Canon 7D II/100-400mm II AF Expand Flight Four Ways « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Canon 7D II/100-400mm II AF Expand Flight Four Ways

What’s Up?

Things got back to normal today with a nice swim, my core exercises, and an ice bath. Though I was a bit jet-lagged by mid-morning I got lots of stuff done. This blog post took about 3 hours to prepare (including the four image optimizations) and was published from my home at ILE, FL early on Wednesday morning. Today marks 77 straight days with a brand new educational blog post.

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western-gull-pre-dawn-blur-_y8a0640-morro-bay-ca

This image was created at Morro Bay with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 148mm) and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 640. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/30 sec. at f/5.0 in Tv mode. Color temperature: 9000 K.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Western Gull pre-dawn blur

Low Light Pleasing Blur Techniques are Easily Learned

As I do at Bosque and other locations, I taught a large group of folks to create pleasing flight blurs in the predawn by working in Tv mode as above, working in Auto ISO (or setting ISO Safety Shift as I do with all of my camera bodies), and adding from one to nearly three stops of light to the exposure (depending on the tonality of the background–the lighter the background, the dumber the meter is and the more light you need to add to get data well into the fifth histogram box). If there is even a hint of color you can set your color temperature to Kelvin and dial in anywhere from 7000 to 10000 K to juice things up a bit.

Many of the Canon Morro Bay Destination Workshop participants created some really nice pleasing blurs on our first morning after only three minutes of instruction….


western-gull-adult-in-flgiht-_y8a1242-morro-bay-ca

This image was created at Morro Bay with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 100mm) and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop of the pale blue sky: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #2: Western Gull adult in flight

AF Expand for Flight

I am quickly coming to realize that AF Expand is the best AF Area Selection mode for me when it comes to photographing birds in flight. If you are more skilled than I am at keeping the active AF point on the bird’s eye, face, or even neck then central AF point (manual selection) might be best for you. Note that what I call AF Expand (for simplicity’s sake), Canon calls “AF Point expansion:top/bottom/left/right.”


california-gull-in-flight-_y8a1036-morro-bay-ca

This image was created at Morro Bay with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 188mm) and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops off the pale grey sky: 1/3200 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #3: California Gull adult in flight

AF Expand for Flight/Image Sharpness

My custom AF Case setting–I re-do Case 3 as I see that as the least useful of the six for bird and nature photography–contributes quite a bit to the consistent sharpness that I am getting with the 7D II/100-400II combo. For a free excerpt from the 7D II User’s Guide that deals with AF point auto switching issues, see the blog post here. Those who own the 5D III User’s Guide or the 1D X AF Guide will also benefit from a careful reading of the material covered there. I advise a careful reading as several folks have written asking whether 0, 1, or 2 is best for them… As the excerpt states, it depends on your skill level. I have surprised myself to some degree by achieving consistently sharp images with AF point auto switching set to 0.

Morro Bay’s March Gulls

There are many hundreds if not thousands of Western Gulls in the region in March along with a smattering of Ring-billed Gulls. The Westerns breed on Morro Rock. Surprisingly, California Gull is typically hard to find and photograph both in Morro Bay and in San Diego. I did see and photograph a single Heerman’s Gull in Morro Bay; they will arrive in numbers as summer begins.


ring-billed-gull-in-flight-_y8a1277-morro-bay-ca

This image was created at Morro Bay with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 200mm) and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop off the pale grey sky: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #4: Ring-billed Gull adult in flight

Background Considerations

As the birds came down to our proffered offerings I suggested to folks that they try and time the shutter release so as to include the distant fog-enshrouded hillside. As I did here.

Your Favorite?

Please keep the blog interactive and leave a comment as to which of the four featured images you like best and be sure to let us know why you made your choice.


7d-ii-ug

The 7D Mark II User’s Guide is now available. You can purchase your copy right now in the BAA Online Store here for $59.

7D Mark II User’s Guide

The long-awaited 7D Mark II User’s Guide was published 15 days ago. Nearly 300 have been sold to rave reviews. You can purchase your copy right now in the BAA Online Store here for $59. This is the highest priced user’s guide ever, surpassing the 5D II User’s Guide that is priced at $50. Why? I did twice as much work preparing the 7D II Guide. It required many days of writing, many dozens of hours of study and research, not to mention hundreds of hours in the field trying to figure out the best 7D II setting while doing what I love to do best, photographing birds and nature. The camera is quite complex. Many thanks to both Rudy Winston and Chuck Westfall of Canon USA for their help in getting me through the stickiest parts.

