September 28th, 2016

If You Own the Original Canon EOS 7D, please do not feel sorry for yourself. Dan Cadieux never did. Even at the higher ISOs...

What’s Up?

I spent the better part of Monday and Tuesday micro-adjusting my two new 5D Mark IV bodies with all of my lenses and TCs… Whew. Almost done.

Condolences to my former (and first) wife Dana Geils and her sister Rachel Bedford on the loss of their younger brother Brian Wenger on Tuesday. My two daughters, Jennifer and Alissa, loved their Uncle Brian.

Condolences also to the friends and family of long-time veteran bird photographer Tony Mercieca of Chula Vista, CA. Tony, who had been photographing birds for many more decades than I, always had a wry smile on his face and a wise-crack to go with it. I saw him in Coronado on my last visit to San Diego.


Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of the folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

Nikon Gear

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR Lens

Huge Price Reduction/Price Reduced $1000 on SEPT 27, 2016!

IPT veteran and good friend Mark Hardymon is offering a used Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR lens in excellent condition for the by far BAA record low price of $5999. The sale includes the original trunk (CT-607), a Wimberley low profile tripod foot, the original Nikon tripod foot, a LensCoat soft front lens cover, the original Nikon front lens cover, a black LensCoat, all other original accessories, and insured ground shipping via UPS. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Mark by e-mail or by phone at 614-296-2277 (Eastern time).

The 600 f/4 lenses are ideal for those who do birds and wildlife. This older version of the Nikon 600 weighs 11.16 lbs. This model is still in production and sells new at B&H for $9,394.00. The newer lighter version, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens (designated by “E” rather than “G” after the f/4) weighs 8.4 pounds but costs $12,296.95. Thus, Mark’s lens is a great buy for someone young and relatively strong who would like to save $4395. artie

The Streak: 320!

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 320 days in a row with a new educational blog post. There should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. Or not… As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.

Three great camera bodies cheap! Dan Cadieux used a 7D body to create all of the images in today’s blog post!

Canon EOS 7D Camera

Ed Hutchinson also is offering an EOS 7D camera in like-new condition for $379. There are no scratches, scuff marks, or other blemished to suggest the camera has been used. The camera comes in the original box with all in-box items as purchased (except as noted below), including battery pack & charger, strap, cables, documentation, and warranty card. One of the two discs originally included, EOS Digital Solutions Disc, is missing, however downloading the current software from the Canon web site is recommended as the information on the disc is now outdated. The package also includes David Busch’s Compact Field Guide for the Canon EOS 7D. The camera will be sent by insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only.

Your camera will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ed by e-mail or phone at 832-689-8111 (Central time).

This 7D would make a great starter camera body for any new digital photographer. artie

Canon EOS 7D Camera Body

Henry Raymundo is also offering a Canon EOS 7D camera body in excellent condition for $399 with an extra battery. The sale includes the front and rear lens caps, the original CDs and cables, the battery charger, an extra battery (as noted above) and insured ground shipping via major courier. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangement are made.

Please contact Henry via e-mail or by phone at 1-(303) 880-0424 (Mountain time).

The original 7D digital camera body makes an ideal starter camera for someone just getting started with digital. Be sure to learn to expose to the right with this body (especially) to keep the small pixel noise to a minimum. artie

Canon EOS 7D

Joseph Higbee is also offering a Canon EOS 7D in excellent condition for $299. The sale includes the camera in the original box with all in-box items including battery, charger, strap, cables, manual, CD and warranty card. Insured ground shipping via UPS to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Joe via e-mail or by phone at 253 846-1254 (Pacific time).

This 7D would make a great starter camera body for any new digital photographer or a great gift for a young photographer.. artie


dancadsnowy-owl-old-7d-iso-800

This image was created by Dan Cadieux with the old 100-400 IS L zoom lens (at 260mm) now replaced by the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and the old Canon EOS 7D (now replaced by the greatest ever value in a digital DSLR, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II.)

ISO: 800.

Image #1: Snowy Owl in snow vertical
Image copyright and courtesy of Daniel Cadieux

Dan Cadieux

Dan Cadieux, a Canadian federal government employee, lives with his wife Chantal in Ottawa Canada. He is the proud father of two boys and two girls and an avid bird/nature photographer in his free time. He is a skilled, hard-working moderator in the Avian Forum at Bird Photographers.Net. As of 1:54 pm on September 21, 2016 he had started 2928 threads and posted 20,903 comments. Many of his threads include one of his great images posted for critiquing. In most of the comments he is critiquing the work of others telling what he likes, what he does not like, and offering suggestions for improvement. He is an invaluable member of the BPN staff. You can learn more about Dan here.

