Sometimes I Even Impress Myself…
Please take a few seconds to view the 3-frame animated GIF below.
I gotta admit, sometimes I even impress myself.
I created the original capture above near Homer, Alaska with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 2X III TC, and the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/640 sec. at f/11. I focused in Live View using Live Mode focus. I will cover this technique in detail in the next update of the Mark IV User’s Guide.
I have been through my Homer images many times and this one never impressed me much other than with it’s exceptional sharpness (considering that the equivalent focal length was 2080mm). This works out to an incredible 41.6X magnification! Until last night on the plane to Midway (see item 2 below) I did not realize the huge two-way potential of this image. First I optimized it as a straight shot to bring out the detail on the young eagle (even though the image was backlit at sunset). The key was to use yet another Robert O’Toole trick: in ACR I used Fill Light at about 60%. Then I dealt with the noise and processed the image normally. To create the silhouetted version I re-converted the image in ACR, this time moving the BLACK slider well to the right until extensive SHADOW clipping highlight warnings almost covered the bird. Then I moved the Exposure slider to the left to brighten the sky. Once the converted image was in Photoshop, I blackened the BLACKS by moving the shadow slider well to the right (as described in detail in Digital Basics).
Sometimes I even amaze myself
The basics of converting images properly are covered in detail in Digital Basics, a $20 PDF sent via e-mail. It covers my complete digital workflow and includes many dozens of great Photoshop tips. Most folks are amazed at how good my posted images look. All of my secrets are revealed and Digital Basics even includes details on how to create the action that I use to create the 800 wide JPEGs that I use in the Bulletins and on the blog.
Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the silhouetted image alone. Note the exceptional sharpness at 41.6X magnification. I used the advanced sharpness techniques described in detail in The Art of Bird Photography II (916 pages on CD only).
Safe on Midway
The group flew to Midway last night in luxury on a gorgeous corporate-type jet, replete with the fixings for Subway sandwiches for dinner. We landed safely and made our way via golf cart to Charely Barracks. With the 7 hour time difference I am typing as 4:30 am. We have an orientation meeting this morning and we will begin photographing this afternoon. Everyone was thrilled as we made our way in the dark past thousands of Laysan Albatrosses and their chicks as hundreds of Bonin’s Petrel flew about above us.
Below is a list of the gear that I used to create the image above. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.
Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
2X III teleconverter. The new 2X III TC is sharper than the older 2X II version.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. The very best professional digital camera body that I have ever used.
And from the BAA On-line Store:
Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
Double Bubble Leve.l You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am on a tripod and not using flash.
Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro Compact Flash Card. These high capacity cards are fast and dependable.
I pack my 800 and tons of other gear in my ThinkTank Airport SecurityTM V2.0 rolling bag for all of my air travel and recommend the slightly smaller Airport InternationalTM V2.0 for most folks. These high capacity bags are well constructed and protect my gear when I have to gate check it on short-hops and puddle jumpers. Each will protect your gear just as well. By clicking on either link or the logo below, you will receive a free gear bag with each order over $50.