The guide contains 23,196 words in 516 paragraphs. There are 24 photos and screen captures interspersed in the main body of the text and a gallery of 23 additional 7D II images that show what the camera is capable of with a variety of lens and lens/TC combinations. We would love your feedback.

The Great Strength of the 7D Mark II User’s Guide

The very great strength of the 7D Mark II User’s Guide is the coverage of the autofocus system. I review in detail all of the items on the five pink AF Menus. Most important of these is the Custom Case setting (at AF 1) that I have developed over time and currently use for all of my bird photography. On the recently concluded Hooptie Deux Spoonbills and more IPT John Johnson of Naples, FL mentioned that he was having trouble producing sharp flight images. I set up my Custom Case on his camera, and within minutes he was amazed at the sharp results that he was getting…. While skill, strength, fine motor control, and superior hand eye coordination are all factors that will influence your success as a flight photographer, you can have all of the preceding in spades but if your camera is not set up properly much of your effort will be in vain….

What Else is in the Guide?

In the 7D Mark II User’s Guide you will learn everything that I know about the important topics listed below, and better yet, I explain the options for each along with my reasons for choosing a specific setting in a specific situation.

5D III exposure fine points
Handling the WHITEs
The top LCD and all camera control buttons
7D Mark II drive modes
How to manually select an AF sensor
Choosing an AF Area Selection Mode; how and why (includes extensive detail)
Moving the AF point or Zone
The creation of in-camera Multiple Exposures and in-camera HDR images (includes extensive detail)
Live View Shooting and AF choices (all new in the 7D II)
Menu Item Access
Coverage of almost all Menu Items and Custom Functions including the following: Image Quality, Auto Lighting Optimizer, Lens aberration corrections settings, Highlight Tone Priority, AF Configuration Tool (as above, this includes details on the custom setting that I use), Acceleration/deceleration tracking, Tracking sensitivity, Lens drive when AF impossible, Orientation linked AF point (I love this feature), Highlight alert, Histogram display–do you know how to access both histograms at once?, Auto rotate, Image Jump, LCD Brightness, Info button display options, Custom Shooting Modes set-up, ISO Safety shift, using the Q button, setting up rear focus, and setting up your My Menu feature (among others).

The guide is–of course–written in my informal, easy-to-follow style.

Please note: Some Menu items are not covered in this guide for one of several reasons:

They deal only with the creation of movies (not covered)
They are irrelevant to nature photography.
After spending hours studying the 7D II Instruction Manual and consulting others I have no clue as to the purpose or the reason for the existence of a given feature.

Though I recommend that the irrelevant and confusing items be left at the default settings, I do, in most cases, I refer you to the relevant page in the 7D II Instruction Manual. If you follow up, it just might turn out that you are a lot smarter than me. In those cases I would love to hear from you via e-mail. So far none of the above have prevented me from creating many spectacular images with my 7D II.

Please note that this guide does not contain a table of contents or an index. To search the document for a given topic simply hit Control F to search. When the Find box pops up, simply type the term that you are looking for into the field and hit Next. This will allow you to find what you are looking for quickly and efficiently.

If you purchase the 7D II UG and it helps you to create better images, please feel free to send no more than two 1200 pixel wide or 900 pixel tall sharpened JPEGs to me via e-mail along with your comments. I will be glad to do a short critique if so requested.

Otherwise, feedback via e-mail or blog comment is always appreciated.

a-guide-to-pleasing-blurs

A Guide to Pleasing Blurs

Pleasing blurs are not, as some folks believe, out of focus mistakes. If you would like to learn how to create these increasingly popular images, get yourself a copy of “A Guide to Pleasing Blurs” by Denise Ippolito and yours truly.


bosque-2014-a-card

In 2015, we are offering a 3-DAY IPT before Thanksgiving and a 4-DAY IPT after the holiday. You can attend either and spend Thanksgiving Day with your family. Sign up for both and we will be glad to apply a $100 discount to your balance. We know that there are lots of less costly workshops being offered these days. Many of them are downright cheap. Please remember that you get exactly what you pay for. With us you will have two full time pros there for you every minute we are in the field. Together they have more than 28 seasons of experience at the refuge. If you want the finest in photographic instruction and want to be assured of being in the right spot at exactly the right time every day, do join us.

Bosque del Apache 2015 BIRDS AS ART/A Creative Adventure Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT). 3-FULL DAY IPT: NOV 22-24, 2015. $1149. Two great leaders: Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris. Meet and greet and introductory slide program after dinner on your own at 7:00pm on SAT NOV 21.

