A Small Bird, Falkland Islands
Fujifilm X-H2S, 150-600mm, 1/2000 second @ f8, ISO 800

I have had different people tell me different names for this small bird flitting around somewhere on the Falklands, so I'm not saying anything. And I'm sure some keen eyed reader will know the correct name, but I think I'll wait until I visit the Falklands later this year and ask Scott Portelli who is leading our tour!

What I like about this image is the blurredness both in front of and behind the subject. I purposely moved my position so some grass leaves were partially obscuring the bird, but as you can see, at the 600mm focal length they have been significantly blurred.

One of the aspects I love most about the large and heavy prime telephoto lenses is their maximum aperture: at f2.8 or f4, they throw the background and foreground severely out-of-focus, concentrating our attention on the sharply focused subject. Yes, I could get a similar result with a 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 zoom, but it was never quite the same. So I used to carry around a 300mm f2.8 (or a 200mm f2.0 for the Fujifilm X-series format).  I love these lenses when they are used wide open and I still think that if I can get myself into the right position, nothing beats them.

On the other hand, for lots of other photos, especially landscape or monuments in the distance, selective depth-of-field isn't really an issue and so I would be carrying a heavy lens without any benefit. And while the 200/300mm focal length is useful, it's not as versatile as the 150-600mm (equivalent to a 225-900mm on a full frame sensor). There are just so many extra opportunities these zooms provide and while technically not quite as sharp as the super telephotos, they are often a quarter the price and the image quality is still amazingly good.

I know I have written about this subject before, but as I packed my bags for Uganda, I was again toying with the 200mm f2.0 vs the 150-600mm. It was the zoom that won the battle - and it will be the zoom I take to the Falklands later in the year.

And the good news is, if you can get yourself into the right position, just as you need to get yourself in the right position when using the prime lens, the zoom can still produce a beautiful selective focus effect with some simply wonderful bokeh.

Some people have asked about the curved corners and how they are produced. Being a magazine publisher, I know my way around InDesign which allows me to create frames with curved edges, so I drop my photos into an InDesign file and export them as JPGs for printing or social media. It can also be done in Photoshop, of course, but it takes me less time in InDesign.

And a gentle reminder, Scott Portelli and I are leading a workshop to the Falklands from 30 Nov - 14 Dec 2024 - you can see details on Scott's website - https://www.scottportelli.com/falklands-tours/.