Priceless. The EOS 5DS R/100-400II Rock the Snow Monkey Park: Piggy Back Rider & Exposure Lesson « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Priceless. The EOS 5DS R/100-400II Rock the Snow Monkey Park: Piggy Back Rider & Exposure Lesson

What’s Up?

We enjoyed another great day at the Monkey Park. There were lots of tender moments, lots of interactions, and lots of fights; good luck photographing those! There is a new small restaurant at the bottom of the hill so we quit early and enjoyed the world’s greatest hot chocolate and some pretty good coffee. Our bus arrived just a bit early for the five minute ride back to the hotel. After a nice break with too much napping we enjoyed another amazing ten course traditional Japanese dinner. Then early to bed and much too early to rise. Today is our last at the Monkey Park. Tomorrow we head for Hokkaido.


I learned recently that eBay recently more than doubled its fees to sellers; they are now in the 13% range…



B&H contributed generously as the primary SDNHM exhibition sponsor. Thank them (and me for the blog) by clicking on the logo link above to shop.


This image was created at the Snow Monkey Park in Nagano, Japan with the the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens at 220mm and the mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +3 stops off the snow: 1/320 sec. at f/6.3.

Two AF points above the center AF point/AI Servo Surround/Shutter Button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding).

Snow Monkey with young

5DS R/100-400II Combo

I photographed all day yesterday with the 5DS R and the 100-400 II hand held. It is lightweight and thus much easier to get into position than when working on a tripod. With the great 4-stop IS system I’ve been working at shutter speeds as slow as 1/100 sec. and getting sharp results. The versatility and close focus are amazing and yesterday I added the 1.4X III TC when I needed extra reach. One huge advantage of using the 5DS R with a zoom lens is that you can always frame a bit wider to avoid clipping anything and then have more than enough pixels for a quality cropped image. Today’s featured photo is a small crop from the right, the top, and the bottom. All in all, priceless.

Exposure Lesson

With too many images from the first afternoon a bit underexposed, I decided to shoot everything in Manual mode at +3 stops off the shaded snow. This leaves much of the snow blinking but yields a great exposure for the monkeys. Ninety-nine percent of the photography with the Snow Monkeys is done in the shade of the hillsides; the monkey onsen is always in the shade. A big plus that comes with working so light is that the zillions of monkey footprints in each frame pretty much disappear.

Shooting Strategy

Get yourself a good spot that offers the possibility of a clean background, and then be patient; wait for the shot or the action to come to you…

Selling Your Used 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 months, we have sold just about 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. Even the prices on the new 600 II and the 200-400 with Internal Extender have been plummeting. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the right side of the yellow-orange menu bar above.

To say that sales recently have been brisk would be a huge understatement:

  • The sale of Phil Frigon’s Canon 200-400 f/4L IS with Internal Extender for $8995 is pending.
  • Carl Zanoni’s three Series III TCs sold instantly for $279 each and I the sale of one of his 1D X bodies is pending.
  • David Ramirez sold his Think Tank rolling bag.
  • Multiple IPT veteran Steve Leimberg sold his used Canon EOS 7D Mark II.
  • The sale of John Norris’s 1D X is also pending.
  • Saul Pleeter sold his Nikon D600 DSLR camera body in near-new condition for $630 in early February, 2016.
  • Douglas Bolt sold his Canon 400mm f/5.6L lens in excellent condition for $699 in mid-January 2016.
  • I purchased Mark Hodgson’s 1.4X and 2X TCs in like-new condition in mid-January, 2016 for $279 each before they were even listed.
  • Multiple IPT veteran Steve Leimberg sold his 1D-X in excellent plus condition for the full asking price, $2999, on the first day it was listed.
  • Roberta Olenick sold her Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS USM lens in near-mint condition for $2950 USD in mid-January.
  • Erik Hagstrom sold his Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens in excellent condition for a ridiculously low $1275 in late January.
  • Patrick Sparkman also sold his Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens (in excellent condition) on Feb 2k 2016 for $849 two days after it was listed.
  • Multiple IPT veteran Patrick Sparkman sold his EOS 7D Mark II in like-new condition for the full asking price on day 1: $1149.
  • Don Mullaney sold his Canon 600mm f/4L IS II lens in mint condition for $9499, the full asking price, on February 1, 2016.
  • Gregg Hunt sold his 7D Mark II sold for $999, the full asking price, on January 31, 2016.
  • Mark Hodgson sold his Canon 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens in mint condition $7499 within days of listing at the end of January, 2016.
  • Mark Hodgson also sold his Canon 5D Mark III the Canon BG-E11 battery grip and two Canon batteries for $1899 in very late January, 2016.
  • And his mint Series III TC set to me for $558 before it was even listed.
  • Sash Dias sold his Nikon D4 body in excellent condition for $2399 the day after it was listed in late January, 2016.
  • Bill Fraser sold his 1D Mark IV body in excellent condition for $1299 at the end of January, 2016.
  • Multiple IPT veteran Brent Bridges sold his used Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in excellent condition for $4599 in late January, 2016.
  • Saul Pleeter sold his Sony Alpha a7R Mirrorless Digital Camera in near-new condition for $799 on the first day it was listed in late January 2016.
  • Mark Hodgson sold his Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens in very good plus condition for $599 within a day of listing in late January 2016.
  • Bill Condon sold his Canon 500mm f/4L IS USM lens in near-mint condition for $4199 on the first day it was listed in late January 2016.
  • Walt Thomas sold his used Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro lens in mint condition for $749 in late January.

