Saturday, February 21, 2009
  So excited!!!
So I spent SO MUCH TIME agonizing over which lens to rent for the Costa Rica trip. I love the idea of getting to try a new, really nice lens out - and this is the excuse. :)

I ended up renting a 70-200 f2.8 VR lens from I went back and forth between getting that one and an 80-400 f4.5-5.6 VR.

For you non-camera folks, VR (Vibration Reduction) is Nikon's version of image optimization, like Canon's IS (Image Stabilization). This helps incredibly when you're zooming far away when any little bit of movement on your part can cause blur, and at low shutter speeds too.

I was worried that the 80-400 is basically a farther-zooming but not-as-good-quality lens as my 70-300. But still, I thought, I need the zoom. For the animals, you know.

I had decided to put in the lens rental request before I went to bed on Thursday night. At 3 a.m., I was still agonizing over it. Then I went to my old Costa Rica pictures and realized that I didn't need MORE ZOOM; I just needed a faster shutter speed (and therefore lower aperture) because all my pics were pretty close (under 200mm) but blurry due to the darkness of the forest.

This, for example, was taken at 110mm, 1/60, f5:


It's not so blurry (it's the only one I got that wasn't), but could've been so much better with a lower aperture.

Even this one was only taken at 180mm:


f5.6, shutter 1/50. (Let me just say that without the VR, this picture would not have been as clear at 1/50. Yay, VR!)

So, the 70-200 2.8 will (hopefully) be perfect! I considered getting a teleconverter, but with shipping it would've been an extra $60, and I really probably won't need it. I mean, there were things last time I couldn't get pictures of because they were too far away - like the sloths and the howler monkeys WAY UP in the trees. But they are so far away that even a 400mm zoom isn't going to help me. You can get passable pictures if you use that much zoom, but they're not good... so why bother?

Like this one, which was taken at my full available 300mm and cropped:
sloth n baby

I'd need a lot more than 400mm reach to get a good picture of the sloths. And those lenses, even to rent, are far out of my budget.

The way it is, I am paying $163 for a two-week rental. The lens is nearly $2,000 to buy, so I am very happy with this whole renting thing. :)

I kinda feel / hope that my photography has improved since we took that vacation a little over a year ago. I hope I still feel that way when I get back!!

My lens should be here Wednesday or so. The only problem is that I'm worried I won't want to send it back when my vacation is over...!
can you give me photography lessons? hehehe I think those pictures are great. I totally can't remember anything from Graphic Arts in highschool so I'm probably gonna need to get a book to refresh my memory on all this stuff now that I'm gonna have a really nice camera.

i'd much rather have the f/2.8 too, but tonight i was wandering the mostly-barren halls of circuit city and found a 70-300 that was like the very last nikon lens they had, display model, but in great shape, that i picked up for $300. yay! it looks ridiculous on my little d40, but whatever.
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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