September 30th, 2016

A Whole New World: 500 II + 2XIII TC + 5D Mark IV...

What’s Up?

On Thursday we had a great day (even with wind against sun in the morning). We endured the threat of thunderstorms pretty much all day long but escaped unscathed. As the skies got black toward sunset we beat a hasty retreat and as we headed back to the hotel it poured. It is 9:06pm now and I am off the bed. So good night and good morning.

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.


The Streak: 322!

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, 322 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.


short-billed-dowitcher-preening-_w5a2401-fort-desoto-county-park-fl

This image was created on the first afternoon of the Fort DeSoto Fall IPT with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/500 sec. at f/9. Daylight WB.

I selected a single AF point that was three to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was squarely on the base of the bird’s bill. The optimized image is a small crop from our left and above.

LensAlign FocusTune AF micro-adjustment: -5.

Short-billed Dowitcher/adult preening with tail splayed

A Whole New World: 500 II + 2XIII TC + 5D Mark IV…

I decided a while back to leave the 600 II at home and take the 500 II to South America to save weight and to help keep my right shoulder in the great shape it is now. Plus it is way easier to travel with the 500 II than it is to travel with the far bulkier 600 II. So I committed to using the 500 II as my long tripod-mounted super-telephoto on the DeSoto Fall IPT. As compared to the 600 II, its smaller size and lighter weight makes it exponentially easier to get into position. With the 5d IV AF is fast and sure and stable.

LensAlign/Focus Tune Micro-adjusting

LensAlign/Focus Tune micro-adjusting is a pain in the butt. I recently spent well more than two full days doing all of my lenses and TCs with my two new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV bodies. My time was well spent. The breathtakingly sharp images that I am producing made all of that time spent dealing with the sometime huge challenges that come with micro-adjusting beyond well worth it.

A Realization

When trying to figure out the reasons that I have long been able to create super-sharp photographs such as today’s featured image with the 2X TCs and f/4 super-telephoto lenses while others have struggled mightily one factor that pops into mind is the fact that I have been micro-adjusting (MA-ing) my gear ever since LensAlign and FocusTune came into being. Here’s the key: the MA values with TCs are generally greater than the MA values with the prime lenses alone and the MA values with the 2X TCs are generally greater then the MA values with the 1.4X TCs. Fact: the longer the effective focal length, the harder it is to come up with a good MA value… So add perfect sharpness techniques to a lens/TC/body combo that has been accurately FocusTuned and the sharpness can be astounding.

An Interesting Pat Sparkman Thought on the 500 II versus the 600 II

My friend Patrick Sparkman, a brilliant photographer who is far more technically proficient than yours truly, has long reasoned that dropping down from the 600 II to the 500 II will allow you to create sharper images, images that when cropped to the same subject size as images made with the 600 will be at least as sharp if not sharper… I am now in the process of proving that to be true.


short-billed-dow100pct-crop

100% crop of today’s featured image

100% Crop of Today’s Featured Image

When exposed well to the right high ISO images from the 5D Mark IV can be virtually noise free. The only noise reduction applied to today’s image was done during the RAW conversion in DPP 4. The image file was so clean that I did not even consider running NeatImage on it. Remarkable indeed.

Your Thoughts?

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think of the fine feather detail and noise levels in today’s ISO 1600 featured image.

If…

If the images you are seeing here on the blog and what you are reading inspires or prompts you to purchase a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, please consider using my B&H affiliate link. Doing so will not cost you one penny and is the best way to thank me for my efforts here on the blog and the time spent answering your gear and photo related questions via e-mail.

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 29th, 2016

Fort DeSoto Fall IPT Gets off to a Magical but Fishy Start. 5D Mark IV ISO 3200...

What’s Up?

It is almost 9pm on Wednesday evening as I type. I woke at 2:56am this morning, finished 2 1/2 days of micro-adjusting my two new 5D IV bodies with four lenses and five different teleconverters… I swam a half mile at 9:30 and drove across the state arriving at the IPT hotel at 1:30pm. I met the group at 2pm and we headed out at three. No nap!

Ed Hutchinson sold three of the four items he listed in less than a day and so did Joseph Higbee!


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.

New Listing

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV

Zach Zacharias is offering a used Canon EOS1D Mark IV in excellent condition for a BAA record low $1,349.00. The sale includes the camera body with front cap, the battery charger with the original plus one extra battery, the manuals and CDs, the original straps, all the cables, and UPS insured ground and insured. Your item will not be shipped until your check clears.

Please contact Zach via e-mail.

Two 1D Mark IVs served as my workhorse camera bodies for more than four years. The 1.3crop factor allows for extra reach in a fast, rugged pro body. Zach’s 1D IV is priced to sell. artie

The Streak: 321!

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, 321 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.


great-blue-heron-with-saltwater-catfish-_w5a2762-fort-desoto-county-park-fl

This image was created on the first afternoon of the Fort DeSoto Fall IPT with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 3200. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/800 sec. at f/9 in Manual Mode was a 1/3 stop underexposure. Daylight WB.

I selected the AF point two up from the center AF point/AI Servo Surround/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the bottom of the bird’s neck right on the same plane as the bird’s eye.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -5.

Great Blue Heron/immature with saltwater catfish

The First Afternoon

I have a small but great group. Three multiple IPT veterans and two newbies. And one more multiple IPT veteran arriving on Thursday evening. All nice. All happy campers. It was a cloudy afternoon filled with tame Short-billed Dowitchers, tame Willets, tame Least Sandpipers, tame Great Egrets, and a fishing Snowy Egret attracting baitfish by splashing the water with its bill. Only Bob DeCroce got on a Great Egret with a pretty decent fish. And then it happened; I looked up and saw a Great Blue Heron flying right at us with a big catfish in its bill. It dropped the fish on the grass and I prayed for it to pick it up. It did, and eventually ate the whole thing (much to our delight)! After the GBH’s fish dinner it was high fives all around.

5D IV ISO 3200

Whaddya think?


great-blue-heron-just-after-swallowing-catfish-_w5a2795-fort-desoto-county-park-fl

This image was created on the first afternoon of the Fort DeSoto Fall IPT with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/400 sec. at f/9 was perfect. Daylight WB.

I selected the AF point two to the right of the of the center AF point/AI Servo Surround/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. Four up from the cetner AF point would have been just as good or better. The latter would have placed the selected AF point right on the bird’s eye.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -5.

Great Blue Heron/Down The Hatch

I Could Believe It Ate the Whole Thing

Nobody in the group thought that the bird would be able to swallow the relatively large catfish. Having seen them swallow fish twice as big, I knew that it was just a matter of time. The key to the success of this image was my choice of perspective; I got low to get the green strip at the bottom of the frame rather than having it intersect the bird’s face as it would have if it had been in the middle of the frame.

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 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 🙂