Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
May 26th, 2017

If At First ... What Do You Think? And More Depth of Field?

What’s Up

Again on Thursday I felt a bit better than the day before and got some more work done on the BAA Current Workflow Guide. I am pretty sure that as I have aged I have developed ADD …


Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of 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.

Please Don’t Forget …

As always–and folks have been doing a really great job for a long time now–please remember to use our B&H links for your major and minor 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 BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

Gitzo GT 4542LS

New Package.

Hisham A. is offering a Gitzo Series 4 Systematic 4 Section Long Tripod GT4542LS in excellent condition along with a Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Backpack (a discontinued $400 value) for $799. The backpack holds an unmounted 600mm lens. The sale includes insured ground shipping to US addresses via major courier.

Please contact Hisham via e-mail or by phone at 720 771 2693 (Eastern time).

BIRDS AS ART June 3-4 Gatorland In-the Field Instructional Meet-Up Sessions

Last of the Season!

Join me in Kissimmee, FL for all or part of the weekend of June 3-4, 2017. We should get to photograph several species of nesting herons and egrets as well as Wood Stork, American Alligator (captive), and more. We should get to make lots of head portraits of all the bird species and to photograph both small chicks and fledged young. Learn to see, find, and make the shot in cluttered settings. Learn exposure and how to handle WHITEs. All of the birds are free and wild. These inexpensive sessions are 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 see you there.

June 3-4, 2017 Schedule

  • Saturday June 3 Meet-up Morning (early entry): 7:30 till 10:30am: $99.
  • Lunch and Image Review: $99.
  • Saturday afternoon till closing (late stay): $99.
  • Sunday June 4 Meet-up Morning, (early entry): 7:30 till 10am: $90.

Cheap Canon lens rentals available: 600 II, 500 II, 400 DO II, or 200-400.

To pay for one or more sessions in full via credit card, call Jim or Jen in the office weekdays at 863-692-0906. You will be responsible for the cost of your Gatorland Photographer’s pass or passes. Please shoot me an e-mail with questions.

Great-Egret-aigrettes-_W5A9623-Gatorland,-Kissimmee,-FL

This image was created on the May 14 Gatorland In-the-Field Meet-up session with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 560mm) and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering -1 2/3 stops: 1/1600 sec. at f/9. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: 0.

One row up and two to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo/Expand /Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure as originally framed.

Great Egret aigrettes

If at First …

If at first you do not succeed, try, try again. I must have tried photographing the aigrettes (breeding plumes) of Great Egret 100 times without success. And I failed every single time until I made this image (at least to my mind). It sort of reminds me of the dewy spider web against dark backgrounds (only without the dew).

What Do You Think?

Does this image work for you? Why or why not? Is it too abstract?

More Depth-of-Field?

As I had plenty of shutter speed, I could have easily stopped down a two full stops to f/18 (at 1/400 sec.) Do you think that more depth of field would have improved this image? Or made it worse?








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 please remember that I am 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, 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.

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use the logo link above.

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here.

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 :).

May 25th, 2017

Last Gatorland In-the Field Instructional Meet-Up Weekend Sessions. Teleconverter Questions. How Many Birds? Photoshop Hanky-Panky? And Avoiding Filtered Light.

What’s Up

On Wednesday I continued to feel a bit better and got some more work done on the BAA Current Workflow Guide. If I weren’t so meticulous the going would be a lot faster 🙂


Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of 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.

Please Don’t Forget …

As always–and folks have been doing a really great job for a long time now–please remember to use our B&H links for your major and minor 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 BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

BIRDS AS ART June 3-4 Gatorland In-the Field Instructional Meet-Up Sessions

Last of the Season!

Join me in Kissimmee, FL for all or part of the weekend of June 3-4, 2017. We should get to photograph several species of nesting herons and egrets as well as Wood Stork, American Alligator (captive), and more. We should get to make lots of head portraits of all the bird species and to photograph both small chicks and fledged young. Learn to see, find, and make the shot in cluttered settings. Learn exposure and how to handle WHITEs. All of the birds are free and wild. These inexpensive sessions are 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 see you there.