You can see more of Dan’s old 7D images here and learn about his post-processing here, both on the BAA Blog.


tn_chestnut-sided-warbler_2462-1

This image was created by Dan Cadieux with the hand held Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS 7D (now replaced by the greatest ever value in a digital DSLR, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II.)

ISO 800

Image #2: Chestnut-sided Warbler male.
Image copyright and courtesy of Daniel Cadieux

Let’s not forget….

Let’s not forget that good photographers make good images with whatever gear they have in their hands. At a time when everyone is lusting for the latest greatest super-telephoto lens and the state of the art $6K camera body, the body of work that Dan Cadieux, our top BirdPhotographer’s.Net Avian Moderator, put together while working “only” with the much-maligned EOS-7D is beyond impressive. As we were saying, good photographers make good images, and great photographers make great images.

Even with the beautiful framing and flowers that this image would have failed without the perfect over-the-shoulder look back head angle. Please do not think that that was the result of luck. I know for a fact that Dan was praying for the bird to look back at him… Or not 🙂


tn_great-black-backed-gull_8625-1

This image was created by Dan Cadieux with the hand held Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS 7D (now replaced by the greatest ever value in a digital DSLR, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II.)

ISO 800

Image #3: Great Black-backed Gull eating mackerel.
Image copyright and courtesy of Daniel Cadieux

After…

Not too long after Dan added the 500 II to his gear bag he upgraded to the 7D Mark II. Though not as maligned as the older 7D, many folks look down their nose at the newer 7D. In the not-too distant future I will be sharing two collections of Dan’s amazing higher ISO 7D Mark II images with you here. Hold on to your seat belts; this guy is good!


tn_great-black-backed-gull_9029-1

This image was created by Dan Cadieux with the hand held Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS 7D (now replaced by the greatest ever value in a digital DSLR, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II.)

ISO 800

Image #4: Great Black-backed Gull swallowing mackerel.
Image copyright and courtesy of Daniel Cadieux

Taking Advantage!

When Dan came across a once in a lifetime natural history situation at Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton island in the summer of 2014–many hundreds of beached mackerel–he responded by making a slew of great images. It is not enough to be lucky, you need to be lucky and prepared through hard work, skill, and practice. Read the whole story, see more images, and find a link to the video in Dan’s blog post here.


tn_northern-flying-squirrel_6853-1

This image was created by Dan Cadieux with the hand held Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens and the Canon EOS 7D (now replaced by the greatest ever value in a digital DSLR, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II.)

ISO 800.

Image #5: Northern Flying Squirrel babies in nest.
Image copyright and courtesy of Daniel Cadieux

Facebook Follow-up!

Learn how Dan uncovered an amazing photo opp by following up on a cell phone image posted on Facebook by his brother and sister-in-law in the blog post here.


tn_red-fox_6625-1

This image was created by Dan Cadieux with the hand held Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS 7D (now replaced by the greatest ever value in a digital DSLR, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II.)

ISO 800

Image #6: Red Fox
Image copyright and courtesy of Daniel Cadieux

High Key Running Success…

To create a successful image here Dan needed to push the exposure all the way to the right to keep the snow white and avoid under-exposing the subject. In addition, he needed to choose and upper AF point in order to ensure sharp focus as the fox ran toward him. Missions accomplished!


tn_bufflehead_2195-1

This image was created by Dan Cadieux with the hand held Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS 7D (now replaced by the greatest ever value in a digital DSLR, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II.)

ISO 800

Image #7:Bufflehead hen.
Image copyright and courtesy of Daniel Cadieux

Getting Low is the Way to Go!

Here Dan was lying flat on the ground so as to provide an intimate view of this lady Bufflehead. Again notice the sharpness and the perfect exposure with detail in both the BLACKs and the WHITEs.


dcpine-marten

This image was created by Dan Cadieux with the hand held Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS 7D (now replaced by the greatest ever value in a digital DSLR, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II.)

ISO 800

Image #8: Pine Marten
Image copyright and courtesy of Daniel Cadieux

Your Favorites?

