This image of a displaying Great Egret was created with the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens, the EF 1.4X III TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -2 stops: 1/1250 sec. at f/11 in Manual Mode after histogram and blinkies check. With all that black it was obvious that I needed lots of under-exposure to keep from burning the WHITEs. In order to achieve the framing that I wanted it was necessary to bend the lens; see more on that below. AI Servo AF with rear focus.
Even though I knew that I was getting out of the hospital today I was a bit down in the dumps all morning. Is the hand still infected? Why is the back of the hand still so swollen? Why does flexing the left middle finger as instructed practically bring me to my knees in pain? It was not a long road from there to thoughts of becoming the world’s best one handed bird photographer…. I did the Work on my runaway thoughts (TheWork.Com: “Who would you be without your story?” Byron Katie) and that helped a bit but it was not until spoke to Dr. Puopolo that my spirits were lifted.
“The infection is likely gone. If not, the oral antibiotic that you will be on after being discharged should do the job.” (Just for the record books: Zyvox (linezolid), $3,400 for 24 pills. Bargain price for me: $965 co-pay . Hope that the stuff works at those prices. The ID doc asked me if the price as OK. I said to him, “Heal my hand by tomorrow and I will gladly write you a check for $50,000.” He smiled.
“The back of your hand is still swollen because you had extensive surgery just four days ago. The hand looks great and your incisions are healing beautifully. You do not have to push the flexion so hard this weekend; just open and close the fist without using your other hand to force it. We needed to do that to prevent any scarring following the surgery. You will begin the really hard rehab work after the stitches are out.”
Why Bend The Lens?
This is a screen capture of the BreezeBroswer Main View for the RAW image. Note the placement of the central sensor on the edge of the bird’s neck and then keep reading below. (Note; with the 800, the 1.4X III TC, and the MIV only the central AF sensor was active.) Note the Lens Micro-Adjustment of +3. Note also the significant data in the fifth or highlight box of the histogram, just as I teach it.
Why Bend The Lens?
I was positive that I had written about bending the lens in The Art of Bird Photography II (ABP II: 916 pages on CD only) but a quick Adobe Acrobat Reader search revealed that I had not…. Every tripod head–be it the Mongoose M3.6 Action Head that I use or the Wimberley V-2 that many others prefer for big glass–has some play in it, even when both the horizontal pan and vertical pan locking knobs are fully tightened. By bending the lens I mean pressing somewhat forcefully on the top, bottom, or side, or heck, anywhere on the lens barrel as needed to fine-tune the framing. If the bird is too close to the left frame edge, pressing on the right side of the lens will give the subject more room. And so on and so forth. Because I tend to shoot locked down a great deal of the time, I use this technique quite often, most often with verticals. In addition to enabling you to come up with the precise framing that you desire, bending the lens is will result in sharper images as described in “Essential Sharpness Techniques” (pages 461-470 in ABP II–916 pages on CD only).
When I created the Great Egret image here, I remember bending the lens almost frantically in an effort to keep the sensor on the bird’s neck. Of about 15 frames, this was my favorite.
Below is a list of the gear that I used to create the images above (along with some related items). 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.
Canon 1.4X III TC. This new Series III TC is designed to work best with the new Series II super-telephoto lenses.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My workhorse professional digital camera bodies.
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.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
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.