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First Official Outing With The 300mm f/4

Discussion in 'Macro, Flowers, Insects, and Greenery' started by Spectre, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. Spectre


    Feb 20, 2008
    Well, after working the weekend night shift, I was able to take the 300mm f/4 AF-s on its maiden outing. I was pretty pleased.

    From what I have read and seen, the only real area of concern for the 300 was the collar allowing a little vertical movement, taking away from the clarity of the images. A lot of people spring for the Kirk Collar which remedies the situation.

    After talking with my wife.... well, listening to my wife... the Kirk collar was out of the question, at least for now. Instead, I had a friend of mine modify the factory collar. What a difference... I will post images of the modification if anyone is interested.. just let me know.

    Jukka, Torben or anyone else... I had a bit of a difficult time identifying the first dragon here, hopefully I got it right. If not, please let me know...

    Once I started taking pictures of this dragon, he wouldn't go away. After I shot some frames and started to walk away, he flew in front of me and set down right in my path. He did this several times as well as circling me numerous times, even landing on my camera. In the end, he followed me back to my car.... kind of surprised he didn't follow me home.

    1. Bison Snaketail (Ophiogomphus bison)? Male


    2. Bison Snaketail (Ophiogomphus bison) Male


    3. Bison Snaketail (Ophiogomphus bison) Male


    6. Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax Longipennis) Female


    7. Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax Longipennis) Female


    8. Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax Longipennis) Female


    9. Western Pondhawk (Erythemis collacata) Male


    10. Western Pondhawk (Erythemis collacata) Male


    11. Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellual pulchella) Female

  2. Great shots Paul. Although I do have the Kirk collar for the 300 I'm interested in the modifications you made.
  3. Spectre


    Feb 20, 2008
    This mod is more out of frugallity than anything. At first I really didn't want to damage the original collar, but once I thought about it... if this didn't work, I could always buy a Kirk, so why not try and save $160.00. I know there are going to be those who have the opinion of..

    "If you're going to spend that much on a lens, why cheap out now and do this?" or "That doesn't look as nice as a Kirk."


    A. Yes, I spent a lot on the lens, so I really don't have a lot more to spend on a $160.00 add-on, to do the exact same thing that I have done.

    B. No damage or modification has been done to the actual lens.... so why not?

    C. When I'm out flowers, bugs or birds.... who cares if it doesn't look as nice as the Kirk as long as I am getting solid images?

    The whole gist is this... the collar had a design weakness, the weakness has been remedied. And it sure beats this...(click here)scroll down to the asthma inhaler picture!

    1. Collar mod



  4. tojor


    Jul 27, 2005
    Great shots Paul. I believe that your ID is correct on the first one. I'm impressed with the way the blue in the Western Pondhawk came out.

    Before I got the Kirk collar for the 300mm I used a cork from a bottle of redwine. It worked like a charm.
  5. Excellent shots, Paul!

    Ofcourse it´s difficult to say for sure as these aren´t our species but it looks to be an Ophiogomphus bison... By the way there´s a forum dedicated for Odonata, not very active but there´s still couple of guys very capable of IDing US-species, so if you have some un-certain ones you can ask here www.odonataforum.com

    I think your modification looks good and can be easily as stable as the Kirk´s. I remember to read the thing that actually makes the Nikkor collar weak is the locking screw/knob and replacing that would make it better. I even remember I read that some one is making a replacement screw/knob for it. I just can´t find where I read it... I do remember though that the Nikkor knob was bad and my fingers hurt when trying to screw it really tight...
  6. Spectre


    Feb 20, 2008
    Thanks Jukka and Torben,
    I hope the ID is correct on this... I was told there aren't any around here and that I was way off. I will have to check into the odonata forum, thanks for the info.

    The modification sure helped with the stability of the lens. Since there was no lateral movement issue, my friend chose not to make a cradle type mount on the top of it... works well.
  7. paul
    what a wonderful series
    well done

    love the setup pictures as well

    thanks for adding them
  8. That´s ofcourse possible that O. bison does not appear in your region... I googled a bit and found this one, atleast it is one of the species in Oregon:
    Ophiogomphus occidentis, Sinuous Snaketail

    There´s also atleast another Ophiogomphus at your area, an O. morrisoni, but there´re some patterns in it that don´t match the one you posted

    But this is all just a guess-work, ofcourse :smile:...
  9. Paul, thanks for the info on the modification. I have forwarded it to a friend who also has this lens and hasn't decided on the Kirk/RRS collar yet and he was quite impressed with the simplicity of it.
  10. Spectre


    Feb 20, 2008
    I posted these pics on the Odonata Forum, hopefully I will get a positive ID. The funny thing is regardless of which Gomphus it is.... It's not listed as being in my region. None of the Snaketails are listed for my county, or surrounding counties. The listing from our university that I was looking at, shows the nearest of these over a hundred mile away.

  11. Hi Paul!

    Have you got a positive ID yet? I noticed Jim suggested the same as I was, O. occidentis.

    I was looking these here: http://southwestdragonflies.net/swanisoptera.html#Gomphidae

    And I think yours is an occidentis. If you look the stripe on his thorax, it´s sort of a double stripe, green stripe inside of a black stripe, like here: http://southwestdragonflies.net/82TOP.JPG

    As Bison has only a black stripe and it´s wider too, seen clearly here:

    They both have similar 3 dots formation just behind their heads, that rules out lot of species here, and the shape/form of thorax stripe suggest it´s an occidentis...

    Thing it´s not recorded in your area doesn´t nessessarily mean it can´t be found in your area as it can also mean no-one have seen it there, no-one have looked... That kind of a new sightings happen here very often when people are exploring areas where odonatologists/enthusiasts haven´t been visiting before... So, you probably have found a new area for that species (which ever it is) and maybe you could try to locate where they´re breeding...And let the University know, if you found it as I´m sure they appreciate all info they can have...

    I´m interested to know how this ends, so please let me know if you got the ID...
  12. Very nice pics, I really like #8. Cool lens modification, i would not worry about the looks, as long as it works. Necessity is the mother of invention.
  13. Spectre


    Feb 20, 2008
    I think you and Jim are correct with the O. occidentis ID. I have been doing some reading and looking around and tend to agree with you two. I really appreciate your time and effort.

    If anything becomes of it, I will let you know.

    Thanks Tom,
    I'm not worried about the way it looks at all.... and it works great. I am getting a lot more clarity out of my images.

    Necessity... and frugality!
  14. Its been a very fruitful outing for u :) 
    Lovely images.
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