There are still lots of great items listed. Again, you can see all of these great buys by clicking here.

New Listings

Nikon D4 dSLR Professional Camera Body

Sash Dias is offering another used Nikon D4 body, this one in better condition than the last for $2549; this one is in mint condition. It is a barely used Nikon USA model that has less than 15k shutter actuations. The sale includes the front body cap, a Nikon MH-26 dual battery charger, the En-EL-18 battery, all the manuals, the USB cable for connecting the camera directly to your computer, a bonus Sony XQD card reader (no card is included), and insured shipping via US postal service Priority Mail. Photos are available upon request.

Please contact Sash by e-mail­­­ or by phone at 508-439-1097 (Eastern time).

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Record-Low BAA Price: $1599.

Ted Krug is offering a used Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR Camera in excellent condition for the record low BAA price of $1599. The sale includes the camera, the strap, the battery, the front cover, 2 CDs and the manual, 2 connecting cables, the original shipping and product boxes, and insured ground shipping via major courier. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ted by e-mail.

I have used the 5D III for birds on occasion with excellent results, even with the 2X III TC and the 600 II. It has long been my go-to dSLR for flowers, landscapes, and Urbex photography. In my experience, the quality of the image files is second only to those from the 5DS R. artie

Price Reductions

Canon 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6L IS Zoom Lens

Price reduced $30.
New Record-Low BAA Price: $599.

Doug Bolt is offering a used Canon 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6L IS zoom lens (the old 1-4) in excellent condition for the new record-low BAA price of $599 (was $629). The sale includes front and rear lens caps, the ET-83C hood, the tripod ring, and insured ground shipping via major courier. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Doug via e-mail or by phone at 301-937-3112 (Eastern time).

The old 100-400 was and is superb. I made hundreds of sale-able images with mine including the one used on the front cover of Scott Weidensaul’s “Return to Wild America”. Contrary to reports by the internet idiots the lens is–in competent hands–sharp at all focal lengths. It is extremely versatile and would make a great starter lens for those interested in bird, wildlife, and general nature photography. artie

Used Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO Lens

Yet Another Lowest-ever BAA Price!
Price Reduced an insane $825 on January 5, 2015.

IPT veteran Tom Blackman offering a used Used Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO lens in excellent condition for $2250. There is some paint wear near the lens hood. The sale includes the lens trunk, the front cover, the rear lens cap, a worn LensCoat, and insured shipping via Fed ex Ground. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. This lens was just cleaned and checked by Canon’s Irvine, CA Repair Center; documentation can be provided upon request.

Please contact Tom by e-mail or by phone at 619.807.5615 (Pacific time).

I used this lens for several years with great success, especially for birds in flight and while working from various type of water craft. In addition, it would make a great prime super-telephoto lens for folks with a 7D II. Gannets in Love was created with the 400 DO. You can see that one and 13 other killer images that I made with my old 400 DO here. The title of that blog post is “The Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO Lens: Fourteen Images that Prove that the Internet Experts are Idiots.” Tom’s lens is priced to sell. artie

Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS II Zoom Lens with Internal 1.4X Extender

A New Lowest-ever BAA Price: $8799!
Price Reduced $651 on FEB 8, 2015.

Good friend and IPT veteran George Golumbeski is offering a used Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS zoom lens with Internal 1.4X Extender in excellent plus to near-mint condition with several extras, was $9450.00, now $8799. The sale includes all of the original items supplied by Canon including the lens trunk, the lens strap, the Canon E-145C Lens Cap (actually a lens hood made of tough synthetic fabric), the rear lens cap, the ET-120 Lens Hood, a 4th Generation Design CRX-5 replacement foot, the the original Canon foot and screws, a LensCoat (in digital camo), a Don Zeck front lens cover, and insured shipping via UPS Ground. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact George via e-mail or by phone at 1-973 216 3832 (Eastern time zone).

The 200-400 is a killer lens when you are working with tame birds or large mammals; can you say the Galapagos, Africa, South Georgia and the rest of the great Southern Ocean locations, Florida, or La Jolla? I have owned and used this lens since its release. artie


Consider joining me in Japan in February, 2017, for the world’s best Japan in Winter workshop. Click on the card to enjoy the spectacular larger version.

