Finally. Success After 10 Days and More Than Two Decades of Trying/100-400 II Versatility–the 2nd of a Series « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Finally. Success After 10 Days and More Than Two Decades of Trying/100-400 II Versatility--the 2nd of a Series

What’s Up?

Sunday was packing day. Or night 🙂 Lots to do. But I still found time to get out to the cliffs one last time. This blog post, which took about an hour to prepare, was published at 9:01PM Pacific time on Sunday evening, one minute after midnight (on Monday) in the east. I fly home early on Monday morning. Very early. The alarm is set for 3:00am PT.

There are two new openings on the long sold out Palouse #1 IPT. See below for details.

I will be sharing additional 100-400 images along with additional positives and a very few negatives on the new lens. I used the 100-400 II a lot on my San Diego trip with both the 1D X and the 7D II and on occasion, with the 1.4X III TC. I shot most of the morning on Thursday and then again on Saturday with the hand held 1-4 II and the 1D X. With great results. More images and more comments soon.

South Georgia October 2015

Do consider joining me in South Georgia next October for the trip of a lifetime. See here for the complete details.

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Register now for the South Georgia trip and receive a $242 on your return airfare. Please e-mail for details.

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This image was created with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 349mm) and the Canon EOS-1D X . ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual Mode. Rig on the Black Rapid RS-7 Strap.

One AF point below the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure (as is almost always best when hand holding). Click on the image to see a larger version.

Success After 10 Days and More Than Two Decades of Trying…

The last time that I created a La Jolla Pelican head throw image that I really liked was more than 25 years ago. The last one, on film, was a BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year honored image. They ain’t easy. Every year I show up hoping to create another special one and this year was no exception. Many times on this trip every thing was lined up perfectly: clean background of Pacific blue or sky, square to the bird, exposure checked, shutter speed more than enough. Each time the bird would pull its bill pouch down over its neck–usually a sure sign that an elegant head throw was coming, and then quit just as I was thinking, “This is gonna be it. I am gonna be famous.”

Finally, on Sunday morning, February 8, 2015, everything was again set up perfectly. Only this time, after the bill pouch cleaning, the bird did what it was supposed to do. I made sure to go vertical and zoom out and created a series of four good ones. The first of those, is presented above. It was a very long drought…

Hand Holding the 100-400 II for Head Throws

I had thought that hand holding the 100-400 II for head throws would be more challenging than working with the 200-400 with the Internal TC on a tripod. I was wrong. Hand holding the much lighter lens allows for much freedom. By sitting and resting my left forearm on my left knee while waiting for the signs of an impending head toss I was able to completely avoid any fatigue.


Card and design by Denise Ippolito. Scroll down here to see lots more of Denise’s Palouse images.

Palouse #1. The Palouse A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT)/Eastern Washington State. May 29-June 2, 2015/5 Full Days: $1699/Limit 12 photographers/Two openings due to a recent cancellation.


Card and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

The Palouse A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT)/Eastern Washington State. June 5-9, 2015/5 Full Days: $1699/Limit 12 photographers/Openings 1.

Rolling farmlands provide a magical patchwork of textures and colors, especially when viewed from the top of Steptoe Butte where we will likely enjoy spectacular sunrises and possibly a nice sunset or two. We will photograph grand landscapes and mini-scenics of the rolling hills and farm fields. We will take you to some really neat old abandoned barns and farmhouses in idyllic settings. There is no better way to improve your compositional and image design skills and to develop your creativity than to join us for this trip. Two great leaders: Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris. Photoshop and image sharing sessions when we have the time and energy…. We get up early and stay out late and the days are long.

After 6 days of back-breaking scouting work in early June 2014 we found all of the iconic locations and, in addition, lots of spectacular new old barns and breath-taking landforms and views. We will teach you what makes one situation prime and another seemingly similar one a waste of your time.

What’s included: In-the-field instruction, guidance, lessons, and inspiration, our newfound but very extensive knowledge of the area, all lunches, motel lobby breakfasts, and Photoshop and image sharing sessions when possible.

You will learn and hone both basic and advanced compositional and image design skills. You will learn to get the right exposure every time. You will learn to develop your creative eye. You will learn the basics of HDR (high dynamic range) photography. You will learn a variety of in-camera creative techniques; Canon 5D Mark III bodies are a plus. And most importantly you will learn to see the situation and to create a variety of top-notch images. Do see both of our blogs for lots more on that in the coming weeks. You will learn how the quality and direction of light combine to determine the success of your images. And–please don’t gasp–we will be working quite a bit with sidelight when creating landscapes. Lastly, we will be touching on infrared photography.

