Getting Used To A New (Rented) Lens

We drove out to Kaw Lake near Ponca City today to get some more dust on a new SUV and get some experience shooting with a new lens.  I advance of attending "The Great Smoky Mountain Photography Summit" I rented a Canon EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L lens and a Canon Extender EF 1.4 III.  I hadn't shot with this long a lens and extender before and though I would spend a couple of days before the trip to get used to using this with a monopod.

It certainly takes some getting used to, especially with a monopod.  The image dances around in the viewfinder when trying to focus.  I used AI Focus Auto Focus and a continuous shooting mode to try to maximize results.  I will want to try AI Servo Autofocus as well to see if that gives me better results.

I knew I would need some practice with this rig to try to get any somewhat decent results.  I might do better on the tripod with this combination for the stability but I thought the monopod would be more versatile trying to catch wildlife.

Anyway, here are the three best of the several hundred shots I took this afternoon.  The combination of lens and extender provides an effective focal length of 560mm.  Since I'm as quiet as Yogi Bear in the forest I still had to crop these images a whole lot!

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird