Big telephoto lenses can magnify birds that are too easily spooked to photograph up close. Here, a California quail — California's state bird — shows off his distinctive plume at Point Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco.
The massive objective lens at the business end of Canon's 600mm supertelephoto lens will draw stares from curious passersby. But even a lens this size — it's about 2 feet long with its protective lens hood attached — can't magnify tiny or distant birds as much as a photographer would like.
Four ducks are silhouetted against the sun, complete with a handful of sunspots, rising over the San Francisco Bay. This shot illustrates just how much reach you can get with a 600mm telephoto lens with a 1.4x extender.
Common murre roost by the thousand on the Farallon Islands 32 miles west of San Francisco. It's not a sight you'll see on the mainland, where foxes, coyotes, cats, rats and other predators eat birds and eggs.
CNET reporter Stephen Shankland photographing birds on San Francisco Bay with a Canon 5D Mark IV camera, Canon EF 1.4x III teleconverter, Canon EF 600mm F4/L IS II lens, Gitzo tripod, and Wimberley WH200 tripod head.