More 100-400 II/7D II Versatility/Teaching them too well forced me to use dramatic raking sidelight… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

More 100-400 II/7D II Versatility/Teaching them too well forced me to use dramatic raking sidelight...


While I was away I learned that my 2013 tax return was being audited at the end of this month. Our records are excellent so it will just be a large inconvenience (gathering everything that has been requested) and a large expense (hiring my excellent accountant, a retired IRS agent, to respond to the audit. Jennifer has done a great deal of the work and now it is my turn to chip in.

This blog post took about 1 1/2 hours to assemble and should be published automatically at 6am on Saturday, September 12, 2015. Please remember to use my B&H affiliate links for your major gear purchases. Many thanks for considering that request.

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 few weeks we have sold nearly 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 all of the current listings here.

Brand New Listing/Lowest Price Ever/With Lots of Extras!

Canon EOS-7D

Ravi S. Hirekatur is offering a used Canon EOS 7D in excellent condition for a BAA lowest-ever price of $449. The sale includes the Canon Battery grip (BG-E7), the battery charger (LC-E6), the cable, the Manual and CD, 1 battery ( LP-E6), and the front cap. It also comes with RRS L plate. The shutter count is 38K. Also included is insured shipping via FED-Ex Ground. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ravi by e-mail at e-mail or by phone at 608-217-9593 Central time.

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

Sold: early September, 2015

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


This image was created at North Seymour on the last morning of the recently concluded Galapagos Photo-Cruise with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 255mm) and the amazing Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400: 1/2500 sec. at f/5.6 was about -1 stop and was confirmed by histogram check. AWB.

Three AF points down from the center AF point (Manual selection)/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The single AF point rested squarely on the iguana’s eye. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Land Iguana, large yellow male sidelit by early morning light

Teaching them too well forced me to use dramatic raking sidelight…

I plan my Galapagos trips to coincide with weather that is generally cloudy bright without much rain at all; these conditions are ideal when photographing nature near the equator. It was sunny on our first afternoon and then again when we landed at Urbina Bay. Each time I intoned, “Point your shadow at the subject.” Most folks listened…. On our last morning we enjoyed gorgeous early morning light for one hour and then the welcomed clouds arrived.

As I came around a curve in the path at 7:02 am–as usual we had been the first boat to land, that at 6am sharp–I saw that many in the group were photographing this bright yellow specimen of land iguana. All were in good position with their shadows pointed roughly at the subject. There were four folks sitting tightly packed with four more standing behind them. I hoped and prayed that the gorgeous male would stay put until the boys and girls tired of it. Nobody quit.

I was to the left of the group and noted that with the angle of the creature, facing well left of sun angle, I might be able to work with the raking sidelight and wind up with a black background. So I went to work. As regular readers know I am not a big fan of sidelight, especially for birds, but I was thrilled with the results here.

What do you think?

100-400 II/7D II Versatility

The more I use this combo on sunny days the more I come to love it: lots of reach, quality image files at ISOs below 800, a wide range of focal lengths, and amazing close focus. In part. I used this same rig on that very same morning to create the “Whimsical Flight Pose” frigatebird featured in the blog post here. Did I mention that the 100-400 II is a great flight lens?


This image was created on the last morning of the 2015 Galapagos Photo-Cruise with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 400mm) and the Canon EOS 7D MK II.. ISO 400. Spot Metering (!) +2 1/3 stops off the sky: 1/1250 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB.

Center AF point (Manual selection)/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The active AF point just caught the bottom of the frigatebird’s inflated pouch. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Male frigatebird in flight with inflated pouch

Is it Real or is it Photoshop?

In that post, I asked of the image above, is it real or is it Photoshop? Folks came up with all sorts of answers included that I created the bird from parts of other birds. The reality is that I made two images in the series. The first featured a nice pose and a razor sharp eye. As fate would have it, the eye in the second image, the one with the whimsical pose and the perfectly placed mountain, was slightly soft. So I used a Quick Mask of the sharp eye to cover the soft eye and refined that layer with a Regular Layer Mask. Other than that was only a very small crop from the left and from below.


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6 comments to More 100-400 II/7D II Versatility/Teaching them too well forced me to use dramatic raking sidelight…

  • Good Morning Art,
    Just want to thank you for the tip on using continuous autofocus (nikonspeak for AI Servo/active at point of exposure) when handholding an image stabilized lens. Thanks also for your blog which I visit almost daily. I would love to attend one of your IPT’s… Perhaps someday when the planets align!
    Thanks again,
    Rick Alvarnaz

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      YAW. Until you can make it to an IPT please remember to use our B&H and Amazon links for all of your purchases. Doing so will not cost you a dime and helps me out a lot 🙂 artie

  • avatar David Peake

    Hi Artie.
    Rules are good for lots of things but you should only follow them 100% of the time.
    For the rest of the time, break the rules as often as you need to.
    Just make sure you know what you are doing and why.
    Seems like this was the case here.
    Very creative. I doubt I would have seen it.
    When I get on an IPT, just so you know, you will have a new shadow.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks and good plan on staying close. Folks on IPTs do not stay close enough and generally do not ask enough questions 🙂 a

  • avatar Walt Thomas - Tucson

    Thanks for the comment on my starter set sale. Happy to say it was shipped to its new owner just this week up in Warwick RI. You were busy in AK so I figured I’d wait until you got your feet back on the ground to mention that.

    The all but brand new 100mm L IS Macro is still looking for it’s new home…it’s a great lens to have in anyone’s set of camera goodies. let me know how to handle payment to you for starter set.