June 3-4, 2017 Schedule

  • Saturday June 3 Meet-up Morning (early entry): 7:30 till 10:30am: $99.
  • Lunch and Image Review: $99.
  • Saturday afternoon till closing (late stay): $99.
  • Sunday June 4 Meet-up Morning, (early entry): 7:30 till 10am: $90.

Cheap Canon lens rentals available: 600 II, 500 II, 400 DO II, or 200-400.

To pay for one or more sessions in full via credit card, call Jim or Jen in the office weekdays at 863-692-0906. You will be responsible for the cost of your Gatorland Photographer’s pass or passes. Please shoot me an e-mail with questions.

Snowy-Egret-chicks-in-nest-_W5A9564-Gatorland,-Kissimmee,-FL

This image was created on the May 15 Gatorland In-the-Field Meet-up session with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 220mm) and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/80 sec. at f/9. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: 0.

One row up and three to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo/Expand /Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point fell on the top of the base of the upper mandible.

Snowy Egret chicks in nest

How Many Birds?

How many Snowy Egret chicks are visible in the photo above? Please give your reasons.

Why the Teleconverter?

Considering that I wound up at only 220mm why did I have the 1.4X TC in place? Here is a related question with a different answer: why didn’t I remove the teleconverter before making today’s featured image?

Photoshop Hanky-Panky?

Can you spot any major Photoshop changes in today’s featured image? Where and what? Be sure to state your proof (if any).

My Thoughts on Avoiding Filtered Light …

There have been several active nests in this large bush this year. When the sun is on one of the nests, the light is almost always varied (or filtered). By this I mean that that the nest is partly in shade and partly sunlit. Here is my rule: never photograph a bird in varied (or filtered) light. When a nest is either completely lit or is completely shaded, the opportunities can be consistently outstanding. And the same is of course true on cloudy days. The best news is that much of this bush is shaded for a good portion of the morning. The problem is that folks do not realize the potential at these times. I have consistently seen groups of folks photographing at this location when the birds are partly in the shade and partly lit by the sun. Once the nest is fully shaded, they seek other subjects. This always leaves me mystified.

Tip for photographing birds in harsh sunlight after 8:30am: find a subject in the shade.








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 please remember that I am 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, 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.

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use the logo link above.

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here.

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 :).

May 24th, 2017

Your Editing Help Needed. Hand Holding the Canon 500 II at 1000mm. Advanced AF Strategy. Another gem of a Canon 500 II. And yet another Canon old five.

What’s Up

Every day I feel a bit better and Tuesday was no exception. And I got some substantive work done on the BAA Current Workflow Guide. t

I was pleased to learn that Fort DeSoto IPT veteran Ed Blanton will be joining the Palouse group. He makes six.


Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of 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.

Please Don’t Forget …

As always–and folks have been doing a really great job for a long time now–please remember to use our B&H links for your major and minor 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 BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course 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. Even the prices on the new 600 II and the 200-400 with Internal Extender have been plummeting. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the right side of the yellow-orange menu bar above.

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from Gerry Keshka

Hi Artie, I wanted to share how much I appreciate your Used Gear “service.” You have posted how you help sellers, but the other side of the equations is how much this service helps buyers. I have purchased three lenses (Canon 200-400, 500 f4 II, and 70-200 F2.8) all lovely experiences and I saved almost $5K over retail. Each of the sellers was delightful, willing to help me assess if the purchase was right for me by sharing their experience with the lens. Each lens was in the condition advertised (or better), and typically included several “add-ons” that would have cost several hundred dollars.

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from Sandra Calderbank

Hi Artie, I wanted to take a few minutes to thank you. I have sold two camera bodies on your BAA used gear site. Your friendly expertise and knowledgeable, trustworthy buyers have made this an extremely satisfying experience. Selling on BAA Used Gear page is the best transaction experience I have ever encountered. Thank you for all you do for our photography community. Sincerely, Sandra

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from Tom Phillips

Artie, Thanks so much. I sent your check via my online banking. I never expected the 400 DO II and the 1DX II to sell within minutes of your posting the ad! I know that the 300 f/2.8 II is still up, but still, the results have been amazing. Another plus is that James McGrew is a professional artist and photographer and he was really looking and wanting that combo and is appreciative and excited to be able to find a great deal. Tom.

