Winslow Bulls And The 5D MK III

To be honest, Winslow Hill is not the best place to see mature bulls during the summer months--especially with the loss of three of the largest bulls that used this area as summer home range, in the past few years.  With that being said, I did encounter two rack bulls and two raghorns on the hill during last weeks trip.

The first that I successfully photographed was a  6x6 or 6x7 if one counts a small sticker point near the right ear. This was most likely a raghorn last year and is now in his first year as a rack bull.  While very nice indeed, this is still a small bull for Pennsylvania.    I encountered him in a meadow by the side of Winslow Hill Road on Thursday evening at 8:33 p.m. and stayed with him until nearly dark, taking a lot of still photos and video footage of him--all with the 5D MK III and 70-200mm f 2.8 IS L lens.

6x6 Winslow Hill: Canon 5D MK III-Canon 70-200mm f2.8 ISO 1250 1/200 sec. f4
I was back at the same area at the crack of dawn on Friday morning, and again I had the 70-200mm attached.  At first I saw two rag horns quite close to the road, but I never did get good stills of them because as I was trying to set up a good shot, I noticed a large 6x6 coming out of the tree line some distance away.  I took two frames of him, but it was obvious that I needed more power, so I quickly mounted the 500mm F4 and soon was in action with it.  This bull was a bit shy and stayed close the tree line for most of the encounter.  This was very early and the light was somewhat murky.  I used ISO 3200 so as to have a bit of a safety margin against motion blur.

Large 6x6 Winslow Hill: Canon 5D MK III-Canon 500mm F4-  ISO 3200 1/160ec. f4

Both of these encounters are prime examples of how improved noise handling at high ISO settings and larger aperture lenses are a great aid in wildlife photography.  Again I stress that the statements I make are based on limited experience with this camera and are not based on tightly controlled tests, but rather on impressions gained under actual shooting conditions in the field.  The first photo today was of course taken at ISO 1250 and the full resolution file on a desktop monitor seems as sharp and noise free as one taken at ISO 400 or less with the 7D.  It is acceptable for the most critical usage.

ISO 3200 on the other hand is starting to push the limit for something that you would want to enlarge to great sizes, enter in a photo contest, submit for publication etc.  Digital noise is visible, although I feel there is no more than is present in the 7D at ISO 800.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

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