As I am typing this blog post I am on a 14 hour trek from New Jersey to Japan. While packing for this trip I was going over lots of ideas that I have had regarding my upcoming photography in Japan. I also went to over my lens selection–over and over again and am going to try a gutsy move this year. On all of my previous trips I have brought my EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens, EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens,EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens, EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens, Teleconverters, 2 camera bodies–EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera Canon EOS-1D X DSLR Camera . But this year I have decided to go lighter and try a different approach. I am going to try to use one main lens for most of the trip. I will be relying on my EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens with my Extender EF 1.4X III.
Why? Well, I used the 100-400mm with 1.4ex in the Falkland’s almost exclusively and I fell in love with it. I like the minimum focusing distance, the sharpness, the flexibility of a zoom lens, the ability to hand hold this lens also played a big part in my decision making. Anytime you are able to move freely and quickly when working with wildlife can be an asset. The only leg of the trip I fear I might be too short with only 560mm total, unless I use my 2x, would be for the Red-crowned Cranes. However, there have been many shots missed at the sanctuary with my 600mm lens as I was just a touch too tight. I know whatever lens I have in my hand will be the right one for me because I will make it work. You can never underestimate determination and I have that in spades.
My co-leader for this trip Paul McKenzie and I will be leading a Kyoto pre-trip before heading straight to the Snow Monkeys. I can’t wait to photograph them again this year. They are hard to resist; they are inquisitive, expressive, photogenic beyond words and extremely human-like. I often find myself gazing into their eyes trying to figure out what they are thinking about. Are they as curious about all of us as we are of them? Or maybe they think we are no big deal, just another thing to get accustomed to as they go about their daily rituals. Either way they fascinate me.
Wish me luck and I will definitely keep you posted and share photos when I get a chance.