Katmai National Park, Alaska, 2015 with the new Nikon 600mm FL

After writing about my first impressions with the new Nikon AF-S 600MM F/4E FL ED VR super telephoto lens, I went on to visit Katmai National Park for the second time, hoping to find a variety of wildlife opportunities and to put this new toy to the test. In a small group of 4 wildlife photographers I was the only one on this trip without a long range zoom lens, and this was an additional learning point for me: if your photography is involving (very) mobile creatures a zoom does come in handy. However, funny things can happen as well if you don’t…

It must have been the first or second day of the trip when we were at Geographic Harbor and the bears were happily fishing for salmon. I was expecting the bears to keep their distance, which they did every now and then, but they also did come quite close every now and then. I had already added a 1.4 teleconverter on my 600mm earlier when this bad boy came jumping at me, spotting a juicy salmon less than 5 meters and an effective 850mm focal length lens between us (NIKON RAW data lists 850mm instead of 840mm, so I’ll just stick to that). If I would have had a zoomlens I probably would have zoomed out, but then I would not have captured this remarkable close-up with some serious amount of detail – check out those claws!


“Salmon Drama” – Nikon D4S, VR 600mm f/4E @ 850mm, f/5.6, 1/1000s, +0.7EV Exposure, ISO 640

A couple of days later, we arrived at Hallo Bay in the early evening, and similar to last year we had a nice sunset with several bears fishing, and a sow with cubs who decided to take a nap on a small sandbank. Still quite far away for my 600mm so I added my TC14E III teleconverter again. This is a good time to form your impression/opinion about the bokeh you get with this lens wide open…


“Water Sunset” – Nikon D4S, VR 600mm f/4E @ 850mm, f/5.6, 1/1250s, +0.7EV Exposure, ISO 400

The next day, back on the beach we were welcomed by the cutest, very inquisitive little red fox – actually these little ones range from red to black in different phases, and this one was a bit of a mix. Again, I was using my 600mm while this boy was walking around and it wasn’t easy to get the right distance between us…


“Hello” – Nikon D4S, VR 600mm f/4E @ 600mm, f/4, 1/1250s, +0.3EV Exposure, ISO 320

For some reason this little guy took quite an interest in me. When I went back to pick up my tripod (yes, the 600mm does get a little heavy after hand-holding it for more than 10 minutes…) he decided to follow me, stay at a distance of about 2 meters, and simply continued to look at me! Perhaps he had been fed earlier by others, who knows. It was a special experience nonetheless…


“Waiting for You” – Nikon D4S, VR 600mm f/4E @ 600mm, f/4, 1/1250s, +1.0EV Exposure, ISO 280

Somewhat ‘off the beaten track’ in Knak Bay, we found this grown cub hanging around at the rocks looking for something…soon afterwards (s)he joined mamma bear again without any luck in finding whatever was there…


“Look what I can do” – Nikon D4S, VR 600mm f/4E @ 850mm, f/5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 4000

The final image in this series (more to come off course!!) is a group of harbor seals we encountered between Knak Bay and Geographic Harbor. These funny animals were screaming and shouting while our boat was keeping its distance – it must have been close to one hundred meters yet it seemed to cause quite a stir!


“Much ado about Nothing” – Nikon D4S, VR 600mm f/4E @ 850mm, f/5.6, 1/1000s, +0.3EV Exposure, ISO 250

I’ll be adding more images as well as changing the structure of this website in the coming weeks…stay tuned for updates. In the mean time, for any comments or questions just reach out at feedback@fliek.com

All images and content copyright © 2015 fliek.com

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