A horse logging team at work in Wisconsin

On what turned out to be an unusually warm day in January (meaning the lower 20s F.), horse logging enthusiasts gathered at a farm in Northeast Wisconsin to skid timber from the woods.

Several decades ago, this was not an uncommon sight. Today, however, logging with horses has been replaced by logging with enormous, and enormously expensive, industrial machinery. These are efficient for large scale operations, but they are not always the best tool for the job.

On a small scale, for a landowner who wants or needs to "surgically" harvest timber, big draft horses like Belgians or Clydesdales can still get the job done.


A horse logging team at work in Wisconsin

While the big horses put on a day-long exhibition of their capabilities, effortlessly pulling heavy logs through deep snow, up hills and around what seemed like impossibly tight corners, they provided a great opportunity to shoot with what would seem to be an unusual lens, at least for this subject matter.

Canon's 100mm F 2.8L macro lens is usually used for close up photography. It's also a strong performer as a portrait lens. How would it perform in the cold and snow while shooting working draft horses?


Draft horses

In short, it performed very well. A relatively new lens, it has already achieved notoriety for its sharpness. In use in the field, that came through, with images shot wide open at F 2.8 having a more than satisfactory sharpness. Shooting at up to F 8.0, the lens performed well across its aperture range. Mounted to the Canon 5D MK III, the lens was light enough to use all day, and focus was fast and very accurate.

For comparison, images were also shot with the Canon 24-105 F 4.0 L mounted to a Canon 7D. That combination produced images that lent themselves to much different look in post-processing:


A team of Clydesdale horses

In short, it was a great day watching some amazing horses work in the woods. As for the 100mm Canon macro, it has proven itself to be a very versatile lens.

As always, prints are available. Inquire at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..