Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Bird Fair 2013

If I'm honest.........................

I am not a regular attender of this event which is now in its 25th year indeed today was only my second attendance! I find it quite claustrophobic, very warm and very tiring. However, my motive today was to visualise, handle and dream about new camera lenses! Having bought an e-ticket I found myself in the longest queue but was soon bounding towards the Canon stand. A very well endowed, delightful and very helpful young lady soon brought my attention back to my quest of camera lenses! I soon had a 500mm prime in my hands and was pleasantly surprised at its light weight! Next was a 300mm 2.8 - a remarkable lens! The prices of both lenses brought my dream half hour to an end, so I consoled myself by admiring two very nice endowments before picking up a booklet and heading to the Sigma stand! The 500mm lens and 300mm 2.8 retail a lot cheaper here but the male assistants were not as aesthetically pleasing! I now have a dilemma of which to go for - had I got £15000 to hand, I would have come away a very happy boy with a Canon 1D, 500mm prime, gimbal head and 2x extenders! Dreams on to my retirement pot!

Wandering around in a dream of new optics, representatives of the world tried to gain my attention. Those brave enough to engage me in conversation went away very puzzled! Why? My standard answer is, will I need a passport? Of course they say! Hmmmmmmm! Says I, it'll be two years before the government will consider issuing me another passport. Puzzled looks and why is that? You do not want to know, you really do not want to know! This usually sends them off to other (normal) punters!

It was very disturbing to hear over the tannoy, pleas for several dog owners to return to their cars as the dogs locked inside were in distress. Twats! They should have had their windows smashed and the incident reported to the RSPCA. Or alternatively, be forced to sit in the vehicles as the temperatures rise and see how the animals suffer.

I must say that the art marquee had some excellent work on show and ideas were gained for our small sales business.

I would like to attend the Rutland reserves more often, but access cannot be gained until 0900hrs. During the summer this means 4 - 5 hrs of lost birding. A special offer of a permit costing £25 and covering all Anglian Water reserves was available. However, I was still told that I could only access after 0900hrs due to "health and safety"! My reply of what happens after 5pm could not be answered!

Overall, I enjoyed spending three hours wondering the fair and achieved my objectives. Will I attend next year? Probably not!

I could've wandered to the hides but carrying equipment is not possible at the moment.

And -


douglas mcfarlane said...

One of the reasons I didn't go this year was because I knew that Canon stand would have the 200-400 with built teleconverter and my other half would dump me if I came home with that :)
I do have both the 300mm f2.8 and 500mm f4, I'm glad you said how light the 500mm is as many keep questioning why I hand hold it the only problem comes with prolonged use it can then "feel" heavy. In the past I had the 600mm f4, the x2 teleconverter works ok'ish on the 600mm but is pretty useless on the 500mm, you can use it but with varying results, however the 300mm f2.8 with a x2 teleconverter does work and is like carrying an even lighterweight 500mm prime. Don't think it as 600mm with the x2 on as at the top of the focal range (600mm) it can go soft'ish.
If I had only the budget for one lens I would opt for the 300mm f2.8 as it's very versatile with a combination of teleconverters-420mm@f4 with a 1.4tc,600mm@f5.6 with x2tc or for wooded walks or feeding station no teleconverter..great lens

Kevin Groocock said...

Thanks Douglas. It is good to get feedback from someone using the kit. Obviously I have to find the money and may go second hand. Interesting comment about the 2x on the 500mm as this is one of the set ups I would look at.

Central Birder said...

Hi Kevin regarding the dogs in cars, we had a stupid woman come in the Shoveler hide at 7.30am with her dog yestersay morning,I think the look we all gave her may have been the reason she quicky went away. Who in their right mind (A) takes a dog to a water reservior where they are not allowed? (B) leaves the dog in a car unattended in hot weather? Maybe a lottery ticket will asssit your dream lens?

Kevin Groocock said...

Some people do not think, Steve! A lottery win or my pension pot would certainly get me my dreams! I may have to wait another two years! How did you get to the hides at 0730?

Max Silverman said...

Hi Kevin

You are a bit like me and like to have a good walk round a reserve you visit.This is going to be a lot harder with a bigger lens and a sturdy tripod.The weight can be incredible.You may end up sitting in a hide for hours.

Kevin Groocock said...

That's true Max! I did like the 300 2.8 - cracking lens that works well with a 2x converter. Decisions, decisions! Good job I don't have the money at the moment!

douglas mcfarlane said...

Kevin I should've added I've visited Rutland and gained access before 9am, I know officially that's the opening times but at the "osprey" end I walked in at 6am (a small latch on the gate) and was warmly welcomed by the osprey watching team,I just paid in the way out, the top reserve was the same...don't tell anyone but I don't think they mind as long as you pay on the way out.

Kevin Groocock said...

Thanks Doug - will bare that in mind!

Mike Attwood said...

I've had the sigma pair for more than ten years now 300f28 500f4.5. they have both served me admirably over the years. Now at 76 I hand hold both, never use a tripod. They are the best peices of equipment I possess. A lot cheaper than canon.

Mike Attwood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin Groocock said...

Thanks Mike - I tried both Canon & Sigma at the fair and was impressed with both. I think it will come down to cost in the end with new Sigma v second hand Canon.

Central Birder said...

Hi Kevin

We just drove in to the red car park area & walked to be honest, via the back road, my mate Gary is there often at sunrise.

If you get a chance over the next couple of weeks I'll be in Galveston, Texas so hope to blog some shots etc, if you'd like to take a look?



Kevin Groocock said...

Hi Steve - the staff make it very clear you are not welcome before 0900, which is a pity. I feel like just going and taking the risk! I don't mind paying just the times of access! And now you have to buy a ticket and walk back to the carpark to place part in your car!

Enjoy Texas and I'll look forward to seeing your images.