Story and photography by David Akoubian
SPONSORED- I have been an avid birder long before I was a photographer. When I finally started photographing birds autofocus was non-existent. Photographing birds in flight was just a dream, mostly I did stationary birds. As I made the transition to digital just after the turn of the century, I started getting my hopes up that I could photograph stationary and moving birds. It wasn’t until the past few years though that everything came together for me, photographing all kinds of birds moving and stationary without breaking the bank. I have been a Tamron lens shooter for almost as long as I have been shooting and with the new Tamron SP 150-600mm Di VC USD G2 lens, my work has finally gotten to a point where I dreamed of years ago. The original version of the lens was my mainstay for 3 years and I wasn’t sure how it could be improved, but Tamron did just that. The first thing I noticed when I was shooting was how quickly the lens locked on to my subject. The second thing I noticed was how well it tracked without any wandering or searching.
I shoot both Nikon and Canon bodies, mainly APS-C bodies for that extra reach to approx. 930mm, and the lens performs great with either system. I have found that the combination tends to work best for me in most situations when I use the Servo or Continuous AF and an Area or Zone focus selection. It allows me to move the area for compositional reasons but maintain quick focus and tracking. When I am photographing birds in flight, Tamron’s new Mode 2 for panning on the Vibration Compensation selector is fantastic and aids in the continuous tracking. Tamron’s VC Mode 1 is great for slow shutter speeds below 1/125th of a second, perfect for photographing stationary birds, but I tend to use Mode 3, which doesn’t initiate the Vibration Compensation until the shutter is released so that I get 4 extra stops. The edge to edge sharpness is incredible even when shooting wide open, although I tend to shoot around f8 for that little added depth of field.
With all the added features like improved edge to edge sharpness, the panning mode with the Vibration Compensation, and a new Zoom Ring Lock at any focal length, I find I am able to photograph often handheld without the aid of a tripod or monopod with great results. An added bonus is when I do need to put the lens on a tripod or monopod, the tripod collar has a built in 39mm plate to allow easy attachment. 20 years ago I never dreamed, only hoped, that I could capture the images of birds I wanted to, tack sharp whether they are stationary or in flight, and do it without breaking the bank, but Tamron made it possible with the newest Tamron SP 150-600mm Di VC USD G2 lens.
Tamron Image Master David Akoubian has been photographing for about 40 years and working as a nature photographer since 1993. He specializes in the grand and micro landscape. Having learned his craft from some of the legends of the nature field, his work is the combination of “old school” technical and draws the compositional aspect from his days training as an illustrator. David has been an instructor for 20 years as well, sharing his love and knowledge of photography and nature with students and camera clubs. David’s work has been featured in galleries, calendars, magazines and textbooks.
Facebook: Bear Woods Photography