Photos – Silvereyes in Mindarie

Photos – Silvereyes in Mindarie

These Silvereyes were darting & dashing through the bushes between the beach & the coastal walk at the end of Rosslare Promenade in Mindaire, Western Australia.

Along with the Welcome Swallows & Singing Honeyeaters, I was literally surrounded by swooping & fluttering birds, amazing experience 👍

The combination of my 45MP Canon EOS R5 & Sigma 150-600mm lens allowed me to get some amazing shots of these beautiful little birds. Although heavily cropped the detail in these images is amazing.

Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia – Photographic Art
Canon EOS R5 1/4000 sec, f6.3, ISO 1000 with Sigma 150-600 f5-6.3 DG OS HSM ‘C’

I’m currently using the R5 set to full manual with auto ISO & I believe this to be an ideal setup for bird/animal photography.

Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia – Photographic Art
Canon EOS R5 1/4000 sec, f6.3, ISO 1250 with Sigma 150-600 f5-6.3 DG OS HSM ‘C’
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia – Photographic Art
Canon EOS R5 1/4000 sec, f6.3, ISO 1250 with Sigma 150-600 f5-6.3 DG OS HSM ‘C’

While my old 5D Mark II was fine for landscape photgraphy I’m really noticing the difference using the R5 for birds & wildlife. The animal Eye Tracking AF is a real game changer & the high ISO performance is also a big aid in getting the higher shutter speeds.

Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia – Photographic Art
Canon EOS R5 1/2000 sec, f8, ISO 1250 with Sigma 150-600 f5-6.3 DG OS HSM ‘C’
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia – Photographic Art
Canon EOS R5 1/2000 sec, f8, ISO 1250 with Sigma 150-600 f5-6.3 DG OS HSM ‘C’
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia – Photographic Art
Canon EOS R5 1/2000 sec, f8, ISO 1600 with Sigma 150-600 f5-6.3 DG OS HSM ‘C’

I know I’ve broken all the “rules” by shooting in the “harsh” midday light with the sun shining in all its glory but I’m afraid I don’t subscribe to the idea that early mornings & late afternoons are the only times to shoot birdlife. I like to see the colour pop and I believe the shadows give the images depth and a sense of reality over the flat and lifeless illustration type images that many bird photographers favour.

Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia – Photographic Art
Canon EOS R5 1/2000 sec, f8, ISO 500 with Sigma 150-600 f5-6.3 DG OS HSM ‘C’
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia – Photographic Art
Canon EOS R5 1/4000 sec, f6.3, ISO 1600 with Sigma 150-600 f5-6.3 DG OS HSM ‘C’
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia – Photographic Art
Canon EOS R5 1/4000 sec, f6.3, ISO 1250 with Sigma 150-600 f5-6.3 DG OS HSM ‘C’
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia – Photographic Art
Canon EOS R5 1/4000 sec, f6.3, ISO 1600 with Sigma 150-600 f5-6.3 DG OS HSM ‘C’
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia – Photographic Art
Canon EOS R5 1/4000 sec, f6.3, ISO 1250 with Sigma 150-600 f5-6.3 DG OS HSM ‘C’
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia – Photographic Art
Canon EOS R5 1/4000 sec, f6.3, ISO 1600 with Sigma 150-600 f5-6.3 DG OS HSM ‘C’
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silvereye, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia – Photographic Art
Canon EOS R5 1/4000 sec, f6.3, ISO 1600 with Sigma 150-600 f5-6.3 DG OS HSM ‘C’

Post Processing

All of these images are processed solely in Adobe Lightroom Classic with some colour grading, minimal sharpening & no noise reduction.

My next step will be to select the best images which will be exported to Photoshop CC for some additional tweaking, noise reduction in Topaz Denoise AI, and possibly a touch of ON1 Photo RAW Effects to add the finishing touches.

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Equipment – So I Bought a 600mm Lens …

Equipment – So I Bought a 600mm Lens …

I felt it was time to take my Wildlife Photography to another level so I bought a 600mm lens and WOW, what a difference!

Bird Photography - White-winged Fairy-wren, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
White-winged Fairy-wren, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia

Until recently I have focused more on Landscape than Wildlife Photography, I can’t exactly explain why as I have always loved animals but that’s just the way it happened. I have always had a 70-200mm lens which I would use to photograph wildlife when the opportunity presented itself but as a rule, I had my wide-angle zoom attached to my camera when I was out and about.

However, over the past few years, I have spent more & more time looking for and photographing wildlife. I guess the turning point was when we talked to Native Animal Rescue here in Perth about photographing some of their permanent residents with a view to helping promote the work that organisations such as NAR do to help protect & preserve our native wildlife.

Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo, Native Animal Rescue, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo, Native Animal Rescue, Perth, Western Australia

I now have the Wildlife Photography bug, my wide-angle lens is on temporary leave & I have been doing my best to get wildlife photos using my trusty 70-200mm lens. Needless to say the more I did the more frustrated I became, getting close to wildlife is not easy and having to crop your images too heavily can cause quite a loss of quality, even for my incredibly sharp 70-200mm.