Please leave a comment and let us know which two of Dan’s fabulous images made with the old 7D are your favorites. And do let us know why you made your choices.

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right 🙂

September 27th, 2016

Mystery: On the Level? Solved...

What’s Up?

On Monday I headed into town early to have some routine blood work done. In addition, I visited Dr. TJ McKeon for some Active Release Technique chiropractic work on my right shoulder, left knee, and right wrist. Pretty much the rest of today and most of the day tomorrow will be spent FocusTune/LensAlign micro-adjusting my two new 5D Mark IV bodies with three different lenses and five different teleconverters… With Jim’s help I will be returning my loaner 5D IV/24-70 kit to B&H today.

Condolences (along with a few shed tears) to the family and friends of golfing great Arnold Palmer, as nice a man who ever walked the earth. In growing darkness in the parking lot of the Westchester Country Club in Rye, NY, some time in the early 1970s, Arnie stood and chatted with my friend Barry Cohen and me for nearly an hour after putting his golf bag into the trunk of his Cadillac. Arnold Palmer died on Sunday, September 25, 2016 at the age of 87.

It is almost too late to join me at DeSoto today for the Fall IPT but you can try me at home in the morning at 863-692-0906 or on my cell in the afternoon at 863-221-2372. It’s never too late! Scroll down for details on the late registration discount. Do consider joining us for part of the IPT or for the Sunday Morning (cheap) In-the-Field Workshop. Please call or e-mail with any questions.


Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending IPTs and dozens of the folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

The Streak: 319!

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 319 days in a row with a new educational blog post. There should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. Or not… As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.

Selling Your Used Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the yellow-orange tab on the right side of the menu bar above.

September Used Gear Sales Continue to be Flaming Hot!

  • In less than one day in late September Steve Zarate sold his Canon EOS 7D camera in very good condition for a BAA record low price of $279 and his Canon EOS 7D II in excellent condition for a BAA record low price of $799.
  • Within two days of listing Joe Alexander sold his Canon EF 100-400mm L IS USM lens in excellent plus condition for $599in late September when he also sold one of each of these: Canon EF 1.4x III and Canon EF 2x III Extender in excellent plus condition for $249 each within an hour of listing them. When he first contacted me he had them priced, way, way, way too low…
  • Yours truly, Arthur Morris, sold one of his two Canon EOS 5DS R bodies in excellent condition but for a very small, very fine sort of x-shaped crack in the upper-right corner of the top LCD screen, for $2549 in late September.
  • Doug Rogers sold his Vortex Razor 85mm Ultra High Definition Scope in like-new condition for $795.00 in mid-September.
  • Ed Hutchinson sold his Canon EF 100-400mm L IS USM lens, the “old 1-4,” in like-new condition for $649 and his EOS 5D Mark III in like-new condition for $1499 within days of listing them in mid-September.
  • Hisham Atallah sold his Canon 600mm f/4L IS II lens in excellent condition for $9499 in mid-September within days of listing it.
  • Good friend and BAA Japan IPT co-leader–the oft-honored BBC and Nature’s Best photographer Paul McKenzie–sold his Canon EOS 1DX in excellent condition with an extra Canon battery for $2299 in mid September two days after it was listed.
  • Eric Karl sold his Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal Extender in excellent condition for the full asking price, a very low $8,099 in mid-September.
  • Gary Meyer sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III in mint condition for $1599 with an off-brand battery grip in mid-September.
  • IPT veteran Ken Siegel sold his Canon EOS-1DX in excellent condition with several extras for $2899 in early September.
  • Roger Doughty sold his Canon EOS-1DX in “like-new” condition for $2,749 and his Canon EOS 7D Mark II in like-new condition for $1,049 both within hours of listing them in early September.
  • Multiple IPT veteran Phil Frigon sold his barely used Canon EOS 5DSR in like-new condition for $2799 within three hours of listing it on September 6.
  • Joe Alexander sold his Gitzo GT3532LS carbon fiber tripod and a Wimberley V-2 WH-200 gimbal head both in like-new condition for $799 within an hour of listing it on September 6.

New Listings

Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM Lens

Joseph Higbee is offering a Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM lens in excellent condition for what I believe is a BAA record low price: $1449. The sale includes the lens in the original box with all in-box items including lens case and strap, front and rear caps, lens hood, tripod collar, and warranty card. Insured ground shipping via UPS to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Joe via e-mail or by phone at 253 846-1254 (Pacific time).

