The Making of a Canon Super Telephoto L Series Lens

The first time a new photographer encounters the price tag on some of Canon’s super telephoto lenses they quite often suffer from sticker shock at the price of entry. Just why does it cost more than $6000 Australian dollars for a 300mm F2.8L lens, more than $8000 for a 500mm F4 and more than a whopping $15,000 for an 800mm F5.6 lens?

These three videos show just what goes into the construction of the Canon EF 500mm F4L IS USM lens and gives a greater appreciation of the complex construction process, attention to quality and cost of ownership.

Canon Lens Production – Part One

Canon Lens Production – Part Two

Canon Lens Production – Part Three

New Zealand – The North Western Arch

One of my favourite places in New Zealand is the small village of Kaikoura on the East Coast of the South Island. This tranquil, peaceful fishing village has simply the most stunning and spectacular sunrises I have ever experienced. Set against the Southern Alps Kaikoura offers not only amazing opportunities for landscape photography, but also Sperm whale, Sea Lion and Dolphin photography; all of which are quite accessible by local charter.  If you have ever seen the 1983 Scottish film Local Hero and can remember the small fishing village in which it is set, then you have a pretty good idea of what Kaikoura is like (at least that is the feeling and memory I have from the place).

This photograph was taken seconds before sunrise and includes the Southern Alps in the background with the amazing North Western Arch cloud formation brilliantly lit with dawn colour – that colour is real! Lenticular clouds, formed by high winds are just hovering over the distant peaks. In a large print you can clearly see the spindrift coming off the tops of the peaks and the ocean spray on the horizon.

Iceland Volcano Update – Katla is Stirring

HISZ RSOE is reporting that there is volcanic activity at Katla! Things are moving very fast indeed! There is as yet no further detail, but I will update as soon as I see that they have added more information.

Edit – Approx 12 hours on and no further updates. Webcams show pretty good visibility.

Edit – Another 12 hours on and still no more news out of Iceland about Katla. There have been no more reported earthquakes on HISZ RSOE

Is it over?

New Zealand – Lenticular Clouds over the Remarkables

During my two weeks in the South Island of New Zealand last year I had several opportunities to photograph The Remarkables on the foreshore of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown. This is a wonderful location for landscape photography – not to mention convenient. One can simply wander down from one of the many restaurants before or after dinner, set up, get the shot and then wander back for an evening night cap – pretty civilised stuff and a pleasant change from hours of driving and hiking.

The Remarkables make a stunning back drop to the view across the Lake and the whole scene comes alive with evening light and soft cloud. I was fortunate to get one really good sunset with some lovely soft lenticular clouds to offset the jagged peaks of the Remarkables themselves. Photographed with the Canon EOS 1DS MKIII and 24mm F1.4L MKII at F11 ISO 100 with a 3 stop hard graduated neutral density filter exposure time was still only a quarter of a second (the setting sun is just out of frame on the left). This was pretty much F11 and be there.

Iceland Volcano Update – Is there about to be an Earth Shaking Kaboom?

In the past 48 hours there have been four earthquakes at the larger Katla volcano in Iceland. The earthquakes may be due to ice movements within the Mýrdalsjökull glacier or magma movement under the volcano. Scientists have been keeping a close watch on the Katla volcano, due to the possibility of an eruption triggered by the activity at the nearby Eyjafjallajokull volcano. Earthquakes are the inbuilt warning that an eruption may be imminent and history has shown that Katla usually erupts after being triggered by an eruption at Eyjafjallajokull. Historically large eruptions at Katla have occurred at regular intervals about every 50 years. Katla usually produces eruptions far more devastating and an eruption in the next 8 weeks could seriously screw up my travel plans. On the other hand, an eruption when I arrive could turn into some pretty special photographic opportunities. This is proving to be nail biting stuff for me…

You can view a live webcam of current activity HERE.