November 22nd, 2014

What I Said (about the Canon EOS-7D Mark II at Bosque...)

The Streak Continues: 357

Denise and I rocked ‘em again on our second Festival Early Morning In the Field workshop. We had fifteen folks. The pre-dawn sky offered a bit more color than the day before but was still pretty boring but everyone learned a ton. The crane pool was only so-so but everyone learned a ton. Then we re-visited the new flooded field but that was not very good either. But everyone learned a ton. Despite a crummy overall morning but everyone learned a ton. Again we were plagued by the seemingly omnipresent northwest breeze. Everyone received lots of individual attention and everyone went home very happy.

Mike Cohen of southeast Florida was in the Friday morning group. At the end of the session he came up to me and said, “That was great. I learned so much. And I am glad that I came and met you in person. Before today, I did not like you. But you are actually charming.” I said, “You’ve heard bad stuff about me from others? Heard that I am arrogant and do not care if you learn? And heard that I will push you out of the way to get my shot.?” He said, “Yeah, in part.” I said, “Please remember that 99% of those folks have never been on an IPT or in a class, have never met me.” He said, “But also a bit from your manner on the blog and in e-mail. But I was amazed to find out that you are a really nice guy.” “Thanks,” I said, “I really am a teddy bear….”

My keynote presentation, “A Twenty Year Love Affair with Bosque” was warmly received by a large crowd. It was a pleasure having 14-year Bosque manager Phil Norton in the audience. He kindly contributed some back story on the state of the refuge since he left and later retired from the refuge system.

The like-new Canon 200-400 lens offered yesterday sold instantly. Today’s blog post, the 357th in a row, took 2 hours to assemble and was published from my hotel room in Socorro, NM at 3:50am.

Festival of the Cranes Early Sunday Morning Photography In-the-Field Workshop

Festival of the Cranes Early Sunday Morning, NOV 23. In-the-Field Photography Workshop: 5:50-10:30am. Limit 16/Openings 5. $125. After sellouts on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday there are still a few openings for the Sunday offering. Sign up at the Festival Info Table in the Bosque Visitor Center.

Join full time professional photographers Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART and Denise Ippolito/A Creative Adventure for four 1/2 hours of fun and learning at the refuge. You will learn how to create pleasingly blurred images in the low predawn light, to spot the good situations, to understand the effects of wind speed and direction on bird (especially in flight) photography, to photograph individual cranes in flight, to see and understand the light, to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, and to design pleasing images. In addition you will learn and live Artie’s early morning Bosque del Apache strategies, strategies based on over two decades of experience at the refuge. This is a caravan event and a refuge pass will be provided. Dress with layers for warmth and bring snacks and plenty of water. Workshop leaves sharply at 6:00 AM.

By e-mail from Friday Participant and Blog Regular David Policansky

I’m still replaying the morning in-the-field trip with you and Denise in my head. It was so helpful to watch you in action and hear your explanations of what you were doing and why. I don’t think even your detailed written words can quite take the place of the experience in the field. David


bosque-creative-card-2014-1200-wide

Join Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris for two great days of photography, fun, and learning at one of our favorite soul places. We will surely be taking you out of the box on this workshop. Please click on the card to enjoy a larger version.

Bosque del Apache 2014 A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART “Creative Photography Instructional Photo-Tour.” (IPT). NOV 24-25, 2014. 2-FULL DAYS: $729. Leaders: Denise Ippolito & Arthur Morris. Introductory Slide program: 7:00pm on Sunday 11/23.

It is still not too late to Get Out of Your Box!

The Creative Bosque IPT is perfect for folks who want to learn to think outside the box, to create new and different images. This workshop is the perfect add-on for folks who attended the Festival of the Cranes. Learn to unleash your creative juices at the wondrous Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in San Antonio, New Mexico with two great leaders including the amazingly talented and creative Denise Ippolito. In-the-field instruction will include tips on gear set-up, on creating a variety of pleasing blurs, on getting the right exposure, and on designing pleasing images. And lots more. From vertical pan blurs to subject motion blurs to zoom blurs to multiple exposures we will cover it all. If conditions are perfect, we will not hesitate to take advantage of them to do some traditional bird photography. This workshop will include an inspirational introductory slide program on Sunday evening, 11/23, after dinner on your own, two morning and two afternoon photography sessions, all lunches, a digital workflow and Photoshop session after lunch on Monday, and an image critiquing session after lunch on Tuesday.

