5DS R Info and Other Updates including the skinny on the offending crane… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

5DS R Info and Other Updates including the skinny on the offending crane...


This image was created at Bosque del Apache on a rare morning off between IPTs with the Induro GIT 304L tripod/Mongoose M3.6-mounted BLUBB-supported Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III,, and the incredible Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/200 at f/6.3 in Av mode. AWB.

Center AF point (Manual selection)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s neck and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Say’s Phoebe, car as blind

Image Question

Why is the bird’s left eye (the one on our right) ever-so-slightly sharper than the bird’s right eye?

The 5DS R Image

With my 5DS R I have pretty much avoided photographing tiny-in-the frame birds and then executing huge crops as many have done. Today’s featured image was, however, a healthy crop from the original. The optimized TIFF is 84mb out of the original 144mb. If my math is correct, I have cropped away 42% of the original while keeping 58%. I’d call that a 42% crop. In any case, the image is quite sharp.

5DS R Info Updates

The Advanced Mirror control mechanism and shutter release time lag feature that I was rightfully confused about (in the blog post here) deals only with Mirror Lockup situations. Therefore, it has zero to do with bird photography and is of no interest to me.

Folks can download the EOS 5DS, EOS 5DS R Instruction Manual (PDF) by clicking here and then scrolling down a bit and clicking on Brochures. The Instruction Manual comes up as item one.

I asked Canon USA’s top tech rep, Chuck Westfall, if he knew of a link to a list of Canon-recommended lenses that are compatible with the 5DS R.

He replied, “There is intentionally no such list. The 5DS R is officially compatible with all Canon EF (but not EF-S) lenses. Generally speaking, best results will be obtained with L-series professional lenses as well as with select non-L EF prime lenses such as EF Macro, TS-E, etc.”


The Offending Crane…

The Offending Crane

In the extremely popular “On Photographing Piles of Cranes and Geese at Bosque del Apache NWR” blog post here, I asked, “Which crane bugs me?” Thanks to the many who left comments. Lots of different birds bothered lots of different folks but a few went directly to the bird singled out by the red arrow in the image above. Especially me.


#1: The offending crane was the only one in the row of cranes that was in relatively sharp focus that did not have a pleasing head position. I was fine with the sleeping birds and fine with the bird on the left frame edge that was looking straight ahead. I thought that that bird made for a perfect left side frame. And I was fine with the bird on the right that was looking out of the frame.

#2: The offending bird’s head was turned away from the viewer. We could not see any of its face. And, as one commenter noted, the small dark area just above the offending bird’s head was distracting. It was actually a shadow.

#3: Had the offending bird been sleeping it would have completed a perfect crescent of four sleeping cranes that would have been perfectly complimented by the aforementioned crane near the right frame edge.


Even though that single bird bugs me I love the image for its pleasing design and for the narrow depth of field encourages the viewer’s eye to move around the image from focused birds to de-focused birds both in the foreground and background and then back again. And I love the soft light.



Photos of Namibian dunes, dead trees, birds, and wildlife often grace prestigious natural history calendars and are honored annually in pretty much all of the top flight nature photography contests including and especially the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition and the Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice International Awards Contest. Both denise and I have long dreamed of visiting. Our dream is coming true. With four folks signed up before the tour was even announced, this trip is a go. Most traveling from the US will likely want to be on one of the direct flights to Johannesburg, South Africa from New York’s JFK (on April 13, 2015 so as to arrive in Windhoek on the 14th). In addition, we would both be thrilled to meet some of our overseas followers on this trip.

In addition to enjoying several world class nature photography locations, you will learn more than you ever thought possible via in-the-field instruction from two of the best and informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions at the lodge. We hope that you can join us.

The 2016 Namibia BIRDS AS ART/A Creative Adventure Instructional Photo-Safari: April 14-28, 2016 on the ground: $8999. Limit: 10 photographers/openings: 4.

Our truly great itinerary is below. This workshop was planned with the help of two BBC-honored local photographers with an intimate knowledge of the area who will act as our guides for the entire trip. This IPT will be co-led by Denise Ippolito and yours truly. The dates and the price are set in stone: April 14-28, 2016. 15/days/14 nights: $8999 from Windhoek, Namibia (Hosea Kutako International Airport, airport code WDH). Please contact me via e-mail if you would like to register. Then please fill out, print, and sign the Registration and Release forms that are linked to here. Then mail it to us here: PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates FL 33855 along with your $3,000 non-refundable deposit check made out to “Arthur Morris.”

The second payment of $3,000 is due on November 15, 2015 and the final payment of $2,999 is due on February 1, 2015. As with the deposit, checks only.

Single supplements may be available for parts (or all) of the trip. They will be quite expensive. Best not to ask 🙂 Please inquire as to availability. If you or we are unable to line up a same sex roommate for you, you will be charged the single supplement on a pro-rated basis.

Travel Insurance

Please understand that we need the deposits for international trips as arrangements must be paid in full far in advance. If everybody decides to cancel then we are sort left holding a very short straw 🙂 Seriously interested folks are urged to consider getting trip insurance within two weeks of sending their deposit checks. There are lots of options for US residnets with Travel Services Insurance (TSI). You can explore them here.

The Namibia IPT Itinerary

Day 1: April 14, 2016. Fly into Windhoek (Hosea Kutako International Airport, airport code WDH. Spend the night at River Crossing Lodge. Note: folks traveling from the US and many other destinations will need to depart on redeye flights on April 13th. You need to be sure that you will be in Windhoek on April 14, 2015!

