Category: Telephoto

Levaillant’s cuckoo. Lifer. Photographed on a getaway, workshop near the town of Hoedspruit, Limpopo, South Africa. Amazing what one can see when making the effort, taking the time and being persistent. A bit skittish it seldom allowed me to get close than about 3 or 4 car lengths and it would fly off to another tree further on up the road.

Levaillant's cuckoo (Clamator levaillantii), Lifer © Harvey Grohmann

Levaillant’s cuckoo (Clamator levaillantii), Lifer © Harvey Grohmann

The Levaillant’s cuckoo occurs in huge areas of sub-Saharan Africa, preferring Acacia, miombo and broad-leaved Burkea woodland. It is extremely secretive and hard to find, foraging in thick undergrowth. It almost exclusively parasitizes babblers, for reasons not understood. Egg-laying is an elaborate process, with the male distracting the host birds, while the female sneaks into the nest to lay its egg. Unlike many other cuckoos, the chick does not kill the host nestlings, in fact they often co-exist quite peacefully. The chick stays in the nest for about 9-10 days, becoming fully independent 3-5 weeks later. – http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/

The workshop took us to Ekuthuleni Lodge overlooking the Oliphant’s River, some 23km from Hoedspruit in Limpopo Province, less than an hour’s drive from both the Phalaborwa and Orpen gates of the Kruger National Park. Offering thatched self-catering chalets and caravan sites, the resort provides great options for a true African bushed experience. Guests can enjoy game drives, self drives, excellent birding opportunities and the excitement of being positioned on the banks of the Oliphant’s River, with abundant wildlife to be viewed. The wonders of the Mpumalanga escarpment; the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck potholes and God’s Window are also within easy driving distance. The sheer beauty of the area and it’s abundant wildlife is a photographers dream.

A self catering long weekend trip (Friday-Sunday) starting from R7,000-00 per person sharing suited for couples sharing. 3 couples per unit. Discounts for groups up to 12 can be arranged.

A full week long itinerary can be arranged with visits to a number of wildlife rehabilitation centres, Blyde River Canyon, Three Rondawels and many other photographic opportunities; landscape, wildlife and people. Pricing from R10,000-00 per person sharing.

Includes: Accommodation, Tuition, Meals, OSV, Professional Guide, Guiding Fees. Excludes: Travel, Alcoholic Beverages, Incidentals. For a full package description please contact us.

GPS: 24° 12.766 S / 30° 49.091 E / Google Map Here


View Driving directions to in a larger map

Gear I use: Bodies: Nikon D-SLR’s / Lenses: Nikon, Sigma, Tokina, Vivitar
Filters: Hoya UV & Polarizing / Flash: Nikon Speed-lights / Bag: Lowe Pro
Tripods & Heads: Manfrotto / Grips, Triggers, Timers, Batteries etc: BandH
Editing Plug-in: Topaz Labs Noise Reduction, HDR, B&W Conversion & more!

ALL IMAGES ON THIS SITE ARE © Harvey Grohmann. Read more for Terms and Conditions:
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Nikon have just announced an updated version of their 80-400mm 5x telephoto zoom lens with Super ED glass and Nano Crystal Coat. It also has a revision of their VR (II, not the latest III) technology and a different lens design from its predecessor in further reducing CA. Whilst I can’t confirm this on Nikon’s website, others have reported the new lens to have weather sealing…?

Lens construction:
20 elements in 12 groups (including 4 ED glass and 1 Super ED glass elements, and Nano Crystal Coat)
17 elements in 11 groups (3 ED glass elements)
Due it’s IF motor it will now AF on all the consumer Nikon DSLR’s as well as the Pro-Sumer and Pro FX models.
DX D40, D60, D70, D80, D90, D2x, D2xx, D3xxx, D5xxx, D7xxx, D300, D300s
The reach on DX is an effective 120-600mm from f/4.5 to f/5.6 on DX. An ideal reach with an additional stated 4 stops of VR effectiveness.
FX D700, D3, D3s, D3x, D600, D700, D800, D4.
On today’s High ISO Low Noise sensors and the stated improvements of Super ED coated lens I’m keen to see the results. Even on FX it should be a useful all round lens for those who do not have the $5000+ for a prime.