A non-refundable $699 deposit is due now. The balance will be due on January 29, 2015. 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.

With the unpredictable nature of the photography business, I have not said this often lately, but it seems quite likely that this one will fill up very quickly. Please let me know via e-mail that you will be joining us. Then you can either call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 during business hours or send us a check; the latter is preferred.

Please send your deposit check made out to “Arthur Morris” to us at Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.


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24 comments to Finally. Success After 10 Days and More Than Two Decades of Trying/100-400 II Versatility–the 2nd of a Series

  • avatar task

    The combo package of the Canon 7D Mark II and the new 100-400 is certainly deadly. It gets even better when you consider that auto focus remains active when using the 1.4 extender. I haven’t used the extender yet but have seen several posts that suggest the depreciation in image quality is more noticeable than they expected. Since they may not be using the combinations correctly in terms of shutter speed, ISO, stability etc. I would appreciate your input since you always maximize performance and will recognize where errors are most likely to occur. Thanks.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Please direct them to Image #5 in the blog post here. Then suggest that they work on improving their sharpness techniques. The only thing of merit in their comments deals with the apparent effectiveness of the IS system. They forget that they are no longer working at 560mm (400 X 1.4) but are effectively hand holding at 896mm (560 X 1.6). Once they realize that, the can start looking in the mirror to reveal operator error 🙂


      ps: I will be featuring additional 100-400 II/1.4X/7D II images in future blog posts so be sure to suggest that they subscribe to the blog. All must remember that the 7D II/1.4X III/100-400 II is a two-edged sword….

  • avatar Geoff

    Congrats on that shot. Although I’ve been enjoying the pelicans, I do hope you will be posting more from the Southern Oceans trip. I’m sure after 29 days down there you have a lot more great images.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I will be doing just that. But I need you to join me in South Georgia this coming OCT. 🙂 a

  • avatar Bob Smith

    Congratulations Arthur. Moments such as you describe are what makes our passions worthwhile–with such a gorgeous image as the payoff. I am so glad to have discovered your blog and BPN to guide and inspire me as I stumble along the road of trying to become a bird photographer.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Bob and Sarah below. Everyone here can learn a ton from BPN, including me 🙂 artie

  • avatar Sarah Mayhew

    Persistence usually pays off! Great image!

  • avatar Josh

    Amazing photos Artie! I’m using the original 400mm f/4 DO as my over the shoulder lens. I’m considering the purchase of the new 100-400. Outside of the zoom, do you see any image quality advantages since you’ve used both now? Results sure look top notch. I’ll have to compare the weights as well.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Amazingly, I’d give the IQ edge to the new 100-400 II. But do understand that they are two different animals. You need to consider the 400 DO II,,,,, Lots of great choices with Canon right now. artie

  • avatar DAVE DRAKE

    Artie: Thanks for a great SAN DIEGO IPT. Pat and I learned a lot. We got partial head throws. Maybe we can cut and paste to get one good one. But, as you know, I’m not into post processing. I’ll just have to be satisfied enjoying your artistry.

    Thank again,

    Dave and Pat

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      You two are most welcome. You are a lucky man as Pat is a doll :). Safe travels. And yes, I clipped dozens of bill tips with other head throws so you are in good company. artie

  • avatar Ted Willcox


  • avatar David Policansky

    Spectacular image, congratulations, Artie! But do you think it really will make you famous? 🙂 🙂

    As we have discussed, photography is like fishing in that you really need to put a lot of time in, and it needs to be planned time, thoughtful time.

  • avatar Charles Scheffold

    Nice shot Artie! Guess they finally decided to cooperate.

    Just FYI – the B&H link under the image is pointing to the old model of the 100-400 instead of the II version.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Charles. I did that yesterday :(. It is fixed and will not happen again. artie

  • avatar Loren Charif

    Congrats on finally getting the shot you wanted! Persistence pays! It’s awesome.

  • avatar Bill Richardson


  • avatar SMF

    Congratulations on repeating your success with the pelican after such a long period of attempts.
    Thanks very much for posting one of the succesful images.
    Best wishes.

  • avatar Andy

    Worth the wait I’d say.

  • Hopefully ‘prudence’ stayed in bed 🙂


  • avatar Gary Axten

    Lovely image, 25 years is a lot of patience!