At this late hour, the only way to to sign up is to either find us on the refuge or get in touch via e-mail.

Please Help Support My Work on the BAA Blog

Thanks a Stack! The last six weeks have been great!

The last six weeks have been quite rewarding with more and more folks making it a habit to use my B&H links especially for their major gear purchases. It is great to feel appreciated. Thanks a stack to all who used our links for purchases large and small.

To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we ask, as always, that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. B&H Is recommended for you major photography gear purchases, Amazon for your household, entertainment, and general purpose stuff. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, and the like. 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, 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 visiting the BAA Online store as well.



If what you’ve learned here on my blog about the Canon EOS-7D Mark II has inspired you to purchase this great new camera body, please consider using the logo link above to support our efforts here in bringing you the latest, greatest educational materials on daily basis.


sandhill-crane-turning-to-land-3y8a1878-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm

This Sandhill Crane image was created on the clear early evening of November 20, 2014 just after sunset at Bosque del Apache NWR. I used the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod), the Mongoose M3.6 head, Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 800. Evaluative metering + 1 stop as originally framed: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 in Av mode. Color Temperature: 8000K.

65-Point Automatic Selection Rear Focus/AI Servo AF selected two sensors, one on the tail and one on the upper back/near wing as originally framed. They were of course active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Sandhill Crane landing Silhouette #1

In the “Canon EOS-1D X, EOS-5D Mark III, EOS-7D Mark II at Bosque del Apache NWR/Which One When and Why?” blog post here, I wrote, and I quote, “When I am focal length challenged I will reach for the 600 II, 1.4X III, and 7D II at least until proven otherwise…. All on the tripod of course.”

Under the heading of Crane Pools for Sunset, I continued, “On a typical late afternoon at the crane pools you will want to go both very long and very wide. You get the idea by now :) I am however, looking forward to using the 600II/1.4X III/7D II combo for the incoming crane silhouettes. AF will be faster than with the 600 II/2X III/1D X and I will have the advantage of being at f/5.6 rather than f/8; this will save me a full stop of ISO across the board. A 16-35 or 24-70II on the Giottos MH 1302-655 BallHead (I call it the tiny ballhead) will rock on many evenings after most folks have gone home too early.”

As the two crane silhouette images here show, I was right on the money as far at the 600 II/1.4X III/7D II combination was concerned. In short, the 7D II continues to amaze me.


sandhill-crane-landing-silh-3y8a1956-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm

This Sandhill Crane image was also created on the clear early evening of November 20, 2014 just after sunset at Bosque del Apache NWR. Again I used the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod), the Mongoose M3.6 head, Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 1600. Evaluative metering + 1 stop as originally framed: 1/640 sec. at f/5.6 in Av mode. Color Temperature: 8000 K.

65-Point Automatic Selection Rear Focus/AI Servo AF selected and array of three sensors that covered the bird’s head and legs perfectly. (See the screen capture below.) The three sensors were active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Sandhill Crane landing Silhouette #2

Your Favorite?

Which of today’s two images is your favorite? Please take a moment to leave a comment and let us know why.


dppcrane-scrn-capt

This is the DPP 4 screen capture for Image #2.

The DPP 4 Screen Capture

The DPP 4 screen capture for Image #2 shows the array of AF points that were selected by 65-Point Automatic Selection illuminated in red; pretty darned impressive it you ask me. Those with good eyes can see that I lightened the image 1/3 stop (.33) with the Brightness slider on the Perform basic image adjustment tab. For most images I also use the Adjust image detail tab (for NR), and the Perform image lens correction. For the first time ever I used Fine Tune to tweak the sky color.


dpp-4

DPP 4 is completely new and different from the various versions of DPP 3. It handles files only from the following cameras: EOS-1D X, EOS 5D Mark III, EOS-6D, and the EOS-7D Mark II.

