Day 5 Morning Wet Landing, Punta Espinoza, Fernandina-Part II
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders And you will love them in mega-cold weather….
Gitzo GT3532 LS CF Tripod. This one replaces the GT3530LS Tripod and will last you a lifetime. Learn more about this great tripod here.
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 Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
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.
BreezeBrowser. I do not see how any digital photographer can exist without this program.
Delkin Flash Cards. I use and depend on Delkin compact Flash Cards and card readers most every day. Learn more about their great 700X and 1000X cards here or about my favorite Delkin card here.