Mountain Loin / Cougar

This is only my third run in with a cougar, or at least the four legged kind.

I took this first photo, it was chewing on something, like a dog would with a bone.
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The first click, BAM instance eye contact!  I started to slowly back away and look for some kind of club and cover.  The cat got up and slowly started to work away and down the ridge.

I took the higher road, and tried to follow from what I thought was a safe distance!

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Once it got into snow covered ground, it walked across this log, thought that was pretty cool!

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It stopped one last time before bolting out of sight.  I was just glad it didn’t ever make a move towards me.  Can you image an old fat guy on ice and snow dodging a charging mountain.  I am guessing this cat was in the 85 to 100 lbs range.

Life is good and I am blessed!

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Winter River Otters

I have looked and looked for River Otters out in the Great Smoky National Park (GSMNP) and have never found them.  I posted an eagle a day for the month of February, and got behind in my other adventures.  I found these guys in Central Illinois on Feb 15th.

I was pretty sure something big was keeping the hole in the ice open.  I was guessing beaver, but there wasn’t any tree damage around.  It wasn’t long before this one must have ran out of breath and popped his head out!KJ5D0514-FrameShop

Less than a minute later a second one shot out.KJ5D0534-FrameShop

The second one the smaller of the two started to chase the larger one around.  I am guessing he was the male, but no way to tell!KJ5D0622-FrameShop

I think spring must have been in the air, because it looked like Otter foreplay!  The twenty or so minutes while I watched and photographed them I kept hearing Muskrat Love playing in my head.KJ5D0666-FrameShop

Ahhhh!  They were cuddling!KJ5D0671-FrameShopHowever the larger one looked kind of annoyed and put off, so she had to be the female!  It was the day after Valentines day and maybe he forgot the card, flowers and chocolates!

Life is good and I am blessed!

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Hummingbirds of Breathless Punta Cana

Found a few hummingbirds while on our anniversary trip at the new Breathless resort in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.  I took my Canon 5D3 for a smaller travel profile.  Shooting these little guys I really missed my Canon 1DX’s 12 FPS.

I paired my 5D3 with my new 100-400mm IS mkii.  This was a really small profile for traveling that had quite a bit of reach.

802A0171-2-FrameShopKJ5D0182-FrameShop KJ5D0185-FrameShop KJ5D0187-FrameShop KJ5D0188-FrameShop KJ5D0195-FrameShopI am not 100% sure but I believe these to be Rufus.  Does anybody know for sure?

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Thanks for stopping by, Life is good, and I am blessed!
Kent

 

Final Review of Canon 7D mkii and Canon 100-400 markii

So I have had the combo for 2 weekends / 10 days, and it time for me to decide.  Keep them, take one, or both back.

Canon 100-400mm IS Mark ii:
I wanted something lighter than my 500mm to hike deeper into the mountains and also have a back up to the 500mm.  I wanted a more compact travel lens that I would count on and not be forced to feel like I left something home going without my trusty 50mm. Mission accomplished.  The lens is extremely well built.  On par with the mark ii version of the 70-200 IS.   The lens focused and tracks well on both bodies I used it on.  It is slightly slower to lock on that my 70-200mm or my 500mm prime.  But then again I would expect it to.  It held focus really well.  The IS is very quiet and smooth.  A definite improvement over a handheld Canon 400mm 5.6 without IS.  The over size of the lens is shorter than the 70-200 and will be making a home in my camera bag!

Canon 7D Mark ii and Canon 100-400mm IS Mark ii combination:
It is like this pair was designed at Canon to be paired together.  The combo is incredible!

Day 1 Pheasants
Day 2 Eagles
Day 3 More Eagles
Day 3 Six Pack on Ice
Sharpness, Focus, Telephoto Results
High ISO comparison
Day 9 Eagles

One of my favorite Eagle photos came from this combo during my field testing.
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Captured under perfect light and perfect conditions!