03/2013: AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR2

06/2001: AF 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR1

 

 

 

 

 

 

To quote Nikon:

The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens is a telephoto zoom lens that is compatible with both FX and DX-sized image sensors. This lens features an extensive zoom range that encompasses both portrait lengths and long-reaching telephoto lengths to suit working with a variety of subjects.

The lens construction integrates one super ED (extra-low dispersion) and four ED glass elements to help minimize chromatic aberrations throughout the zoom range and also contribute to higher image sharpness, clarity, and color fidelity. A Nano Crystal Coat is also applied to individual lens elements to help reduce surface reflections and prevent lens flare and ghosting for greater overall contrast and light transmission. Built-in Vibration Reduction image stabilization also lends itself to producing sharper imagery by compensating for the effects of camera shake up to the equivalent of four shutter speed steps. Additionally, a dedicated VR setting for tripods is available for producing the sharpest imagery possible without countering the effects of the image stabilization system.

The MTF graphs look very promising & I trust real world use on today’s 16, 24 and 36MP DSLR’s provide exceptional results.

MTF Chart: Wide

MTF Chart: Tele

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brochure

Click here to see the full spec on Nikon’s Website and here for sample images.

Order yours at B and H Photovideo

Got this feller on the way back from Winterton on a side road off the treacherous R74 but at the top of the escarpment near the Oliviershoek Pass.

Contact me for tuition, workshops, photo tours and event photography.

African Bush Grasshopper © Harvey Grohmann 2013 All Rights Reserved

or the African Bush Grasshopper © Harvey Grohmann 2013 All Rights Reserved

Shot details: Nikon D7000 and Sigma 100-300mm F/4 EX IF HSM @300mm.
ISO-800 | f/7.1 | 1/5000s | EV -0.7 | Post Processing in part with Topaz Labs.

Gear I use: Bodies: Nikon D-SLR’s / Lenses: Nikon, Sigma, Tokina, Vivitar
Filters: Hoya UV & Polarizing / Flash: Nikon Speed-lights / Bag: Lowe Pro
Tripods & Heads: Manfrotto / Grips, Triggers, Timers, Batteries etc: BandH
Editing Plug-in: Topaz Labs Noise Reduction, HDR, B&W Conversion & more!

ALL IMAGES ON THIS SITE ARE © Harvey Grohmann. Read more for Terms and Conditions:
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“Wish you were here”
The sheer beauty and size of South Africa’s massive 1,000 km (620 mi) SW to NE mountain range, The Drakensberg, is stunning. Here are images I took recently on a tour of the area. The river flows from the uKhahalamba Nature Reserve near Underberg (Southern Drakensberg) and proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000. S29 22 59.988 E29 32 26.016

Contact me for tuition, workshop tours as well as event photography!

Post Sunset looking toward uKhahalamba Nature Reserve, Southern Drakensberg. KZN, South Africa. © Harvey Grohmann

 

Curiosity Rover discovers water on Mars! uKhahalamba Nature Reserve, Southern Drakensberg. KZN, South Africa. © Harvey Grohmann

 

View of uKhahalamba Nature Reserve, Drakensberg Gardens, Southern Drakensberg, KZN, South Africa. © Harvey Grohmann

 

The Dragon Hunter © Harvey Grohmann

The Drakensberg on Wikipedia

Contact me for tuition, workshop tours as well as event photography!

Gear I use: Bodies: Nikon D-SLR’s / Lenses: Nikon, Sigma, Tokina, Vivitar
Filters: Hoya UV & Polarizing / Flash: Nikon Speed-lights / Bag: Lowe Pro
Tripods & Heads: Manfrotto / Grips, Triggers, Timers, Batteries: Phottix
Editing Plug-in: Topaz Labs Noise Reduction, HDR, B&W Conversion & more!

Just got back from a shoot in the KNP. I stayed at the Sand River Bush Camp run by the Lowveld Honorary Rangers. I will do a trip report sometime about this magnificent secluded camp. Here is one of the images I took at the end of that trip at the Lake Panic Bird Hide on the way out of the park with my completely manual Vivitar 500mm f/6.3 Series 1 Mirror Lens. (Read my lens review here). If you want to join me on a photo tour to this camp, please contact me here.

African Darter (Anhinga rufa) - High and Dry

African Darter (Anhinga rufa) – "High and Dry" © HarveyG Photography 2010

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