The 70-200mm f/2.8L IS is an incredibly versatile, easily hand holdable intermediate telephoto lens. It does very well with both the 1.4X and 2X III TCs. When teamed with a 7D or a 7D II it can–for folks working with relatively tame birds–actually serve as your big lens. I use mine often in the Southern Ocean where its fast speed, f/2.8, can often save the day (or at least save a stop or two of ISO). Visit the very recent blog post here for an example of what you can do with the 70-200II/2XIII/7D II combo. artie

Canon EOS 6D

Joseph Higbee is also offering a Canon EOS 6D in excellent condition for $949. The sale includes the camera in the original box with all in-box items including battery, charger, strap, cables, manual, CD and warranty card. Insured ground shipping via UPS to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Joe via e-mail or by phone at 253 846-1254 (Pacific time).

I own and use the the “full frame” 20.2 MP Canon 6D DSLR. I love the camera for its fine image quality and outstanding low-light performance, which make it terrific for landscapes and portraits. While it was not designed to be and isn’t my first choice as a wildlife camera, its good image quality makes it fine for bird and mammal portraits. And if you can be satisfied with using mainly the center AF point, the autofocus is decently fast and accurate, so especially for large birds like cranes, it is more than adequate for birds in flight. Multiple IPT veteran and blog regular, David Policansky

Canon EOS 7D

Joseph Higbee is also offering a Canon EOS 7D in excellent condition for $299. The sale includes the camera in the original box with all in-box items including battery, charger, strap, cables, manual, CD and warranty card. Insured ground shipping via UPS to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Joe via e-mail or by phone at 253 846-1254 (Pacific time).

This 7D would make a great starter camera body for any new digital photographer or a great gift for a young photographer.. artie

Canon EF 2X III Extender

Sold in one hour!

Joseph Higbee is also offering a Canon EF 2X III Extender in excellent condition for $349. The sale includes the extender in the original box with in-box items including front and rear caps, the lens pouch, the lens case, and the warranty card. Insured ground shipping via UPS to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Joe via e-mail or by phone at 253 846-1254 (Pacific time).

As regular readers know, the 2X III TC is indispensable for my style of bird photography with all of my super-telephotos as well as with the 70-200 f/2.8L IS lens… artie

Mongoose M3.6 Action Tripod Head

Joseph Higbee is offering a M-3.6 Mongoose Gimbal Action Head in excellent condition for $450. The sale includes the head in the original box. Insured ground shipping via UPS to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Joe via e-mail or by phone at 253 846-1254 (Pacific time).

The Mongoose M-3.6 is so good that it is more than rare to see a used one for sale. I believe that this is the first one BAA has ever listed. I have been using the larger Mongoose (now the best-ever version, the M-3.6) for well more than a decade now. I use it to make sharp images with all of my intermediate telephoto zoom lenses and all of my super-telephoto lens including the 600 II and the 800mm f/5.6L IS. artie


marbled-godwit-preening-w-sleeping-willets-_q8r4800-fort-desoto-park-st-petersburg-fl

This image was created at Fort DeSoto with the hand held Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the EOS-1 DX (now replaced by the rugged, blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR with 64GB Card and Reader). ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the godwit’s bill and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Marbled Godwit preening in the company of two sleeping Willets

On the Level?

I was flat on the ground hand holding the 500 II when I made today’s featured image. I have no idea why I did not have AF active at the moment of exposure… I must have had the bottom of the camera right in the wet sand with my left arm flat on the ground supporting the lens. Or else I would not have created a sharp image. It’s much better to keep AF active in similar situations to prevent accurate focus from being thrown off by your own movements or your breathing…

I had a devil of a time leveling this image using the Ruler Tool and Image > Rotate > Arbitrary basing the rotation on the godwit… Why? In the RAW file the godwit seemed to be leaning well to our left while the sleeping Willet on our right seemed to be leaning to our right… And the horizon, a curved bit of shoreline, makes it look as if it still needs lots of clockwise rotation.

Mystery Solved, I Think…

This one was really bugging me so I kept staring at the image. And I think that I figured it out. Take a close look at the godwit’s ankles–don’t worry, they are visible but you think that they are the bird’s knees. But the two visible joints mid-legs actually correspond to our ankle bones. Trust me on that. If the bird were normal, the two ankles should be on the same level. But the ankle on our right, the one on the bird’s left leg, is already lower than the ankle on the bird’s right leg. So if we rotate the image to put the two ankles on the same horizontal plane the image would need a good deal more counter-clockwise rotation. Which would obviously be wrong.

