Beyond Autofocus

During my last visit to Kalamas River Delta one of the most notable findings was a female Merlin. It was perched high on a tree and there was no way to get close to it. I took some pictures but I was not very happy since the big distance prevented me from getting the images I wanted. Since the bird remained on the same branch for quite a long time I decided to use the 2x extender in order to get some better images. In the old days of the 1D MkIIN I was using the 2x extender quite often. However in the last two years of using the 7D as my main camera I am not using it since autofocus is lost with the 500 f/4 and the 2x attached.

Since there was enough light I decided to take some pictures first with the use of Liveview for autofocus and then using manual focus. I closed the aperture from f/8 to f/10 and took a series of photos with both methods. Auto focusing with Liveview and a lens with a maximum aperture of f/8 is slow but effective. The results were surprisingly good with both methods and now I have my first decent photos of a female Merlin. The photo shown here is about 65-70% of the full frame and it can be easily printed in an A2 size photo paper.
The next time that you will find yourself in a situation that you do not have enough focal length available, keep in mind that you do have some more options in order to get the picture!

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