100-400 II/7D II Combo for Hand Held Flight and a Wind Against Sun Flight Tip « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

100-400 II/7D II Combo for Hand Held Flight and a Wind Against Sun Flight Tip


I spent pretty much all of Tuesday getting the gear situation for my two upcoming Alaska trips straightened out. Look forward to the “Alaska Trips Gear Bag” post on Thursday. I took one very long nap. I had a great Active Release Therapy session at True Sports Care with Dr. Dan Holland in Nesconset, Long Island. Right next to Smithtown.

John Armitage’s used Canon 400 mm f/4 IS DO lens sold in one day. There are lots more great buys below.

This blog post took more than 2 hours in all to prepare. It was published at 4:45am from my Mom’ home in Holbrook, NY on Wednesday, August 19, 2015.

Namibia IPT

If you missed the info on this great trip, please click here. So far we have assembled a cast of international participants: one from the US, two from South Africa, one from Hong Kong, and one from Australia. More than a few are world class photographic talent….

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past two months we have sold almost everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can see the complete listings here.

Brand New Listings

Used Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS Lens, the “old six”

Charles McRae is offering a used Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS lens in good to very good condition (with the expected wear and tear of use: paint chipped around the knobs and on the rear lens barrel near the mount) for the record low price of $4,799. The sale includes the lens trunk, a replacement low foot, the original low foot, and insured shipping via FedEx Ground. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Please contact Chas by by e-mail or by phone at home: 843-423-4767 or on his cellL 843 409 0837 (eastern time zone).

The old six was my go-to super-telephoto lens for well more than a decade, heck, probably for two decades if you include the monstrously heavy original version. Today I use and depend on the newer, lighter version, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens. Note, the new six sells for a hefty $11,499. The old six is super sharp, works great with both TCs, and offers near-maximum reach along with three focal lengths: 600, 840, and 1200…. At $200 less than the previous record-low BAA price, Dean’s 600 is priced to sell quickly. artie

Amazing Canon Starter Set

Walt Thomas is giving away an incredible starter package for only $1075. It includes a used Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM lens (cleaned and checked by Canon in July 2015), a used Canon EOS-7D, a used 28-135mm IS lens, and a used Speedlite 420 EX, all in excellent condition. And lots of extras including most of the original stuff (please e-mail for complete details), a 7D/100-400 lens holster, a neoprene 7D cover, four 8gb compact flash cards, and the camera strap. Your package will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Please contact Walt by e-mail or call him at (520)-495-5612 (Mountain time).

The old 100-400 is a great lens for new nature photographers, as is the old 28-135 IS, the forerunner of the 24-105. I made lots of great B-roll images with it. Also, check out “Mastering the 7D” by Dan Cadieux here. If you are looking to getting started in nature photography for not a lot of money, this is your lucky day. artie

Mint Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens

Walt Thomas is also offering a used Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro lens in mint condition for $749. The sale includes all original packaging, the lens case, the lens hood, and insured UPS ground shipping. Your lens will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Please contact Walt by e-mail or call him at (520)-495-5612 (Mountain time).

The 100 macro IS is denise’s very favorite flower lens and I have grown to love mine too. It is incredibly light and sharp and easy to hand hold. I would, however, strongly advise adding the Canon Tripod Mount Ring D for IS 100mm f/2.8L Macro lens. artie

Canon EOS-7D

Leonard Malkin is offering a used Canon EOS-7D in excellent condition for $499. The sale includes a 4gb compact flash card, the camera strap, the front body cap, both cables, the manual, a pocket guide, a camera specific guide book, and insured ground shipping via Fed Ex. Your camera will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Please contact Leonard by e-mail.

Be sure to check out check “Mastering the 7D” by Dan Cadieux here. artie


This image was created at 8:14am on the last morning of the Nickerson IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and the amazing Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop off the low blue sky: 1/3200 sec. at f/5.6.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The selected AF point was on the middle of the bird’s back. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Common Tern with baby bluefish for chick

100-400 LI II/7D II for Flight

As compared to the 400 DO/7DII combo for flight the plusses with the 100-400 II are its lighter weight and that it gives you the ability to zoom out when needed, the latter only if you are skilled enough to pull that off. Initial AF acquisition is a bit slower with the zoom because of the speed advantage of the 400 DO: f/4 vs. f/5.6. In addition, the 400 DO’s wider aperture is an all around advantage in low light situations.

A Wind Against Sun Flight Tip

With clear skies by 7am every day, the winds with westerly components made things consistently difficult: can you say wind against sun? Why? The birds are taking off, flying, and landing away from the light. That’s great if you like photographing bird butts. We did manage to find a very few situations where the birds flying into the west wind turned back to the south (to their left) either before diving for a baitfish or a sand crab or before dropping down to feed a chick.

On Sunday morning the wind must have been slightly different either in speed or direction: birds were flying over our right shoulders, approaching a small dune, and then turning left. “Here’s one coming on our right. It has a fish! Now, acquire focus and wait till it turns. Now! Make one or two images before the bird lands. Several in the group had stuck with the leader: Beth, Scott, and Chris. They were rewarded for their faith in me. We had consistent action for nearly an hour and we all had many excellent chances. Then the wind must have shifted slightly or the school of fish must have moved on because the action flat-out died. Thanks to Chris Billman who discovered the somewhat out-of-the-way location that held a few small, late-in-the-season Common Tern chicks.

During that session, I hit upon something totally new to improve my flight photography but I need to test my theory a bit more before deciding what to do with it. All I can say right now is that it worked like a charm on Sunday past. And only three folks besides me know about it 🙂


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8 comments to 100-400 II/7D II Combo for Hand Held Flight and a Wind Against Sun Flight Tip

  • avatar Frank Sheets

    If it’s as good as I suspect it is, it will be worth it..

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      🙂 It might be earth-shattering. Even if it works only with intermediate telephotos. I am hoping that it works as well with big glass…. a

  • avatar Frank Sheets

    I just hope your new theory on flight photography tests out positive, soon, and you are willing to share your results. Another great photo. Thanks.

  • avatar Scott Borowy

    I’d still like to know how many Common Tern butts Bill had pictures of from that productive flight spot!

    Looking forward to hearing more about your validation of that new theory. It was certainly a huge help at that time and place. I hope it becomes a universal tool for future flight photos.

    By the way that is an envious shot Artie. I was not able to capture a Common Tern that full in the frame. Practice practice practice!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Yup. I think that you meant Chris Billman….. He left too soon and came back a little bit late.

      Don’t forget that you can I had the same lens and the same camera body just different operators 🙂

      later and love, a

      • avatar Scott Borowy

        You are correct Artie, I meant The Billman. Almost has a superhero ring to it.

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Funny, I reread your original comment and realized something: when the birds landed to feed, the chicks did not really care about the wind direction, they cared about the fish. And do remember that we had some nice chances with the displaying adults. The point is that all is not completely lost with wind against sun–you just need to keep your eyes open and/or maybe get lucky…. a