Great 7D II/DPP v4.01.0 News

An updated version of Canon Digital Photo Professional that supports RAW files from the EOS-7D Mark II is available for download via the Canon USA website. Though some folks had trouble getting access to the Mac version of DPP v4.1.0.1 I was able to download and install it easily yesterday evening. Hint for Mac folks: after you double click on the downloaded zip file you need to go to your desktop and click on the icon that was magically created there in order to begin the installation.

To download DPP v4.1 first click here and then click on Drivers and Software and follow the prompts.


dpp-4-guide

The Photographers’ Guide to Canon Digital Photo Professional 4.0 by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris is now available. Click here to order.

The DPP 4 eGuide (PDF)

BIRDS AS ART is proud to announce the release of The Photographers’ Guide to Canon Digital Photo Professional 4.0 by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris: $40.

Artie first went to DPP because he was not happy with the colors he was getting with 1D X and 5D III images from ACR (Adobe Camera Raw). Though less than intuitive, he found it fast and easy to use once he mastered the basics. He collaborated with Arash Hazeghi on the first DPP RAW Conversion Guide. Do understand that the DPP RAW Conversion Guide details the use of various iterations of DPP 3. He calls those the DPP 3.whatever versions. The latest version is DPP 3.14.41.0.

Some time ago Canon released DPP 4.0, completely and utterly new and different from DPP 3. When it was introduced DPP 4 worked only EOS-1D X, EOS-5D Mark III, and EOS-6D images and that is still the case today. It will not work with RAW files from older Canon digital camera bodies. Both authors are hoping that a new version of DPP 4 that will convert EOS-7D Mark II images will be released soon.

In the meantime, DPP 4 performs superbly with his 1D X and 5D III images. When he first opened DPP 4 he felt as if he were in the cockpit of a Boeing 747 and was being asked to fly it. There were so many tabs and buttons and controls that he simply closed the program. He immediately called Arash and asked him if he wanted to work together on a DPP 4 guide. After 100s of hours of work the guide is now ready to teach you to conveniently and easily use DPP 4 to create the finest possible image files from your 1D X, 5D III, and 6D image files. Basically, Arash sent artie a sophisticated outline that he re-crafted into a clear, concise, easily understood, and easy to follow how-to guide written in the BAA style. Arash created all of the charts, diagrams, and graphics.

His charts with recommendations for both Chrominance and Luminance Noise Reduction values for each of the 3 covered cameras at various ISO settings are alone worth the price of the book. He spent many dozens of hours experimenting with high ISO RAW files and shares his findings with you in the DPP 4 Guide. Folks will surely want to create some sort of easily accessible quick reference on their laptops and home computers.

DPP offers a host of great features some but not all of which are reminiscent of ACR. These include the following: Multi-image display, the extremely valuable Before/after Comparison layout, Highlight/shadow warnings, White Balance, and the eight RAW Conversion tabs that include sliders for Brightness, Highlights, Shadows, Contrast, Hue-Saturation, Color Tone, Sharpness, Noise Reduction, HSL (Hue/Saturation/Luminance), Lens Corrections, and Digital Lens Optimizer among others. We teach you how to best utilize each of those and many more. We share our slightly different DPP workflows and dozens of tips that will simply make your life easier. Arash uses DPP4′s rating system for choosing his keepers while artie continues to rely on BreezeBrowser Pro for that. DPP offers a variety of sorting filters. We explain all of the options. In addition, we teach you how to set your preferences and how to arrange your workspace for the greatest efficiency.

Both authors firmly believe that the manufacturer’s conversion algorithms will always out-perform 2nd party software when it comes to preserving image quality, fine detail, and accurate color rendition.

The authors wish to thank Chuck Westfall and Rudy Winston of Canon USA for their help; they are always available to answer our nit-picking questions. Sincere thanks also to Ken Kovak, Bob Schwartz, Dane Johnson, and John Stuhlmuller for their thoughtful and substantive reviews of late drafts of the DPP 4 manuscript.