So I started looking at alternative lenses to give me that longer reach. Obviously the Canon 100-400mm L II was an option but I wasn’t convinced that 400mm would make enough of a difference so I started researching what long time pro Wildlife Photographers were using. Guess what, they were all using 600mm fixed length primes costing a tidy $18,000+ and weighing in at over 3kg 😲
I’m not quite brave enough to ask my wife to let me spend that sort of cash on a lens just yet 😱

After more research, I also discovered that Sigma & Tamron had started to introduce longer & longer zoom lenses culminating with their flagship 150-600mm models. What’s more these lenses were getting incredibly good reviews for image quality & being at a much more reasonable price point they were an ideal entry into the 600mm club.

Bird Photography - Silver Gull, Neil Hawkins Park, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silver Gull, Neil Hawkins Park, Perth, Western Australia

Choosing the Right Lens

Both Sigma & Tamron have 2 lenses in the 150-600mm category with varying price points & features, although they all share a lot in common: f/5-6.3 / Stabilisation / Zoom Lock / Quiet AF Drive / Tripod Mount …
Here they are in price order:

My criteria for choosing one of these lenses:
  1. Weight: I want to be able to use the lens with or without a tripod and these lenses are not light so weight is very important.
  2. Image Quality: Obviously I want the best image quality I can get.
  3. Build Quality: I also want a lens that feels sturdy and well built.
  4. Features: Lens functionality is an important factor especially regarding Stabilisation & Auto Focus.
  5. Accessories: Not a big factor but something to throw into the mix.
  6. Support: I prefer to buy a brand that is known for good customer service.
Bird Photography - Pied Cormorant, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Pied Cormorant, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia
After much research, reading reviews, watching reviews on youtube & deliberation I decided to go with the SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens.
Here are my reasons based on my criteria above:
  1. Weight: The Sigma Contemporary was one of the two lightest lenses at 1.95kg
  2. Image Quality: The Tamron G1 (the other lightest lens) consistently came out at slightly lower quality while the other 3 all seemed very similar.
  3. Build Quality: All 4 lenses seemed to have good build quality with the Sigma Contemporary lacking in the weather sealing.
  4. Features: The Tamron G1 lacks a dedicated panning mode which is the biggest problem I could see.
  5. Accessories: Both Sigma lenses come with carry cases & straps, the Tamrons have neither which I would have a problem with.
  6. Support: From what I have read Sigma appears to come out top in the customer service area.
Bird Photography - New Holland Honeyeater, Gidgegannup, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
New Holland Honeyeater, Gidgegannup, Perth, Western Australia

This is not intended to be a review of these lenses in any way, simply my subjective opinion based on the research I have done.
There is a lot of information about these lenses on the internet, some of it very conflicting, but the one consistent opinion I came away with was that you would not regret buying any of them and the differences are minimal.

All 4 of these lenses are amazing at what they do, especially when considering the price point and the image quality they produce for lenses with a 600mm reach.

I decided early on that I would most likely get one of the Sigmas due to their better reputation for customer service & the fact that they came with a case & strap (a more important criteria than I initially realised). Nothing I read about the Tamron’s was enough to change my mind, which in no way says Tamron are bad Sigma just seemed to suit me better.

In the end, it was the weight that swayed me towards the Contemporary model over the Sport which is almost 1kg heavier and really not suitable for hand-holding for any period of time. I would have liked to have the weather sealing but you can’t have it all ways and I don’t plan on going out in thunderstorms or traveling through the desert just yet.

Overall I think the Sigma Contemporary model is the best value for money for anyone who wants to get into some serious Wildlife Photography on a budget.

Bird Photography - Silver Gull, Neil Hawkins Park, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silver Gull, Neil Hawkins Park, Perth, Western Australia

Initial Thoughts on Using a 150-600mm Lens

I’ve had my new Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary Lens for a few weeks now and you can see some of the results I’ve been getting on this page.

Learning to get the best from a lens like this is a journey, you don’t simply buy a 2kg 600mm lens and get perfect results straight up. There’s a bit of a learning curve on how to use these monsters and I’m definitely still learning a lot.

Little things like changing how you carry your camera & transport it are all new. I’m so glad this lens came with a strap & case which allowed me to start using it practically straight away.

So far I’ve got some amazing images that I could never have taken with my 70-200mm but I’ve also got a lot of duds. Managing shutter speed, aperture & ISO create a whole new challenge with a 2kg 600mm lens so I’m now watching a whole new set of youtube videos on the best approach to handling & using these beasts.

I hope to be posting some more articles about my journey with this lens so keep an eye out and feel free to ask any questions you may have 👍

Bird Photography - New Holland Honeyeater, Gidgegannup, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
New Holland Honeyeater, Gidgegannup, Perth, Western Australia
Bird Photography - New Holland Honeyeater, Gidgegannup, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
New Holland Honeyeater, Gidgegannup, Perth, Western Australia
Bird Photography - Pied Cormorant, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Pied Cormorant, Mindarie, Perth, Western Australia
Bird Photography - Silver Gull, Neil Hawkins Park, Perth, Western Australia - Photographic Art
Silver Gull, Neil Hawkins Park, Perth, Western Australia

Post Processing

These images were processed using a combination of Adobe Lightroom Classic CC, Adobe Photoshop CC 2019 & ON1 Photo RAW 2019.

Visit Our Gallery

Visit our Gallery at Shop 136 Wanneroo Markets, 33 Prindiville Drive in Wangara to see more of our Fine Art Images & Photo Products.

Also available at the Gallery are Greeting Cards, Magnets, Keyrings, Mugs, Scarves, Tote Bags, Wall Tapestries, Lens Cloths, unique 3D Printed Gadgets & Gizmo’s and much more …

Cheers,
Dave 🐾

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