There can be only one possible explanation. The godwit has a very bad left leg, so bad that its left leg is well shorter than it’s right leg…


marbled-godwit-l-preening-w-sleeping-willets-_q8r4800-fort-desoto-park-st-petersburg-fl

Image #2: I believe that this image is now correctly square to the world, i.e., level

The Correctly Leveled Image

On my second attempt to get this one right, I leveled the image based on the sleeping Willet on our right. The godwit now looks as if it is leaning a bit to our right, but I believe that that is a result of its left leg being shorter than its right leg.

Whaddya you think?

The Image Design

With three birds and the tallest one near the center, this was a tough image design. By placing the godwit just a bit to our left of center I feel that the elements of the composition are nicely balanced. I do not think that I could have done any better.

Whaddya you think?

I am expecting that we should have some good opportunities with this species on the Fort DeSoto IPT. See the details below.


desoto-fall-card-b

Fort DeSoto in fall is rife with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or early October. I hope that you can join me there this fall one way or another. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

BIRDS AS ART Fort DeSoto In-the-Field Meet-up Workshop (ITFW): $99

Join me on the morning of October 2, 2016 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive morning workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tours. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal registration fee. Your registration fee is non-refundable. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place one week before the event.


desoto-fall-card-a-layers

Folks attending the IPT will be in the field early and stay out late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are relatively short in early fall. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Fort DeSoto Short Notice Fall IPT/September 28 (meet & greet at 2pm followed by our afternoon session) through the full day on October 1, 2016. 3 1/2 DAYs: $1549. Limit 10/Openings: 6. Sunday morning ITFW free to IPT registrants.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds in fall. There they join dozens of egrets, herons, night-herons, gulls, and terns who winter on the T-shaped peninsula that serves as their wintering grounds. With any luck, we should get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher likely. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Tricolored Heron are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. And Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed, Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork would not be unexpected.

Folks who sign up for the IPT are welcome to join me as my guest on the ITFW on the Sunday morning following the workshop. See above for details on that.

On this and all other IPTs you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify and age many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

At brunch (included) we will review my images–folks learn a ton watching me edit–why keep this one and delete that one? If you opt to bring your laptop, we can take a look at a few of your images from the morning session. We will process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time.

As I already have one signed up for this workshop, it is a go. Hotel info will be e-mailed when you register. The best airport is Tampa (TPA). It is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel so if you are interested it would be a good idea to register now and make your hotel reservations as soon as you hear from us. We can, however, coordinate with local folks who opt to stay at home.

Because of the relatively late date, payment is full is due upon registration either by check or credit card. If the former, please e-mail us immediately so that we can save you a spot. If the latter, please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand to register. Your registration fee is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with eight so please check your plans carefully before committing. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions and gear & clothing advice a fairly soon.

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right 🙂

September 26th, 2016

An Oft-neglected Combo: 70-200 f/2.8L IS II/2X III/7D II...

What’s Up?

Jim and I had lots of action on Saturday evening and Sunday morning on our Fort DeSoto scouting trip. With each session I am loving my 5D Mark IV more and more. You will be seeing more amazing 5D IV images toward the end of this week. Jim did his usual stellar job of getting us home from St. Pete. After our usual stop at Publix we were back at ILE just after 1pm. Football and blog posts for me. With help from Tivo, I got in a swim between games…

It is not too late to join me at DeSoto this Wednesday for the Fall IPT. Scroll down for details on the late registration discount. Do consider joining us for part of the IPT or for the Sunday Morning (cheap) In-the-Field Workshop. Please e-mail with any questions.


Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending IPTs and dozens of the folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

The Streak: 318!

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 318 days in a row with a new educational blog post. There should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. Or not… As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.

Selling Your Used Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the yellow-orange tab on the right side of the menu bar above.

September Used Gear Sales Continue to be Flaming Hot!

