Flight practice for me, that is … not for the Sandhill Cranes who don’t need flight practice. In the morning of Day two of my Bosque del Apache adventure, tripods didn’t make an appearance. Photography for me was all about hand holding the Nikon D5 and 500mm PF. I was quite pleased with the results and am very happy with my decision to sell my 600mm lens. With the 600mm lens, hand holding was not an option. Weighing almost eight and one half pounds, coupled with the Nikon D5 weighing more than 3 pounds, I could never hand hold that whopping 12 pound combo and come close to getting a sharp image. At barely 6 pounds, the D5 and 500mm lens combo feels effortless to hold and if I used my crop sensor D500 camera, the weight would be under 5 pounds. I am more successful panning to track birds in flight while hand holding than on a tripod so this change will be great for all my bird photography. Flight practice was a success for me!