Day 2: Early departure to QuiverTree Forest Lodge on the outskirts of Keetmanshoop. Here we will be able to capture the beauty of the magnificent QuiverTree forest as well as have access to the Giant Playground area for some spectacular landscape photography. The sessions will include afternoon and evening shoots, the latter with stars, milky way, and star trails photography. Night photography instruction will be provided. In addition, we will let you know in advance what lenses and accessories you will need for the night photography.

Day 3: After breakfast we depart for the luxurious Sossusvlei Dune Lodge for 3 nights inside Namib Naukluft National Park. The distance to Sossusvlei is about 550km and the trip should take about 7 hours. Thanks to our experienced guides we will enjoy unparalleled after hours access to dead tree scenics at Dead Vlei. Arrangements have been made to to leave the lodge in the mornings an hour before sunrise to capture the best possible lighting conditions. We will be visiting Dead Vlei and Dune 45. There is a fairly strenuous up-and-down hike to some of the best photo locations that should take really fit folks about 15-20 minutes and as much as 45 minutes for the older fit folks or those with a bad knee. Denise is in the former category, Artie fits in both of the latter categories :). At Sossusvlei two desert systems come together: the beautiful red dunes of the Kalahari desert and the breathtakingly stark Namib desert. The desert experience is a surreal and life-changing one and even the best images do not reflect the amazing beauty of these unique deserts. Deadvlei, with its ancient trees in the now dried up lake, is a feast for photographers who are looking for something stark, different, and dramatic. Along with the spectacular landscapes we should get to photograph some wildlife as well with chances for oryx and springbok among others.

Day 6: From Sossusvlei we head off to Swakopmund to spend some three nights at the Swakopmund Beach Hotel. One morning will head into the dunes to target species such as the Desert Chameleon, Horned Adder, Sand-Diving Lizards, and Palmato Gecko—the world’s cutest gecko. We will spend time photographing the amazing bird life in and around the Walvisbay area. The Salt Mine and bay area is especially productive with a huge selection of waders and other waterfowl along with large numbers of flamingoes. We will enjoy one chartered boat trip to target pelicans in flight. Those and a selections of skua’s and cormorants will keep the most discerning bird photographers happy. Afternoons in the area will be spent driving along the beach to the huge seal colonies and photographing their playful interactions and antics. A tentative schedule is below:

Day 7: Morning (private tour) Desert Experience photographing Palmato Gecko / Sidewinders / Desert Chameleon etc, etc. Afternoon we either shoot Pelican point for seals or Walvisbay for flamingos and more.

Day 8: Morning bay cruise with chartered boat shooting pelicans flying in . We will likely spend the afternoon with the seals at Pelican point.

Day 9: After breakfast we depart for Etosha; arrive that afternoon at Halali and spend 3 nights there. Just when you thought it could not get any better we head further north to the wide-open plains of Etosha. Here the wildlife spectacle is arguably one of the best in Africa. Etosha is home to not only the Big Five, but also a variety of other species such as Cheetah, Honey Badger, Oryx, Springbok, Dik-Dik, Black-Faced Impala, Eland, Ostrich and more. Depending on our route this could take as long as four hours to get to the park entrance and another 2 hours drive to Halali. We will travel about 400km

Day 12:. We wrap-up at Halali and move down to Okaukuejo where we will spend three nights. Okaukuejo Camp is famous for its large floodlit waterhole, the hub of animal activity especially in the early morning and early evening hours. We will see and photograph many species including and especially the endangered Black Rhino. There will be game drives during the say. For the night water hole photography flash is optional but recommended.

Day 15: April 28, 2016. We make the 4-5 hour drive back to Windhoek in time for your international flights.

This price of this tour includes:

All Accommodations.

All breakfasts and dinners.

Logistics make formal lunches impossible. There will, however, be a variety of snacks including nuts and cheeses along with sodas and bottled drinking water in each vehicle.

Bottled water at the lodges and in the vehicles. Also included at the lodges are soft drinks and sodas and local wines and liquors (excluding premium and imported hard drinks).

All transportation from the time you arrive in Windhoek to the time you leave again.

All park entrance fees

One extra-late night in Deadvlei where we will use NWR vehicles for transport.

The chartered boat activities in Walvisbay.

The Private Desert Experience tour in Swakopmund.

The price of this tour does not include:

Your flights to and from Windhoek.

Visa costs: no visa is needed for folks from the US and most other countries.

Gratuities and items of a personal nature.

The Bosque Site Guide

If you can’t make or afford a Bosque IPT, or if the holidays preclude your joining one, be sure to get yourself a copy of my Bosque Site Guide. All BAA Site Guides are designed so that with a bit of study you can show up at a great place and know exactly where to be at what time on what wind and in what lighting conditions. And on what wind. With a Site Guide on your laptop you will feel like a 22-year veteran on your first visit. Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. If you plan on visiting Bosque it would be foolish to make the trip without having this guide in hand. Why spend money on gear and travel and then spend days stumbling around in the wrong spot? If you have visited previously, and are still unsure of where you should be at this time of day with that wind, this guide will prove invaluable to you as well. Even folks visiting Bosque for the tenth time will learn a ton as I share my secrets and hold nothing back….

In the next week or so, I will be working on a very short but valuable information-packed 2015 Bosque Current Conditions Guide; it will be send free to all who have previously purchased the Bosque Site Guide and will also be available as an inexpensive, separate, stand-alone purchase.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. B&H is recommended for you major photography gear purchases, Amazon for your household, entertainment, and general purpose stuff. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod heads, Gitzo tripods, Wimberley heads and plates, LensCoats and accessories, and the like. We sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. I just learned that my account was suspended during my absence; it should be up and running by Monday at the latest.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and visiting the BAA Online store as well.


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