Well guys, after two years of pinching every penny (actually that's 58 years) and thinking I shouldn't do it, I purchased a new 400mm lens for taking photographs of elusive wildlife that are too far away for my current system. The lens came the day before yesterday. It's as big and heavy as a small fat baby. What the heck was I thinking??? It is a beautiful piece of equipment, but I will need to do push-ups, chin-ups and sit-ups every day for the next two years to be able to carry this giant into the woods and marsh and field to capture all those birds and deer and little foxes.
Yesterday, I gingerly loaded up the new lens onto my old camera body and strapped it into the car and took a ride to Valley Forge. Not much was happening in my usual haunts. As I was driving along one of the busier roads, I saw a beautiful red tailed hawk on a low branch in a tree by the road. I really wanted to stop right there and put the lens out the window and take his picture, but I would have caused multiple accidents, so I drove a little way and parked the car. I got out, set up the tripod, heaved the big lens and camera out of the car and gingerly set it up all while keeping my eye on the hawk who was still sitting on the low branch in the distance. I looked through the view finder and - no hawk. He had flown far away across the field. Some days are better than others.
On my drive home, there was a little road at the edge of Valley Forge Park high on a hill overlooking lots of fields and woods. As I was driving I could see a few deer grazing at the bottom of the hill in the tall amber grass. I parked the car, left the tripod in the car and picked up my new fat baby. I walked to the edge of the hill and there below me, way, way, way in the distance was a beautiful buck. I raised the camera to my eye, stood with my feet wide apart and tried my best to hold it steady as I took his picture. (You need to click on the picture twice to actually see the deer.)
Hopefully as the days go by, I will figure out how to use this new lens. And I'll also find some wildlife close enough and willing to cooperate to ensure this extravagance was worth the wait.