This combo is perfect for sports and or wildlife.  I didn’t have the chance to shoot any sports with it, but it might be limited by the f5.6 @ 400mm on a game under the lights.  It should perform well on daytime games.  My keeper rate on birds in flight was higher than normal with this combo. I am accrediting this to the lighter weight and being able to hand hold verses shooting from a tripod and gimbal.  If you are looking for a really solid pair, the search is over. If you are coming from anything other than a Canon 1DX, you will be very happy with the performance and results from this combination.

I was also asked to test the 7D2 + 1.4 TC + 100-400 2 = 896mm.  This combination is a ton of reach for the money.  I did find it to be too much zoom to effectively handhold.  I shot it off my gimbal and got decent results.  Softer and slower to track.  Here is a sample result.

Canon 7D Mark ii Body
What got me interested in this body is a couple things.  First I used to have two matched gripped 7D’s.  I shot weddings and wildlife successfully with them.  I finally saved up enough to buy a 1DX for Christmas 2013.  Right away I sold one of the 7D’s and held the other one for a backup.  I never picked up my backup 7D once.  Once rumors of the new 7D2 were flying I sold my second backup 7D before the used market prices fell.

So I have been shooting without a backup body for 6 or 7 months and my camera fund had grown enough to start shopping.  My son upgraded one of his 7D’s to a 5DMKiii. I have really enjoyed shooting with his 5D3.  I was torn between staying fullframe and getting a 5D3, or trying out the 7D2.  So that brings up to the past 10 days and my field testing.

If this combo would have been around before I bought my 1DX, I would be owning 2 of them.  One gripped and one without a grip.  But I already own and have mastered my Canon 1DX, so I find the 7D2 a step down and the body will be returned.

The 7D2 body MSPP is 1800, the Canon 1DX MSRP is 6800. It wasn’t ever fair for me to compare the the two.  I was hoping for 80% of the 1DX for 38% of the price.  Dont get me wrong this is a SOLID body and WAY better than the 7D1.  I am blessed and can afford the 1DX for my hobby.  I will be picking up a 5D3 or a second 1DX if when the price falls.

I really hope people don’t take my review in anyway of bashing the 7D2.  I just don’t need a second wildlife camera, and really needed more of a landscape / portrait camera body.

If there is interest, I’ll do another review of the 5D3 after she arrives.  Hope the past 10 days worth of blogs have been worth your time, but I figured tons of other people are struggling with the same question: where is the best bang for the buck?

Conclusion:

Keeping the 100-400 mkii, returning the 7D2 body.

I would also like to take a moment to thank all my new blog followers and supporters!
THANK YOU!

Enjoy what you read and the photos? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!  Feel free to leave a comment.

Thanks for stopping by, Life is good, and I am blessed!
Kent

7D Mark ii and 100-400 Mark ii review: Day 9 Eagles Again

Saturday 1/17/15 was my last Eagle trip with the combination of the New Canon 7D mkii and the new Canon 100-400mm IS Mark ii.

Light was crappy all day.  I also was lucky enough to have a paid client that day, so I didn’t focus much my photography as much as making sure he knew his gear and his subject.  A few minor tweaks and he was off and having the time of his life photographing my Bald Eagles on the Mississippi River at Lock and Dam 14.

Anyway on with the review.  This will be my last write up before tomorrow big total review on which gear I will be keeping and if any gear is being returned.

Canon 7D Mark ii and Canon 100-400 Mark ii 

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Canon 1DX and 500mm f4 IS:

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I think this last image comparison speaks loudly.  Final write up later tonight or tomorrow!

I would also like to take a moment to thank all my new blog followers and supporters!  I think this blog had roughly 50 subscribers, and as the time of this post it is at 112!

THANK YOU!

Enjoy what you read and the photos? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!  Feel free to leave a comment.

Thanks for stopping by, Life is good, and I am blessed!
Kent