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So, About this Wildlife Malarky...

I recall I mentioned in my post about the wildlife on Tiree - which in all honesty was mainly of the feathered variety as the hares didn't want to play and other than dogs, cats, sheep and cows the only other mammal you'll likely see are seals - that it was a little addictive and that I'd maybe consider looking at purchasing a longer focal length lens for the odd foray when out taking some landscape shots.

Well, on the ferry home I ended up chatting to a fellow photographer who had been on Tiree for a week of windsurfing. Peter was enquiring if I'd be interested in buying a battery grip for Anna's 7DII as he happened to have a spare he had no use for. As we parted when the ferry reached Oban I'd left my details and asked that Peter be in touch regarding the grip. So, to cut a long boring story down, after I agreed to purchase the grip Peter mentioned he had a Canon 'L' 300mm 2.8 prime (the original version of the lens) with a 1.4x extender that he was considering selling, and would I be interested..?

I've created a monster... Anna's 7DII complete with grip, 300mm and 1.4x extender.

I've created a monster... Anna's 7DII complete with grip, 300mm and 1.4x extender.

Now I was armed with such a lens I required a suitable subject to test it (and myself) out. I would never doubt the lenses capabilities but the person behind the camera is a different story. Would I be able to do this investment justice?

Having received the lens on Thursday, we were then heading to Peterhead on the Saturday afternoon to visit Anna's folks so I requested a brief stop at the Bullers of Buchan. I fancied a wander along the cliffs where there are vast numbers of seabirds showing off, nesting and generally breeding...

There are a few species to be found along the cliffs from the common Herring Gull, or Scurry as they are known locally, to Fulmars, Cormorants, Razorbills and Kittiwakes. Puffins can also be found in the area but I didn't see any... I did however capture a brace of Herring Gulls and a lone Fulmar. It's a location I'll be revisiting for a landscape session but I'll have the longer lens in the bag for any opportunity of capturing the seabirds.

Herring Gull (or Scurry) enjoying the breezy conditions.

Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Fulmar

So having had a bit of fun over an hour at the Bullers I had arranged to head down to Fowlsheugh at Crawton. This RSPB reserve can be found just south of Stonehaven and is another cliff site that teams with nesting seabirds. I was there with my friend Jason of Icarus Owen Photography as he is a keen wildlife photographer (and possible bad influence when it comes to buying photography gear) and knew the place having been numerous time before. There was a little more variety here as the Razorbills and Guillemots were in better range of the camera with the Kittiwakes busy ferrying clumps of grass and other nesting material to their nest sites. The Herring Gulls were in fewer numbers and mainly stayed on the wing.

Razorbill posing for the camera.

Incoming... A Razorbill decides to drop in where it isn't wanted...

A Razorbill mating pair.

A Kittiwake returning to its nest with a bill full of nesting material.

An incoming Guillemot makes an approach.

All in all, I'm very pleased with the lens and pairing it with Anna's 7DII seems to be the perfect combination. I'll need to try it with my 70D and see how it performs but after using the 7DII in Tiree and again since returning home I feel I may have to upgrade although I do like the 70D for my landscape work. I think my ideal pairing would be a 7DII and a 5DIII... The piggy bank says no though!

I'm hoping to give the lens a try at this Thursdays evening road race here in Aberdeenshire, weather and free time dependent, if I manage along I'll no doubt be posting another blog covering the race and will add my thoughts on the lens for cycling along with a few photos.