2020.08.01

Surfing surf La Jolla Scripps Pier Nikon 500mm photography

The saga of the lens started about two weeks ago:


Chris
I... found one of those generic electronics houses on the east coast selling new-in-box for just a bit more than the used-but-perfect prices. I'm - of course - wary of internet retailers, but third party reviews looked good and I'm pretty confident my financial institution will go to bat for me if the need arises.

I was looking at the 500mm f/4g that was made from '07-'15, optimistic about a good deal on a lens that might be taking up warehouse space. Naturally, a week after calling to check on my order status, the retailer informed me that they had made a mistake in the listing. My options were to cancel the order or consider paying a bit more but getting the '15-now model for considerably below retail. I considered if it was worth it and if this might have been their play the whole time, but decided to go for it.

Nikon 500mm f4 FL ED

A couple days later I received the (this time) advertised product. New-in-box with all the documentation and wrapping. This called for a surf photo session.

DIY monopod lens mount telephoto carbon fiber

My monopod was mostly finished when the lens arrived, with the mount in hand I could measure out the final pieces. I need to clean the bracket up a bit and buy correct-length screws, but the whole assembly is solid and light.

Surfing surf La Jolla Scripps Pier Nikon 500mm photography

Since low tide was before dawn, I requested we hit a shorebreak like Scripps or D Street. We settled on north of the Scripps Pier at 0700 and found that the place was already pretty crowded. An hour earlier would have been better for light, maybe crowds, and definitely:

Nikon 500mm photography surf surfing haze dng editor

The haze just above the water was dense. The above shot is exactly what it looked like at the beginning of the session, with the histogram to show it quantitatively. Needless to say, all of these shots needed to abuse their histogram a bit.

Surfing surf La Jolla Scripps Pier Nikon 500mm photography

None of these are cropped (except the lead image), so while a couple of them could be tighter, in general 500mm is pretty good for a beach break. I cut the monopod to place the viewfinder about at my height, this afforded a decent perspective for waves that weren't very clean. In a perfect world I might get lower, but that certainly wasn't happening today.

Surfing surf La Jolla Scripps Pier Nikon 500mm photography

I opted to shoot near the pier to give the background some texture.

Surfing surf La Jolla Scripps Pier Nikon 500mm photography

While f/4 gives a nice depth of field falloff, the field of view can make for a neat foreground/background.

Surfing surf La Jolla Scripps Pier Nikon 500mm photography

Having used some pretty bad long lenses in the past, the optics on the f/4e are a breath of fresh air. Having been in the water for this stuff, the biggest difference with shooting telephoto is that focus and positioning are a piece of cake.

A gallery and some polyptychs...