Tens of thousands of Snow Geese, 10,000 Sandhill Cranes, ducks, amazing sunrises, sunsets, and blast-offs. Live, eat, and breathe photography with two of the world’s premier photographic educators at one of their very favorite photography locations on the planet. Top-notch in-the-field and Photoshop instruction. This will make 21 consecutive Novembers at Bosque for artie. This will be denise’s 7th workshop at the refuge. Nobody knows the place better than artie does. Join us to learn to think like a pro, to recognize situations and to anticipate them based on the weather, especially the sky conditions, the light, and the wind direction. Every time we make a move we will let you know why. When you head home being able to apply what you’ve learned on your home turf will prove to be invaluable.

This workshop includes 3 morning and 3 afternoon photography sessions, an inspirational introductory slide program after dinner on your own on Saturday, 11/21, all lunches, and after-lunch digital workflow, Photoshop, and image critiquing sessions.

There is never a strict itinerary on a Bosque IPT as each day is tailored to the local conditions at the time and to the weather. We are totally flexible in order to maximize both the photographic and learning opportunities. We are up early each day leaving the hotel by 5:30 am to be in position for sunrise. We usually photograph until about 10:30am. Then it is back to Socorro for lunch and then a classroom session with the group most days. We head back to the refuge at about 3:30pm each day and photograph until sunset. We will be photographing lots of Snow Geese and lots of Sandhill Cranes with the emphasis on expanding both your technical skills and your creativity.

A $449 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 7/25/2015. 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.

Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris.”) You can also leave your deposit with a credit card by calling the office at 863-692-0906. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.


bosque-cardlarger

In 2015, we are offering a 3-DAY IPT before Thanksgiving and a 4-DAY IPT after the holiday. You can attend either and spend Thanksgiving Day with your family. Sign up for both and we will be glad to apply a $100 discount to your balance.

We know that there are lots of less costly workshops being offered these days. Please remember that you get exactly what you pay for. If you want the finest in photographic instruction and want to be assured of being in the right spot at exactly the right time, do join us.

Bosque del Apache 2015 BIRDS AS ART/A Creative Adventure Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT). 4-DAY IPT: (three full and two 1/2 DAYS) NOV 28-DEC 2, 2015. $1499. Two great leaders: Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris. Meet and greet at 3pm on SAT NOV 28 followed by an afternoon photo session at the crane pools and the introductory slide program after dinner on your own.

Tens of thousands of Snow Geese, 10,000 Sandhill Cranes, ducks, amazing sunrises, sunsets, and blast-offs. Live, eat, and breathe photography with two of the world’s premier photographic educators at one of their very favorite photography locations on the planet. Top-notch in-the-field and Photoshop instruction. This will make 21 consecutive Novembers at Bosque for artie. This will be denise’s 7th workshop at the refuge. Nobody knows the place better than artie does. Join us to learn to think like a pro, to recognize situations and to anticipate them based on the weather, especially the sky conditions, the light, and the wind direction. Every time we make a move we will let you know why. When you head home being able to apply what you’ve learned on your home turf will prove to be invaluable.

This workshop includes 4 afternoon (11/28through 12/1), 4 morning (11/29 to 12/2) photography sessions, an inspirational introductory slide program after dinner on your own on Saturday, 11/28, all lunches, and after-lunch digital workflow, Photoshop, and image critiquing sessions.

There is never a strict itinerary on a Bosque IPT as each day is tailored to the local conditions at the time and to the weather. We are totally flexible in order to maximize both the photographic and learning opportunities. We are up early each day leaving the hotel by 5:30 am to be in position for sunrise. We usually photograph until about 10:30am. Then it is back to Socorro for lunch and then a classroom session with the group most days. We head back to the refuge at about 3:30pm each day and photograph until sunset. We will be photographing lots of Snow Geese and lots of Sandhill Cranes with the emphasis on expanding both your technical skills and your creativity.

A $599 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 7/25/2015. 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.

Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris.”) You can also leave your deposit with a credit card by calling the office at 863-692-0906. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

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3 comments to Canon 7D II/100-400mm II AF Expand Flight Four Ways

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    Image #4 is my favourite. I like the head turn, the position of the wings and the way the tail feathers are spread out and I like the landing gear down, also neat background!!

  • Its almost a dead tie for me between #1 and #4. I’ve always loved
    your blurs and/or silhouettes, but #4’s background is so cool.

    Doug

  • avatar Maggi Fuller

    Certainly not the blur…. sorry! I can’t make my mind up between the third or fourth image, both great!