Up in the Sky

I’m still playing around with the 7D Mark II and spent some time today calibrating the 400mm lens, which had felt a bit soft. I’d had to do the same with the previous camera and my method of calibrating is none too exact, though making the in-camera adjustments is easy. It may take me a few attempts to get the lens working to its maximum capability. That said, the settings are not too far off.

The first sequence (with the uncalibrated 400mm lens) is a sparrowhawk flying over the garden this morning, startling (but not attacking) a small flock of starlings.

sparrowhawk and starlings

The sparrowhawk flies close to the starlings

The starlings wheeled away. The sparrowhawk was searching, but not hunting. It hung over the garden for a while longer.




The next shot, of a helicopter, was taken with the 100-400mm lens.


Now a herring gull (I’d calibrated the 400mm lens by this point and was using the 1.4 extender).

Herring gull

There’s one other regular feature in the sky that is hard to miss. It appeared mid to late afternoon.


Moon before nightfall – 400mm lens

And it was still there tonight.


Moon after dark – 400mm lens + 1.4x extender

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II. Lenses are the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens, EF 400mm f/5.6L USM and Canon EF 1.4xIII extender as indicated.

This entry was posted in Bird of Prey, Helicopter, Moon, sparrowhawk, water birds, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , .


  1. Darko November 2, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

    As expected it is working well. What are you doing to calibrate the lens?

    • Words November 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

      Darko, there’s a setting in the camera menus for micro adjustment. Basically you line up a shot (tripod is useful) and focus and shoot. The settings go from -20 to +20. By using different settings and comparing images you get the optimum point. Ideally you should photograph a chart, but I just use something stable with edges. Slightly hit and miss, but with the old camera the 400mm lens was much better at +10. With the new camera I’m trying it at +7. I really need some wildlife subjects to test it on, so hopefully I’ll get a better idea this week.