  • Yours truly, Arthur Morris, sold one of his two Canon EOS 5DS R bodies in excellent condition but for a very small, very fine sort of x-shaped crack in the upper-right corner of the top LCD screen, for $2549 in late September.
  • Doug Rogers sold his Vortex Razor 85mm Ultra High Definition Scope in like-new condition for $795.00 in mid-September.
  • Ed Hutchinson sold his Canon EF 100-400mm L IS USM lens, the “old 1-4,” in like-new condition for $649 and his EOS 5D Mark III in like-new condition for $1499 within days of listing them in mid-September.
  • Hisham Atallah sold his Canon 600mm f/4L IS II lens in excellent condition for $9499 in mid-September within days of listing it.
  • Good friend and BAA Japan IPT co-leader–the oft-honored BBC and Nature’s Best photographer Paul McKenzie–sold his Canon EOS 1DX in excellent condition with an extra Canon battery for $2299 in mid September two days after it was listed.
  • Eric Karl sold his Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal Extender in excellent condition for the full asking price, a very low $8,099 in mid-September.
  • Gary Meyer sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III in mint condition for $1599 with an off-brand battery grip in mid-September.
  • IPT veteran Ken Siegel sold his Canon EOS-1DX in excellent condition with several extras for $2899 in early September.
  • Roger Doughty sold his Canon EOS-1DX in “like-new” condition for $2,749 and his Canon EOS 7D Mark II in like-new condition for $1,049 both within hours of listing them in early September.
  • Multiple IPT veteran Phil Frigon sold his barely used Canon EOS 5DSR in like-new condition for $2799 within three hours of listing it on September 6.
  • Joe Alexander sold his Gitzo GT3532LS carbon fiber tripod and a Wimberley V-2 WH-200 gimbal head both in like-new condition for $799 within an hour of listing it on September 6.

New Listings

Canon EOS 5DS R/With Extras!

Top BAA Used Gear seller Jim Keener is offering a Canon EOS 5DS R in like-new condition–purchased new from B&H in July 2016– for $2699. When he writes, “like new”, that’s exactly the condition of the camera. The original box and all accessories and insured ground shipping via major courier are included in the sale price. In addition a Peak Design camera strap, an extra Canon LP-E6N battery–for a total of 2, a Lexar 64 Gbyte UDMA 7 CF card, and a SanDisk 64 Gbyte Extreme Pro SD card are also included. The camera is ready to go. Clip on the strap, load the cards and battery, put on a lens, and click away.

Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Jim by e-mail or by phone at 310-741-7435 (9am till 9pm Mountain time).

I waited a bit too long to get my first 5DS R but once I did, I quickly added a second. I used each of them more for birds than I did my EOS-1DX Mark II. Go figure. I fell in love with the amazing sharpness and fine feather detail of the 5DS R image files and the AF system was great as well. It is the premier landscape body in the Canon system. artie

Canon EOS 7D

Sale Pending!

Steve Zarate is offering an Canon EOS 7D camera in very good condition with 23,000 actuations on its new shutter for a BAA record low price of $279. Included are the original box, one battery, the charger, the strap, the cables, the documentation and discs, and the cost of insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Steve via e-mail.

This 7D would make a great starter camera body for any new digital photographer or a great gift for a young photographer.. artie

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Sale Pending!

Steve Zarate is also offering a Canon EOS 7D II camera showing minor signs of use but in excellent condition for a BAA record low $799. It underwent the 18-Point Digital SLR Clean and Check at Canon Factory Service Center in July, 2016. Included are the original box, one battery pack and the charger, the strap, the cables, the documentation and discs, and the cost of insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Steve via e-mail.

Simply put, the 7D II is the greatest ever value in a digital camera body. It’s 1.6 crop factor is ideal for folks needing additional reach. artie


yellow-crowned-night-heron-juvenile-_36a9360-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This image was created on October 12, 2014 on the last Fort DeSoto Fall IPT with the hand held Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens with the Canon Extender EF 2X III (at 245mm) with the Canon EOS 7D DSLR. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/9. AWB.

Three AF points to the left and two rows up from the center AF point/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). See the DPP 4 screen capture to learn more. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron juvenile hunting fiddler crabs

The Oft-neglected Combo: 70-200 f/2.8L IS II/2X III/7D II…

Since I have fallen in love with the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and with my three (soon to be four) full frame bodies (two Canon EOS 5DS Rs, one Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, and coming today, my EOS 5D Mark IV) I have forgotten how deadly the
70-200 f/2.8L IS II/2X III/7D II can be in the right hands.