You can order your copy of the DPP 4 Guide for $40 through the BAA Online Store by clicking here, by calling Jim or Jen in the office at 863-692-0906 with credit card in hand, by sending us a check made out to “Arthur Morris” or a money order for $40 to BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855, or by by sending a Paypal for $40 to e-mail. IN the latter two instances be sure to note DPP 4 Guide so we know what you are ordering :).

Note: the Sharpness and Noise Reduction Charts will be updated to include the recommended values for the 7D Mark II. I have been sending RAW files to Arash for several days. Now Arash has a lot more work to do. For those who have purchased the DPP 4 Guide, the update will of course be free but please be patient.

Those using older Canon camera bodies like the 1D Mark IV, the 7D, the 50D, the 40D, the various Rebels (not highly recommended for serious nature photography), are directed to the original DPP RAW Conversion Guide click here. DPP 3 (the latest version is DPP v3.14.41.0) does a fine job of converting images from the older camera bodies. I used it for several years.

DPP 4 eGuide Kudos via e-mail from Melvin Grey

Artie, Thank you very much for creating and sending the superb new guide and for the excellent service.THANK YOU and ARASH, once again, for an invaluable guide and THANK YOU for your continuing educational blogs. Melvin


uk-puffins-card-ii-layers

Images and card design copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The 2015 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

June 29 through July 5, 2015: $5499: Limit 10 photographers/Openings 1. Two great leaders: Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris.

Here are the plans for next year: take a red eye from the east coast of the US on 28 June arriving in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Monday 29 June (or simply meet us then either at the Edinburgh Airport (EDI) or later in the day at our cottages if you are driving your own vehicle either from the UK or from somewhere in Europe. Stay 7 nights in two gorgeous modern country cottages.

There are 5 days of planned puffin/seabird trips—weather permitting, and 1 full day of gannet photography with 2 sessions on the boat.


uk-puffins-card-iii-layers

Images and card design copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The Details

We will be staying in upscale country-side cottages that are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for image sharing and Photoshop lessons. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with two roomy single beds and a private bathroom. See the single supplement info below.

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. All 5 puffins boat lunches will need to be prepared in advance, taken with, and consumed at your leisure. I usually eat mine on the short boat trip from one island to the other. Also included is a restaurant lunch on the gannet boat day and a farewell fine dining thank you dinner. The cost of your National Heritage Trust is also included; that covers the twice a day landing fees.

Plan to fly home on the early morning of Monday 6 July or to continue your stay or travels.


uk-puffins-card-i

Images and card design copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version. Scroll down to join us in the UK in 2015.

Single Supplement Info

The single supplement is $1475. As we will be renting a third cottage the $1475 is due with your deposit and is also non-refundable.

If you are good to go please send your $2,000 deposit check now to save a spot. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If you cancel and the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. Whether or not your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

We do hope that you can join us.

Facebook

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

Support the BAA Blog. Support the BAA Bulletins: Shop B&H here!

We want and need to keep providing you with the latest free information, photography and Photoshop lessons, and all manner of related information. Show your appreciation by making your purchases immediately after clicking on any of our B&H or Amazon Affiliate links in this blog post. Remember, B&H ain’t just photography!

…..

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use this link:

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. Many thanks to those who have written.

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 :).

November 21st, 2014

Fire in the Sky & Like New Used Canon 200-400 for Sale

Great “Love Affair” News

I learned yesterday that my Canon EoL-sponsored program, “A Twenty Year Love Affair With Bosque,” is not only free and open to the public but that folks do not need to register. Just show up at the Bodega Restaurant in Socorro at 1pm and enjoy: 606 N California St. The program will be over at 2:40pm so you will be have time to get out and enjoy some sweet afternoon light. Blog readers who attend are welcome to come up and give me a hug.

The Streak Continues: 356

Denise and I rocked ‘em on our first Festival Bosque Early Morning In the Field workshop. We had sixteen folks who were working with about 13 different camera bodies including several that I had never seen or heard of before. Blog regular and IPT veteran David Policansky helped us out with various menu items on bodies like the 6D, 60D, and the 7D. Though the pre-dawn light was pretty boring everyone learned a ton. Same at the crane pool. And then we re-visited the new flooded field from the previous night. It was very good but for the seemingly omnipresent northwest breeze. Everyone received lots of individual attention and everyone went home very happy. By 10:30 there were lots of farewell-for-now hugs as we headed back to town to get ready for our seminar this afternoon.

