My Busy Days at Home Just Even Got Busier; For All the Right Reasons…/100-400 II Versatility & 7D II Tip « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

My Busy Days at Home Just Even Got Busier; For All the Right Reasons.../100-400 II Versatility & 7D II Tip


Sunday was a triple-header day: swim, core exercises, and ice bath. And both a morning and afternoon sunset session. With some great results. Got some stuff done on the San Diego article for Nature Photographer Magazine. Ate well and took a nice nap. All in all a perfect day.

This blog post, the 116th in a row, took about 1 1/2 hours to prepare. It is scheduled to be published automatically at 1am on Monday morning.


This image was created at Indian Lake Estates late on Saturday afternoon with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 227mm) and the amazing Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f/5.6. K9000.

AI Servo Zone/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The AF system selected a single AF point two AF points above and one to the left of the center AF point. See the DPP 4 screen capture below to see how Zone AF performed.

Sandhill Crane head & shoulders silhouette with small in the frame sun

It’s All Dan Cadieux’s Fault…

Several years ago–I would not be surprised if it was actually four or five years, Dan Cadieux, BirdPhotographer’s.Net’s top Avian moderator, stopped by ILE for a night’s lodging, some good chow, and a helping of Sandhill Cranes. Dan was so hungry for cranes that he went down to the lake in the afternoon. I’d been living at ILE for well more than a decade at the time and had never been to the lake in the afternoon. Heck, Dan stayed for sunset and got some really nice crane silhouettes. I’d been thinking of that image for years and on Saturday night, for whatever reason, I head down to the lake at about 7:20pm. It was relatively easy pickings….

Now, I feel obligated, driven if you would, to get down to the lake at sunset on all but totally cloudy or rainy evenings…. It is Sunday night as I type and I just got back from the lake. I got some more amazing stuff. Sunset addiction….


DPP 4 Screen Capture

DPP 4 Screen Capture

When the sun was a bit higher in the sky, I had set -1/3 stop to keep from burning the sun. But as it kissed the horizon it was well muted so I needed to brighten the image by 1/3 stop. That’s +0.33 on the Brightness slider. Except for a slight crop from behind the bird this one is pretty much right out of camera. As you can see above center Zone AF performed superbly and using it usually makes it easy to create the composition that you want.

100-400 II Versatility & 7D II Tip

When going with the 7D II on an intermediate telephoto I almost always use the one without the battery grip to save weight. The more I use the 100-400 II the more I get comfortable handling it and working the zoom. I’ve noticed that if I concentrate on the in-viewfinder level that things get easier and easier with practice. The level is actually a lot easier to see than the invisible exposure analog scale….


You can order your copy of “The Photographers’ Guide to Canon Digital Photo Professional 4.0” (aka the DPP 4 Raw Conversion eGuide) by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris by clicking here.

The DPP 4 eGuide (PDF)

The Ideal Companion to the 7D Mark II User’s Guide

Learn how and why I and many other discerning photographers choose and use only DPP 4 to convert their Canon RAW files in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly. The latest version supports all of the newer Canon camera bodies and several older models including the EOS-7D and the EOS-1D Mark IV. A free update that will cover most of the newly added cameras will be sent as soon as I get it from Arash.


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

7D Mark II User’s Guide

You can purchase your copy right now in the BAA Online Store here for $59. Or call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 and place a phone order. 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.

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.

Click here and scroll down for a free 7D Mark II User’s Guide AF Point Auto Switching Excerpt.


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5 comments to My Busy Days at Home Just Even Got Busier; For All the Right Reasons…/100-400 II Versatility & 7D II Tip

  • avatar David Peake

    Hi Artie,
    Love that shot and I’m sure enjoying the blog.
    Your post from Dec15 2014 contains some of the best and most useful explanations on shooting modes that I have ever come across.
    That’s what Zack Arias would call ‘more signal, less noise’,
    Hope the IPT is going well.
    Another Artie- fact to add to my list.
    “I always knew that picture existed”
    Nice one Daniel. Thanks for sharing it with us.
    The next book title should be “The collected sayings of Artie Morris, blogger and bird photographer extraordinaire”
    Each saying to illustrated with an image . I would buy it!
    As always

  • avatar Nick Sharp

    Great shot. Artie.

  • Ha! Sometimes I’ll gladly take the blame 🙂 I remember you scrolling through my images on the camera’s LCD that evening. When you got to the crane silhouettes you looked at me and said something along the lines of “I always knew this picture existed”. I’m glad you got to create some for yourself. BTW, that was three years ago, almost to the day. The image looks great!

  • I’ve always loved your silhouettes shots.


  • avatar Bill Richardson

    Love that shot