Japan In Winter IPT. February 9-24, 2017: $13,999/double occupancy.

All lodging including the Tokyo hotel on 9 FEB, all breakfasts & dinners, ground transport and transfers including bus to the monkey park hotel, and all entrance fees and in-country flights are included. Not included: international flights, all lunches–most are on the run, and alcoholic beverages.

Please e-mail for couple and IPT repeat customer discount information.

This trip is one day longer than the great 2014 trip to allow for more flexibility, more time with the cranes, and most importantly, more time for landscape photography. Hokkaido is gorgeous. You will enjoy tons of pre-trip planning and gear advice, in-the-field instruction and guidance, at-the-lodge Photoshop and image review sessions in addition to short introductory slide programs for each of the amazing locations. Skilled photographer Paul McKenzie handles the logistics and we enjoy the services of Japan’s best wildlife photography guide whom I affectionately call “Hokkaido Bear.” His network of local contacts and his knowledge of the weather, the area, and the birds enables him to have us in the best location every day.


Amazing subjects. Beautiful settings. Nonstop action and unlimited opportunities. Join me.

The Logistics

Arrive Tokyo: 9 FEB 2017 the latest. 8 FEB is safer and gives you a day to get acclimated to the time change. Your hotel room for the night of the 9th is covered.

Bus Travel to Monkey Park Hotel: 10 FEB: A 1/2 DAY of monkey photography is likely depending on our travel time… This traditional hotel is first class all the way. Out stay includes three ten course Japanese dinners these sumptuous meals will astound you and delight your taste buds. There are many traditional hot baths (onsens) on site in this 150 year old hotel.

Full Day snow monkeys: FEB 11.

Full Day snow monkeys: FEB 12.

13 FEB: Full travel day to Hokkaido/arrive at our lodge in the late afternoon. The lodge is wonderful. All the rooms at the lodge have beds. Bring your warm pajamas. A local onsen (hot springs bath and tubs) is available for $5 each day before dinner–when you are cold, it is the best thing since sliced bread. The home-cooked Japanese styles meals at the lodge are to die for. What’s the best news? Only a small stand of woods separates us from the very best crane sanctuary. During one big snowstorm we were the only photo group to be able to get to Tsurui Ito; we had the whole place to ourselves in perfect conditions for crane photography!

FEB 14-23: Red-crowned Crane, raptors in flight, Whooper Swans, and scenic photography. Ural Owl possible. One 2-night trip to Rausu for Steller’s and White Tailed Sea Eagles on the tourists boats is 100% dependent weather, road, and sea ice conditions. Only our trip offers complete flexibility in this area. It has saved us on more than once occasion. An afternoon of duck photography in the harbor at Rausu is a strong possibility. The cost of 3 eagle-boat trips is included. If the group would like to do more than three boat trips and we all agree, there will be an additional charge for the extra trip or trips. Do understand that few if any tours offer at least one afternoon boat trip….

Lodging notes: bring your long johns for sleeping in the lodge. In Rausu and at the Snow Monkey Park, the hotel the rooms are Japanese-style. You sleep on comfortable mats on the floor. Wi-fi is available every day of the trip.

FEB 24. Fly back to Tokyo for transfer to your airport if you are flying home that night, or, to your hotel if you are overnighting. If you need to overnight, the cost of that room is on you.


Life is short. Hop on the merry-go-round.

To Sign Up

To save your spot, please send your $5,000 non-refundable deposit check made out to “Birds as Art” to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. I do hope that you can join me for this trip of a lifetime. Do e-mail with any questions or give me a buzz at 863-692-0906.

Purchasing travel insurance within 2 weeks of our cashing your deposit check is strongly recommended. On two fairly recent Galapagos cruises a total of 5 folks were forced to cancel less than one week prior to the trip. My family and I use Travel Insurance Services and strongly recommend that you do the same.

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To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. 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.

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4 comments to Priceless. The EOS 5DS R/100-400II Rock the Snow Monkey Park: Piggy Back Rider & Exposure Lesson

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    Snow Monkey with Young: Absolutely Beautiful!!

  • avatar Bob Allen

    I so dig this image! If I had just one like this from a trip to that area, I’d be a happy camper.

    Appreciate the exposure tip and your reasoning behind it.

    I see a bit of blue in the shaded snow. Do you prefer to leave that alone in your final image, or might you later desaturate the cyans/blues and/or warm it up?

  • avatar David Peake

    Really love how you have got the subject on a perfectly clean background.
    On one trip I had a lady try to instruct me that all my images were way over exposed because of blinkies on the background.
    Getting the right exposure on the subject matters to me much more than the background when you are working tight and graphic. That’s why I love this image so much.