Recent Successful Used Gear Sales
The Big Ticket Items Continue to Sell Like Hotcakes on the Used Gear Page in May!

  • David Ramirez sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III in near-mint condition for $1449 in late-May.
  • The sales of multiple IPT veteran Dr. Gil Moe’s Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, his 1.4X III TC, and his Xtrahand vest were all pending as of the first day of listing.
  • Hisham A. sold his Wimberley WH-200 Tripod Head in excellent condition for $449 in early May.
  • Larry Peavler sold a Canon Extender EF 2X III in like-new condition for $299 within days of posting it in mid-May.
  • Tom Phillips sold his Canon EOS-1DX Mark II (Premium Kit) in near-mint condition for $4499 and his Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO II USM lens in like-new condition for $5,798 both within hours of listing them in mid-May.
  • Ron Paulk sold his Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 II USM zoom lens in excellent condition for $1100 and the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT & Canon ST-E3-RT Transmitter/package for $425 on May 14, 2017, the day after it was listed.
  • Larry Peavler sold a Canon EF 100-400 zoom f/4.5 – 5.6 L IS Telephoto Zoom lens, the old 1-4, in excellent condition for $549 soon after it was listed.
  • Ron Paulk sold his Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens in excellent condition for $999and his Canon EF 100mm Macro f/2.8L IS USM lens in excellent condition for $549 the day they were listed.
  • Ron Paulk sold a Canon EOS-1D X Professional Digital Camera Body in excellent condition for $2699 and a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens in mid-May before they were listed and is kindly sending me a check for the 2 1/2%.

New Listings

Canon 500mm f/4L IS USM Lens
Another Real Gem

Philip Laing is offering a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens in excellent plus condition for $7299. The sale includes the E-163B front lens cover, the rear lens cap, the lens strap, lens trunk 500B, both Canon tripod feet, the lens booklet, the original product box, a RRS LCF-53 replacement foot, and insured ground shipping via UPS to U.S. addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Please contact Phillip via e-mail or by phone at 208-983-2390 (Pacific time).

The 500 f/4s have long been the world’s most popular telephoto lenses for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many decades. Canon’s Series II version is light, fast, super-sharp, and produces amazing images with both the 1.4X and 2X III TCs. The 500 II is relatively small, easily hand holdable, and is much easier travel with, focuses closer than, and costs a lot less than the 600 II. Lastly, and you might find this amazing, the magnification for the 500 II is the same as it is for the 600 II: .15X. How is that possible? Magnification is calculated at the minimum focusing distance of the lens, 12.14 feet (3.7 meters) for the 500 II, and 14.77 feet (4.5 meters) for the 600 II. Simply put, the 500 II focuses more than two feet closer than the 600 II. Dr. Gil Moe had five calls on his 500II on the first day it was listed. The first four folks quibbled on price. The fifth one jumped right on it. Please do not tarry if you are seriously interested in Phillip’s lens as it too should sell almost instantly. As the 500 II goes for $8999 new you will be getting a barely used lens while saving $1,700. artie

Xtrahand Vest, by Vested Interest: Size Medium

Kevin Hice is offering a green Xtrahand Vest, size Medium, for $250. The vest is in like-new condition with the thick shoulder pads, two large and two small front pockets, the large rear pocket, the rear tripod pocket, and insured ground shipping via UPS or FEDEX to U.S. addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Please contact Kevin via e-mail or by phone at 701- 460- 6112 (Central time).