For those using big lens on a tripod it is still a great lens to have on your shoulder with an RS-7 strap. And for beginners and for folks who live and work around tame birds, this rig can be a pretty decent “go-to telephoto lens.” The maximum effective reach works out to be 640mm…

Basic Exposure Note

Let’s not forget that when the sun is out at full strength the meter is pretty darned smart. I needed only to add 1/3 stop to come up with a good histogram. Had it been a cloudy day when all of the evaluative and matrix metering systems are pretty dumb, I would have needed to add well more than a stop of light to the metered exposure. Plus three stops off the sand alone and then set manually when working in low light would have either been perfect or pretty close to it. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you can learn the basics of exposure theory in the original The Art of Bird Photography (now in soft cover) and follow that up by studying the section on Exposure Simplified in The Art of Bird Photography II (ABP II: 916 pages, 900+ images on CD only). Best bet: save $10 by purchasing the two-book bundle here.

Image Design Questions

Should I have gotten lower for this image? Why or why not? How would it have helped? How might it have hurt? What is the biggest advantage of staying on your feet?


dpp4scrncaptycrnh

DPP 4 Screen Capture

DPP 4 Screen Capture

After noting the selected AF point illuminated in red, realize that I was tracking the subject while it was standing more erect with its head up. When the bird stopped and crouched forward to strike I did not even attempt to change the AF sensor. Instead, I placed it on the bird’s upper back and continued tracking it. With the 7D II and the AF Grid Void issue remember that I only had three assist points with the configuration above–the one to the left and then two below and to the left of the selected point.

A Depth-of-Field Question

In this particular situation how specifically did the extra d-o-f help?

The Image Optimization and Clean-up

After converting the image in DPP 4 I brought it into Photoshop for the beach clean-up. The toughest part was removing the stick that was directly behind the young bird’s head. Actually that was not tough at all. I used a combination of the Divide and Conquer technique and followed that up with a series of small Quick Masks that were put on their own layer and refined with a Regular Layer Mask. Remember to zoom in and work large so that you can clean up the edge perfectly. My regular clean-up tools, the Patch Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, and the Clone Stamp Tool (sparingly) were used for the rest of the beach clean-up. Noise reduction with NeatImage really helped in the shadowed area below the bird.

Everything above is detailed in my Digital Basics File, an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, details on using all of my image clean-up tools, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, the basics of Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs, Dodge and Burn, a variety of ways to make selections, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.

Learn about NeatImage for noise reduction in The Professional Guide to Post-Processing. Learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair.


desoto-fall-card-b

Fort DeSoto in fall is rife with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or early October. I hope that you can join me there this fall one way or another. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

BIRDS AS ART Fort DeSoto In-the-Field Meet-up Workshop (ITFW): $99

Join me on the morning of October 2, 2016 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive morning workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tours. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal registration fee. Your registration fee is non-refundable. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place one week before the event.


desoto-fall-card-a-layers

Folks attending the IPT will be in the field early and stay out late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are relatively short in early fall. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Fort DeSoto Short Notice Fall IPT/September 28 (meet & greet at 2pm followed by our afternoon session) through the full day on October 1, 2016. 3 1/2 DAYs: $1549. Limit 10/Openings: 6. Sunday morning ITFW free to IPT registrants.

Call us at 863-692-0906 for late registration discount info.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds in fall. There they join dozens of egrets, herons, night-herons, gulls, and terns who winter on the T-shaped peninsula that serves as their wintering grounds. With any luck, we should get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher likely. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Tricolored Heron are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. And Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed, Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork would not be unexpected.

Folks who sign up for the IPT are welcome to join me as my guest on the ITFW on the Sunday morning following the workshop. See above for details on that.

On this and all other IPTs you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify and age many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

At brunch (included) we will review my images–folks learn a ton watching me edit–why keep this one and delete that one? If you opt to bring your laptop, we can take a look at a few of your images from the morning session. We will process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time.

As I already have one signed up for this workshop, it is a go. Hotel info will be e-mailed when you register. The best airport is Tampa (TPA). It is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel so if you are interested it would be a good idea to register now and make your hotel reservations as soon as you hear from us. We can, however, coordinate with local folks who opt to stay at home.

Because of the relatively late date, payment is full is due upon registration either by check or credit card. If the former, please e-mail us immediately so that we can save you a spot. If the latter, please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand to register. Your registration fee is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with eight so please check your plans carefully before committing. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions and gear & clothing advice a fairly soon.

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right 🙂