The nineteen folks who attended the seminar all learned a ton and went home inspired. This blog post, the 356th in a row, took about 1 1/2 hours to prepare. It was published from my hotel room in Socorro, NM just before 4:30am.

Please Help Support My Work on the BAA Blog

Thanks a Stack! October was a Great Month.

The last six weeks have been quite rewarding with more and more folks making it a habit to use my B&H links especially for their major gear purchases. It is great to feel appreciated. Thanks a stack to all who used our links for purchases large and small.

To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we ask, as always, that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. B&H Is recommended for you major photography gear purchases, Amazon for your household, entertainment, and general purpose stuff. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, and the like. 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, 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 visiting the BAA Online store as well.


snow-geese-red-sunset-_y7o8227-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm

This image was created on Tuesday, November 19, 2014 at at 5:12pm at Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM. I used the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod), the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (at 219mm), and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 400. Evaluative metering 1 2/3 stops as framed: 1/60 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

65-Point Automatic Selection/Rear Focus AF picked one AF sensor on the middle bird active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Fire in the Sky

Fire in the Sky

After a long tiring day for both of us we were rewarded with a wonderful sunset. Water was added to a new field and there were probably 20,000 birds there that first afternoon. At first the sunset promised to be amazing. Then it looked like a fizzle. And then it was amazing.

The only bummer was that the huge flock did not blast off until well after dark…. But it was a sight to see.

Like New Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender for Sale

Sale Pending: 11/21/2014

Bob Taylor is offering a rarely used Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender in like new condition for the amazingly low price of $9799, $2,000 less than the than price of a new one at B&H, $11,7999.

The sale includes the E-145C Lens Cap (actually a lens hood made of tough synthetic fabric, the rearlens cap, the lens wide strap, the ET-120 Lens Hood, the lens trunk, a LensCoat, the lens manual, and and insured shipping via UPS Ground to US addresses only. The lens and other items listed below will be shipped only after your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Contact Bob by phone at 1(408)532-7738, on his cell at 1(408)202-0086 or via bobt8840@gmail.com. Pacific time zone.

You seen my images made with this great, versatile lens. Gets you from 200 to 560mm in an instant, and to 784mm with the additional of an external 14X TC. It is my favorite early morning fly-out lens at Bosque. I would never think of heading to Africa, the Southern Ocean, or the Galapagos without mine. If you live in a location with relatively tame birds like Florida or San Diego, or if you live out west and photograph the large mammals, this is likely the best lens for you. And you have never seen a price this low for one in like new condition before. If you have been seriously considering this lens, please do not hesitate.

Selling Your Used Photo 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 EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens, have been dropping steadily.

You can see the complete current listings here.

Price Drops!

Used EOS-1D Mark IV Digital Camera Body

Price reduced $549 on 11/21/2014!

Multiple IPT veteran and good friend Monte Brown is offering a used EOS-1D Mark IV digital camera body in excellent condition (with about 22,000 shutter actuations) for $1900. The sale includes the charger and an extra battery, the original box, cables, software, manuals, and insured ground shipping to US addresses only. Your camera will be shipped only after your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Monte via e-mail or by phone at 765-744-1421 (Eastern time).

Two Mark IVs served as my workhorse bodies for more than three years.

Used Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS Zoom Lens

Price reduced $74 on 11/21/2014!

Multiple IPT veteran and good friend Monte Brown is offering a used Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS Zoom Lens in very good to excellent condition for only $725. The sale includes both front and rear lens caps, the older-style tough fabric case, the original box, and insured ground shipping to US addresses only. Your lens will be shipped only after your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Monte via e-mail or by phone at 765-744-1421 (Eastern time).

I used this lens for about two years. It makes a great lightweight, intermediate telephoto lens that is sharp, easily hand held, and works well with a 1.4X teleconverter. It is great for hand held flight photography and would go great with a 7D II as a starter bird photography lens for folks who work around relatively tame birds.

IPT Updates

Would you like to visit some of the great bird photography locations on the planet? Would you like to learn from the best? Click here and join us.

