Last year I bought a teleconverter to use with my Nikon 500mm prime lens. To non-photographers that’s a device which extends my 500mm lens by 1.4x effectively  turning it into a 700mm lens.

When I first bought it I was disappointed. There is definitely a loss in quality especially when the light is dodgy. But then again, I love my Nikon 500mm prime.  

On the other hand the teleconverter  brings my subject in closer than ever. That’s a benefit.

The past month I have been trying out it out again on a variety of species and, have now changed my mind. I can maintain distance but still get some decent images.  There are many pairs of Sandhill Cranes out in the open fields. Here is a pair foraging with a colt (young crane). They generally keep well away from the roads to protect the little one. The extra reach allowed me to capture a few images.

There have been a pair of green herons fishing on a pond just outside Cambridge. Most evenings I see them. If I am lucky they are close enough to observe. These are small, colourful wading birds that feed on small fish. Generally, they keep away from the noise of traffic.


A couple of days ago I spotted a young red-tailed hawk perched nervously on a grain silo. It’s an odd place for a hawk to hang out and more so because there is a bald eagle nest less than one hundred metres away. That’s what caught my attention.

Since I have heard – but not seen – two eaglets in that nest I doubt that any sane bird would want to be near the nest. Those adult eagles will be protective.

The hawk flew into a tree and then, realizing it had actually gone closer to the nest, flew away to another location – a tall pine.

I continued my journey through this farmland and thirty minutes later when I arrived back at the spot I was amazed to see the hawk was still in the tree.  Storm clouds appeared and yet there was some nice sunlight behind me. Since I don’t have permission to go into that field I remained on the road a few hundred metres away and just watched. I wanted to see where else this young raptor might find comfort – intel for a future outing!

Suddenly the hawk took off and, to my delight, flew right towards me passing overhead. it looked at me the whole time! Curious, maybe? 

Speaking of the bald eagle nest. When I drive past the area surrounding it I always slow down and listen. The nest is obscured by tree branches and foliage. But sometimes I can hear the young ones calling out for food. And on occasion, if the wind allows the leaves to be still, a gap appears and I can sometimes see the adults perched together on a branch away from the nest. I’m guessing they enjoy a break from their demanding offspring. From this vantage point I am almost eye level with the eagles.

Although I spend a fair amount of time photographing birds of prey I really enjoy  four legged predators. To see wolves, bears and moose though I would need to drive a few hours north.  Around here there is a healthy coyote population and I have been on the lookout for them. Since February I have come across coyotes about ten times.  Last night I was fortunate to see one very close.

Many of the fields have corn growing in them and I have noticed the coyotes seem to avoid these preferring the field with grass. One of the local residents whose property was close to this open field, told me he has seen coyotes coming down the line between the corn fields and the grass. So, I am wondering if the coyote perhaps heard my car and was waiting to cross into the grass covered field opposite.

A half hour later I was completing a lap of those fields when I saw the coyote again. It came out of the woods and then quickly disappeared when it saw me. Nevertheless, I was pleased with the results of my earlier encounter.

I am glad I didn’t chuck this teleconverter into a lake which was my initial reaction. There is a use for it after all.




  1. Pat Bruce

    Hi Paul:
    You are such a professional photographer but you are also a really good story teller with your photos. Thanks so much for your great e-mails. As soon as I see there is a email from you I sit right down and see it all. Enjoy them so much.

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