Super Telephoto: My Experience with the Tamron 150-600

I never used to be a big telephoto user until I started traveling to National Parks, and began capturing the wildlife.  When I went to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in 2013, I rented a Canon 100-400, but I was disappointed with it.  The following year I rented a Tamron 150-600 to take to Yosemite National Park.  I thought the lens performed nicely (although I didn't see much wildlife in Yosemite), so I ended up getting one of my own several months later.  Here are some of my favorite photos with this super telephoto lens.

A Gorilla Lost in Thought

It should come as no surprise that the 150-600 is a great lens for zoo photography.  While not exactly a traditional zoo, Disney's Animal Kingdom has plenty of animals to photograph.

A Rhinoceros Mosies Along

A Cotton-Top Tamarind Ponders Life

Backyard Bunny

I've also used this lens to photograph backyard wildlife!  This little bunny would have been scared away if I had used a tighter lens and gotten up close but he barely noticed me far away (and indoors) with my telephoto.  The bird family below actually built a nest in a wreath on my front door.

Birds of a Feather

In Flight

Hummingbird photos require manual focus!  I just did a "spray and pray" here while adjusting the focus in between each shot.  This is essentially the only useable shot I got.

Mama and Baby Goat Take a Walk

I was so glad to have a chance to photograph mountain goats at Glacier National Park.

This little guy was pretty far away but he filled the frame just fine!

What's He Thinking About?The coveted grizzly bear sighting in Banff, Alberta.  If you're not using a telephoto lens for this, you're doing it wrong!

For a number of obvious reasons, a telephoto lens is a necessity for wildlife photography.  That being said, I am really enjoying the other great things you can do with a lens like this, such as really zoom in on a scene and compress it.  I took the photo above of the town of Banff, Alberta, from a lookout on Mt. Norquay.  The photo below of the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton Lakes National Park was taken from across the lake.  I actually like it better than the close up photo I took of it.

An iconic view of the Fairmont Ch√Ęteau Lake Louise from the gondola offered me the opportunity to zoom in and capture the hotel and the lake in one shot.

Opening Day Turf Race

I really enjoyed using this lens at the Saratoga Race Course this summer.  I can now capture photos of the race that don't require the horses to be running right past me.
Golden Light on the Horses and Riders

I also took the lens to the Oklahoma Training track to capture some sunrise photos of the horses and riders.  I was very pleased with the results.  This isn't exactly a low-light lens, but once the sun starts coming up it works just fine.

Action Polo Shot

I got some neat shots stretching all the way across the polo field at a polo match in Saratoga.

House in the Hills

Photographing fall foliage in Stockbridge, VT, I used the lens to isolate the foliage from its surroundings.

The above photo (as well as the very top photo) is actually one of the few photos I took with my rental copy of the lens.  This is a sunset on Lake Tahoe.  I didn't spend a lot of time at Lake Tahoe, so I wanted to use a variety of different lenses to come away with more photo opportunities.

I personally think this lens is the perfect telephoto for someone on a budget who wants both quality and range.  Although it's hand-holdable, it's pretty big and bulky and not a whole lot of fun to take on a hike.  That being said, the photos you'll get will make it worth it.  I use it with my full frame camera and my crop sensor camera for when I want to make it reach further.  If you're a photographer, do you use a telephoto lens?


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