Facebook

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

Support the BAA Blog. Support the BAA Bulletins: Shop B&H here!

We want and need to keep providing you with the latest free information, photography and Photoshop lessons, and all manner of related information. Show your appreciation by making your purchases immediately after clicking on any of our B&H or Amazon Affiliate links in this blog post. Remember, B&H ain’t just photography!

…..

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use this link:

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. Many thanks to those who have written.

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 :).

November 20th, 2014

Canon 100-400mm IS L II/7D Mark II: 640 Hand Held for Flight Rocks/Too Little Time...

Great “Love Affair” News

I just learned that my Canon EoL-sponsored program, “A Twenty Year Love Affair With Bosque,” is not only free and open to the public but that folks do not need to register. Just show up at the Bodega Restaurant in Socorro at 1pm and enjoy: 606 N California St. The program will be over at 2:40pm so you will be have time to get out and enjoy some sweet afternoon light. Blog readers who attend are welcome to come up and give me a hug.

The Streak Continues: 355

On Tuesday night I was sick as a dog after eating some un-refrigerated left-overs…. Can you say food poisoning? Not fun. The only thing that saved me is the fact that I travel with activated charcoal tablets and downed most of the bottle during the night. I slept very little but felt well enough to head down to the refuge at 6:15am. I missed some sublime predawn colors.

I dropped off the 100-400 II at Fed Ex just south of the airport; it will be back to Canon at the new HQ at Melville, long Island, NY before 9am tomorrow. I was sad to see it go :(. Then I continued on to ABQ to pick up Lady D.

The geese were right next to the road just past the paybooth as Denise and I were setting up our gear, having headed to the refuge practically straight from the airport. By the time we were ready to spring into action, the last of the geese floating in still blue water had departed.

After a superb night’s sleep I am feeling a thousand times better than yesterday. This blog post, the 355th in a row, took about 2 1/2 hours to prepare. It was published from my hotel room in Socorro, NM at 4:15am.

If you are in Bosque right now it would be best not to miss our seminar at the Festival this afternoon :).

Please Help Support My Work on the BAA Blog

Thanks a Stack! October was a Great Month.

The last six weeks have been quite rewarding month with more and more folks making it a habit to use my B&H links especially for their major gear purchases. It is great to feel appreciated. Thanks a stack to all who used our links for purchases large and small.

To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we ask, as always, that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. B&H Is recommended for you major photography gear purchases, Amazon for your household, entertainment, and general purpose stuff. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, and the like. 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, 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 visiting the BAA Online store as well.



If what you’ve learned here on my blog about the Canon EOS-7D Mark II has inspired you to purchase this great new camera body, please consider using the logo link above to support our efforts here in bringing you the latest, greatest educational materials on daily basis.


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This image was created on Wednesday morning past with the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (hand held at 400mm) and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Central sensor AI Servo/Surround Rear Button AF on the bird’s face was active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Canon 100-400mm IS L II/7D Mark II: 640 Hand Held for Flight Rocks

I had only limited opportunities to work with the 100-400II. And none really in an excellent flight situation. That said, I did get to use it some on Wednesday morning at one of the crane pools. BTW, both crane pools are in pretty poor shape and the one to the north is completely overgrown. Refuge manager Kevin Cobble explained that unexpected but welcome rain left both pools too muddy to be plowed and disked. In addition, we have had winds from the NW every morning since I arrived. The cranes take off to the west without offering any good flight photography chances.

Hand holding the 100-400 II will take a bit of getting used to as it does not balance as nicely as the original one; I find it a bit awkward as I did the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens. I am sure that folks who own and use the new 100-400 will get used to it quickly. I hope to be one of those. The lens trend lately is lighter and lighter and the 7D II drives the whole shooting match….


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This image was also created on Wednesday morning past with the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (hand held at 255mm) and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 800. Evaluative metering off the yellow grass at zero: 1/2000 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode.

