform, several metres above the ground, enjoying the sunshine.

This was shot on a Sony A1 with the Sony 135mm GM wide open at f/1.8, 1/10000, ISO 100 – one of the advantages of using electronic shutter is the ability to reach 1/10000 to produce a better exposure with the lens wide open and ISO at 100; on a camera restricted to mechanical shutter we’d have to close down the aperture somewhat under these conditions.

Tired Tiger?

Indra the tiger is reclining on her bed of straw. The weather was surprisingly nice after a spate of heavy rain (and flooding). The forecast was for rain and heavy overcast. Instead we got a lot of blue sky and bright sun (not that you can see that here – her grotto is in shade), and it was warm enough to wear short sleeves.

This was shot on a Sony A1 with the Sony 135mm GM wide open at f/1.8, 1/2000, ISO 640. This is heavily cropped down to 4000×2400.

Wild black kite – got any spare?

The wild dogs get fed, and the local black kites are ready to souvenir anything that gets missed. Yes, kites are predatory, but they are perfectly willing to scavenge.

This image was shot with the Sony 135mm GM lens on a Sony A1, at f/1.8 1/10000 ISO 100. What you are looking at is a 2500×1667 crop from the frame. Arguably, this wasn’t the best choice of lens for this subject, but Sony has yet to make the 200mm f/2 GM or 300mm f/2.8 GM that I’d dearly love to be using here. That said, the 135 GM is so sharp, I can get away with such a savage crop. I really like having the extra headroom on the shutter speed, being able to go above 1/8000 all the way to 1/32000 – it effectively gives me two more stops before I need to think about stopping the lens down.

Cheetah intensity

Kulinda the cheetah is prowling. Not moving quickly, but intent on examining what the keepers have done to her space (she has been out for just a few minutes). She has come quite close to the window. This is a completely uncropped frame (and you know how much I love to crop!) – no room to crop, but I’m willing to put up with that on this one.

This image was shot with the Sony 135mm GM lens on a Sony A1, at f/1.8 1/3200 ISO 100. You could argue that I should perhaps have shot this at maybe f/8 to get a greater depth of field, but I like that only her head is fully in focus, courtesy of animal eye AF in the A1.

I can’t resist. Here’s another image from shortly before, as she stalked past the window. This image was shot with the same settings, and it, too, is uncropped. The early morning sun is low in the sky, but it’s already bright and clear (look at how strong her shadow is); there were no clouds this morning.