All the Weapons: Part II & Photographing Action with the Hand Held Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender In Place « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

All the Weapons: Part II & Photographing Action with the Hand Held Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender In Place

Day 5 Morning Wet Landing, Punta Espinoza, Fernandina-Part II

flightlesscormorant-face-portrait-_a1c9347-punta-espinoza-fenandina-galapagos

This Flightless Cormorant face portrait was created at Punta Espinoza with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital camera body. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/320 sec. at f/10 in Manual Mode.

Central sensor AI Servo/Rear Focus AF just to the rear of the on the bird’s eye active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

All the Weapons: Part II

Being afield with the 600 II, the 200-400, the 70-200 II, the 24-105, two 1.4X TCs, and a 2X TC is quite a challenge for me. Without the great new long lens bag that I am testing for Scott Elowitz of Lens Coat my task would have been insurmountable. I had the 200-400 with a 1D X on the Mongoose M3.6/Gitzo 3432LS combination on my right shoulder, the 70-200 II with the 5D III on a Black Rapid RS-7 strap, the 600 II in the new bag also on my right shoulder with the thick strap, and the rest of the gear plus water, my tool kits, sugar pills, a bottle of Lens Clens, and an old cotton T-shirt in my Xtrahand vest.

At each location I would take off the vest, put everything on the ground, and get the gear that I wanted ready. At times I would switch out the camera bodies. For the tight face portrait above I went with the 5DIII on the 600 II/2X combo for more pixels on the subject. Why? Frame rate and the speed of initial focusing acquisition are non-factors when creating images of static subjects.

Do understand that the image above could not have been made without the 600 II and the 2X TC…. The 200-400 is a great lens but it cannot do everything for everyone. Lenses are tools. You always need the right tool for the job at hand.

flightless-cormorant-switching-incubation-duties-_a1c9131-punta-espinoza-fenandina-galapagos

This Flightless Cormorant image was created with the hand held Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (at 217mm) and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

Central sensor/AI Servo-Surround/Rear Focus AF on the left side of the right hand bird’s breast active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Tricky Exposure

The situation above was a tricky one with dark birds, black lava rock, and lots of guano (whitewash). The trick is to push your exposure to the right far enough to yield some blinkies on the whitewash. This will give you the most possible light on the dark subjects. The few blinkies were easily recovered during the RAW conversion in DPP and the white were tamed with a layer of Detail Extractor from NIK Color Efex Pro. In fact, I ran my 50/50 Detail Extractor/Tonal Contrast combo on this and similar images at full strength. I usually reduce the opacity about 50%.

In the image above the male is about to relieve his mate of the incubating duties. Note the presence of at least one egg in the nest. I believe that two is the norm for this species.

flightless-cormorant-hopping-with-seaweed-for-nest-_q8r9999-punta-espinoza-fenandina-galapagos

This Flightless Cormorant image was created with the hand held Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (at 245mm) and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/8.

Two sensors above the central sensor/AI Servo-Surround/Rear Focus AF on the left side of the bird’s upper breast active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Photographing Action with the Hand Held Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender

Juan alerted us to the male Flightless Cormorant coming out of the water with a mouthful of seaweed for the nest. I turned the 200-400 to vertical and tracked the bird as he clambered over the rock towards his incubating mate. The ability to zoom in and out with the 200-400 and add or remove the built-in TC at a moment’s notice gives photographers an almost unfair advantage as compared to working with a fixed focal length telephoto.
I did lose one spectacular sharp frame when the bird spread its wings while jumping from one rock to the next; I clipped the bird’s right wing; for the image above I framed a bit wider than greedy to avoid clipping a similar disaster. AI Servo AF performed perfectly as it tracked the flightless bird in midair.

Your Favorite?

Take a moment to leave a comment and let us know which of the three images above is your favorite. And be sure to let us know why.

Bucket List?

If visiting the Galapagos is on your bucket list and you are a happy camper who is serious about joining us on our July 2015 trip, please shoot me an e-mail and ask to be placed on the interested list. There simply is no better Galapagos Photo Tour.

On The Road Again

Please know that I will be traveling to and from the Africa for the Tanzania Photo Safari with Todd Gustafson leaving today, August 1 and back in the office on August 21. I will have extremely limited and very slow at best internet access so please do not e-mail me until I get back. Jim will be in the office every weekday to help you with your mail order purchases and Jen will be here handling IPT registrations. The blog will continue to be active as I have prepared a dozen interesting, brand new educational posts for you in advance for you to enjoy during my absence.

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If you have a gear, image processing, or other question please e-mail me after July 19th. You can reach Jim here via e-mail. You can reach Jennifer here via e-mail. Please type “JIM” or “JEN” respectively at the front of the Subject Line.

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4 comments to All the Weapons: Part II & Photographing Action with the Hand Held Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender In Place

  • Hi Artie,

    great shots. I particularly like the portrait of the cormorant with the 2x III.

    This week I got my 1DX, 4/600 II and 200-400. All awesome stuff. Thanks for always posting images with the 2x III. People are too afraid to use a 2x. I did tests yesterday with a Tawny Owl with the 600 II and 2x III. Amazing sharpness. I had 1/320, ISO 2500, put my hand on top of the lens and the head against the camera. Perfectly sharp. Canon has really outdone itself with the new lenses/extenders. The only thing that sucks is that my 7D cannot autofocus with f8. But with the 1DX AF is really fast with the 2x III on the 600 II.

    have fun in Africa. The leopard shot in the other post is awesome. My favorite African cat!

    Markus

  • avatar harvey tabin

    I really do not know where you find the strength to carry all that equipment. I would need an assistant or my wife. Great captures.

  • avatar Mark A Jordan

    Really like the tight face portrait. Love the detail. Great shot.

  • The image of the jumping Flightless Cormorant is stunning.

    Laurent