Central sensor AI Servo/Surround Rear Button AF on the bird’s butt as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Several Important Things to Note

1: 7D Mark II AF is indeed remarkable.
2: Having the ability to zoom out for flight photography.
3: The new Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens will have two primary uses:
a: hanging on a Black Rapid RS-7 strap as an auxiliary intermediate flight lens for folks toting big glass.
b: as the main lens of folks who can not afford or carry one of the super-telephotos.
4: The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens in combination with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II will further revolutionize bird photography opening up a new world to both beginning bird photographers and birders curious about photographing birds.


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This sharpened JPEG represents a 200% view of the optimized image. Amazingly, the optimized image that opened this blog post is a fairly substantial crop. See more below.

Whaddy Think?

Considering that the optimized image was a decent crop I would say that both sharpness and image quality are astoundingly good. Background noise was smoothed with a small dose of Filter > Blur > Surface Blur. In addition I did some Eye Doctor work and sharpened the face only with a contrast mask. The subject bird was moved down and back in the frame using techniques from APTATS II and clean-up was done using techniques from APTATS II and Denise Ippolito’s protective cloning on a layer techniques. See more below.


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This is an in-progress JPEG. It shows where I was at after moving the bird down and back in the frame.

Digital Basics

Everything that I did to optimize today’s image is covered in detail in my Digital Basics File–written in my easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand style. Are you tired of making your images look worse in Photoshop? Digital Basics File is an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips (including the Surface Blur settings as taught to me by Denise Ippolito), 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, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro basics, Contrast Masks, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs, Tim Grey Dodge and Burn, a variety of ways to make selections, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.

APTATS I & II

Learn the details of advanced Quick Masking techniques in APTATS I. Learn Advanced Layer Masking Techniques in APTATS II. Mention this blog post and apply a $5 discount to either with phone orders only. Buy both APTATS I and APTATS II and we will be glad to apply at $15 discount with phone orders only. Please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 weekdays to order.

The Bosque Site Guide

All BAA Site Guides are designed so that with a bit of study you can show up at a great place and know exactly where to be at what time on what wind and in what lighting conditions. With a Site Guide on your laptop you will feel like a 20-year veteran even on your first visit. Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. If you plan on visiting the refuge it would be foolish to make the trip without having this guide in hand. Why spend money on gear and travel and then spend days stumbling around in the wrong spots? If you have visited previously, and are still unsure of where you should be at this time of day with that wind, this guide will prove invaluable to you as well.

You can order yours here or check out all of our site guides here.

Canon Telephoto Lens Specifications, Info, and Links; Bookmark This Page!

I have added the 100-400II to the chart here. Bookmark this page and consult it often as it makes comparing different lenses an easy chore. The chart includes weight in both pounds and kilograms, MFDs in feet and inches and in meters, magnification, filter size, and the year of introduction.

IPT Updates

Would you like to visit some of the great bird photography locations on the planet? Would you like to learn from the best? Click here and join us.


morro-bay-card-layers

Morro Bay offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects in a variety of attractive settings.

2015 Morro Bay 5-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT): MAR 14 thru MAR 18, 2015: $1999 (Limit: 8/Openings: 8.)

Meet and Greet after dinner on your own at 8:00pm on MAR 13.

Join me in one of the most beautiful and scenic places on the planet to photograph a large variety of birds of the sea and shore. As above, the star of the show will be Long-billed Curlew. There will be lots of Marbled Godwits and Willets as well as lots of the smaller shorebird species. Black Oystercatcher is likely and we should get to photograph large flocks of Western Sandpipers in flight over the bay. With any luck we should enjoy some great sunrise and sunset photography. There are lots of gulls including Western, California, and Mew. There is one good location where we should get to photograph Western, Clarke’s, Eared, and Pied-billed Grebe, Lesser Scaup, and Common Loon. We may get to photograph some passerines including Anna’s Hummingbird, Brewer’s Blackbird, and White-crowned Sparrow. And we have a chance for several species of raptors. Yikes, I almost forgot California Poppy. And California Ground Squirrel. Sea Otters are also possible.

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, five 2 1/2 hour afternoon sessions, five lunches, after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions, and of course tons of great in-the-field instruction and photographic instruction. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility.

A $499 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to use at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 12/1//2014. If the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

See lots more Morro Bay images here.

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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 :).