As most of you know, I used and depend on my (Magnum) Xtrahand Vest extensively both in the field and for air travel. At spots in the Southern Ocean and in the Galapagos archipelago it is absolutely indispensable as it allows me to carry the extra lenses that I might need, along with water, food, and extra clothing. As I am pretty sure that Vested Interest has gone out of business, this represents a rare chance to get yourself an Xtrahand Vest. artie

Canon 500mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Multiple IPT veteran Duncan Douglas is offering a lightly used Canon 500mm f/4L IS USM lens (the “old five”) in like-new condition (but for some small scratches on the bottom of the original lens foot) for $4199. The sale includes the original box, lens trunk, the lens strap, the front leather cover, the rear lens cap, a 4th Generation Designs CP-51b replacement foot with all the wrenches, the original Canon lens foot, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. The lens is expected back today, Monday May 15, 2017 after being cleaned and checked by Canon.

Please contact Duncan via e-mail.

The 500 f/4s have been the world’s most popular telephoto lenses for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many decades. I owned and used and loved my “old five” for many years. We have sold more than a few recently for $3999 and even two for $3799. Bill’s lens is priced a bit higher as it is in pristine condition. If you don’t have the cash for the 500 II and can handle the additional 1 1/2 pounds (exactly) then this is your next best option if you want to get your hands on a 500 f/4. The 500 II goes for $8999 so you will be saving a cool $4,800 and getting a virtually brand new lens to boot. artie

Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a RRS L-bracket
Price typo correction

David Ramirez is offering a Canon EOS 5D Mark III (with extras) in near-mint condition (but for two small rub marks/nicks on the upper part of the body. Photos available upon request) for $1449. The camera had only 7963 shutter actuation’s on it. It has had Vello glass screen protectors on both LCDs from the beginning. Included are the original box, one battery, the charger,the discs, the strap,the manual, the front lens cap, a RRS L-bracket, and 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 David via e-mail or by phone at 541-892-3726 (Pacific time.)

I owned and used this superb, full frame, 22mp digital body for several years. It was always my first choice for scenic, Urbex, and flower photography until I fell in love for a while with the 5DS R (for a lot more money!). In addition, I loved my 5D III body for birds with my big lenses and both TCs. artie

dunlin-ruffle-editingBACD

These four images were created on Saturday afternoon on the DeSoto In-the-Field Meet-up session with the hand held Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/11. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -5.

Two rows up and one to the right of the center AF point AI Servo/Expand/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment as is best when hand holding. Here is the location of the selected AF point for each image.

  • A-on the side of the bird’s breast just below the neck and on a line that is just forward of the eye.
  • B-on the front of the bird’s breast on a line down from the base of the bill.
  • C-on the side of the bird’s neck on a line down from the eye.
  • D-just behind and below the bird’s eye.

Dunlin in breeding plumage ruffling

Your Editing Help Needed

I cannot recall making four consecutive behavioral images of such high quality as those presented above. Each image is razor sharp on the eye and the exposure is perfect. Yet even when choosing your keepers from a series of static portraits, it is usually fairly easy to pick the single best image.

Though the four images are quite similar, each is distinctly different. Feel free to comment on the what you think are the positives of each image. And the negatives, if any. Please also leave a comment and let us know which of today’s four featured images is your absolute favorite. And do let us know why you like it. I have a clear single favorite and a second best and will share those with you in a blog post here in the not-too-distant-future. Please remember that the blog is designed to be interactive; the more folks who comment the more everyone learns.

Hand Holding the 500 II at 1000mm

Big time thanks to “Machine Gun” Mike Hankes who opted to gently work a group of shorebirds that I passed by opting instead to photograph a Reddish Egret on the spit. When “Big Red” flew off, I grabbed my 500 II with the 2X III in place off the tripod and approached Mike and the single remaining Dunlin low and slow. Once in position without scaring the bird, I placed my left forearm on the sandy beach. My left hand — well out on the lens barrel, cradled it from below while my right hand (of course) held and operated the 5D IV. I used my left hand and arm to control the elevation of the lens as there was a small hillock of sand between the subject and me. In fact, you can see a faint “bird in heaven” halo by the legs in each image.

AF Strategy

Take a close look at the AF point selection and placement for each of the four images and notice how I shifted the lens a bit with each frame in response to changes in the bird’s posture and position. My choice of a single AF point that was two rows up and one to the right of the center AF point turned out to have been a brilliant one as it enabled me to keep the subject well back in the frame while avoiding clipping its tail or wing feathers with the left frame-edge.