Saturday, May 2, 2009


And They are Off
OK, so the title of this post is a bit vague, but be patient – all will be revealed in good time.  That time being now, the title 400 comes from the lens I used to shoot all the shots in this post.  Specifically, the lens is a Canon 100-400 f/5.6 L IS USM.  For those of you who don’t know what that means, the lens is made by Canon, it is a zoom lens with a focal length range of 100mm to 400mm, the widest available aperture is f/5.6, and it is one of the series of “L” lenses (the flagship line of Canon lenses).  The “IS” signifies it is equipped with image stabilization, and the “USM” means the focus is driven by an ultrasonic motor (fast and quiet).
So what does a lens like this do for you?  First, it drains your wallet.  This is a great lens, but you have to make the choice between buying the lens, and a small used car or maybe a even a mortgage payment.  It is fairly versatile because it has a broad range of focal length (100mm to 400mm).  Due to the longer end of this focal length (400mm) it is possible to get good tight shots at some distance from the subject, and finally, the long focal length can give you a shallow depth of field resulting in a sharply focused subject and nicely blurred background.  The lens is particularly well suited for sports photography (outside in good daylight) and wildlife photography where it is not practical or possibly advisable to get close to your subject.
I am making this post in part due to the promise I made to a fellow photographer who sold me the lens.  He was very complimentary of my photography and was interested to see how I would do with this “long” lens.  I committed to showing him the results.  I hope they live up to expectations.
Unlike my normal posts, this will be a presentation of the shots I took with the 100-400 lens with very little commentary.  Most of the shots were taken at between 300mm and 400mm.  Several are shorter focal lengths to demonstrate the performance of the lens throughout the range. 
All of the shots in this post were shot at the camel races in Al Wathba UAE, just outside Abu Dhabi.  Enjoy.
Camel Caravan Redefined
Contemplating the Next Race
Finishing Duel
Happy Handler and Camel Owner
How Many Feet Are On The Ground
Happy to be a Camel Handler
I still have a Chance
Human Hitching Post
Pursuing the Levitating Camel
Joe the Camel Handler and His Uncle Bob
Pursuing the Levitating Camel
Ready - smile on 3
Surviving Another Start
Rounding the Corner with Two Lengths on the Field
British Samari Camel Handler in UAE
Care for Coffee
I believe that with this post, and the hundreds of other shots not included here, I have sufficiently rounded out my portfolio of camel racing.  And now I am thinking about what shots can I get with the 100-400 lens that I could not previously.  The beautiful thing about photography is that there is always the next challenge waiting.  So in the words of the best president the U.S. never had (Jeb Barttlet – “The West Wing”) - “What’s next?”

1 comment:

  1. Craig - I continue to be enlightened by the detail you provide in your blog. Not only are the pics fascinating, but your explanations certainly have helped me understand the intricacies involved in getting the "right shot". Thanks for sharing mate and keep making me excited about your passion for photography.