So little time … and so little sun … but I grabbed some moments during Seattle’s first crystal days to break in the new lens. It’s four years in coming — four years of anticipating — four years of honing my skills on my trusty and tough 70-300mm (f4.0-5.6).

Now, my E-3 and I venture into the wild with a bit more heft and a bit more sharpness, thanks to the Zuiko 50-200mm. It’s a Zuiko mid-range — not quite the 300mm f2.8, but a lovely piece of glass. On my Olympus four-thirds system, the crop factor is 2x. That means the effective range of this lens is 100mm-400mm. I added a 1.4 teleconverter, almost matching the reach of my 70-300mm (140-600mm).

First impressions indicate I will now be able to:

  1. Have a sharp image without filling the frame
  2. Capture a moving bird against a busy background
  3. Keep 80 percent of my BIFs instead of 50
  4. Not wake up every bird in the tree with the sound of the lens motor drive, hunting for focus

This is obviously not news to anyone who shoots with nice bird glass. But, I’m glad I have a frame of reference for comparison — and some experience toiling in the lens trenches. (A friend recently linked me to a blog post: Gear Doesn’t Matter — Except When it Does.)

Seattle Caspian Tern Photos

So, anyway, I initiated the lens with the speed demons down the street — the Caspian Terns who take up residence each spring on a warehouse roof just a mile from our place. They buzz over a channel into Elliott Bay, sometimes returning with smolts, sometimes just skimming the tides on their way out, as pictured here. I haven’t yet worked the tripod with this lens, so these are all handheld.

Shot, for the most part, at 1/1250, f7.1 or f8, ISO320 to 500 — variable blue sky, clouds, partial overcast, full sun. Images cropped to about 1/6 to 1/8 of original size.

Caspian Tern in Flight in Seattle

Caspian Tern Over Seattle – ©ingridtaylar

The terns often announce their arrival home with smolt in bill … and the exiting terns vocalize in response. Hugh likes to say they’re yelling, “I’ve got a fish! Look at me, I’ve got a fish!” Of course, I have no idea what the terns are saying. I wish I did because the announcements are clearly nuanced, based on tern response.

Sterna Caspia with Salmon Smolt in Seattle

click for larger image – ©ingridtaylar

Caspian Tern Skimming Elliott Bay

Skimming Elliott Bay – ©ingridtaylar

Sterna Caspia at Smith Cove

Skimming on the Way Back – ©ingridtaylar

Sterna Caspia Dipping into Puget Sound

Submerge – ©ingridtaylar

Caspian Tern Diving in Puget Sound

Diving Puget Sound – ©ingridtaylar

Caspian shaking off the salt water over Port of Seattle backdrop:

Caspian Tern Flying Over Port of Seattle

Shaking it Off – ©ingridtaylar

And, a different kind of bird … Coast Guard chopper emerging from cloud bank and into the blue.

Coast Guard Chopper in Clouds

click for larger image – ©ingridtaylar

Related Posts on Terns: There is a Season … Terns | More Alameda Terns | Anthropomorphizing a Caspian-Peregrine Tussle | The Turns of Terns