I am somewhere in South America. I hope that you are well. Jim and Jen are at the office most days to help you with your mail order needs and Instructional Photo-Tour sign-ups. I still need folks for San Diego, Japan, Galapagos, the Palouse, and the Bear Boat (Grizzly Cubs) trips. Among others 🙂 Please e-mail for couples and discount info for all of the above. Click here for complete IPT info.
I will have intermittent internet access for the rest of my South American adventure. I get back home late on December 25, 2016. Best and great picture making, artie
Gear Questions and Advice
Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of the folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.
The Streak: 390!
Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 390 days in a row with a new educational blog post. There should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. Or not… As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.
This image was created at Nagano on the 2016 Japan in Winter IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 560mm), and the mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/160 sec. at f/9. AWB.
Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The selected AF point was on the left side of the monkey’s nose.
Snow Monkey: Mr. Spiky
Your browser does not support iFrame.
Lessons from Mr. Spiky
#1: Photographing a Snow Monkey or any bird or animal that has just gotten out of the water can add interest to your images. Birds that have just finished bathing will often spend more than a few minutes preening and often offer a great variety of neat poses while doing so. In addition, as they are pre-occupied, they are often easily approached.
#2: The incredible versatility of the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens can be expanded with the addition of a Canon Extender EF 1.4X III. You will then be able to cover from 100 to 560mm, all exceedingly sharp. When you LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjust (MA) your 100-400 II you will need to do one MA at “W”, the wide setting (100mm) and one at “T,” the tight setting (400mm). And then you will need to do the same thing with the TC in place at at “W”, the wide setting (140mm) and one at “T,” the tight setting (560mm).
#3: With the great 4-stop Image Stabilization system in the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens you can make sharp images hand held at some pretty low shutter speeds. With today’s featured image–1/160 sec. at 560mm–I was using only about two stops of IS. The old rule was that you needed a shutter speed of at least 1/focal length to make sharp images. For this photo that would have meant 1/560 sec. Half of that would be 1/280 sec. And half of that would be 1/140 sec. So at 1/160 second I was just short of being two stops slower than the old standby recommended shutter speed.
#4: In nearly all low light situations you will need to be using at least some plus exposure compensation. Remember that when the sun is not out at full strength the meters in all of your cameras are dumb: the closer the scene averages to a light or white tone, the dumber the meter will be. Learn more in Exposure Simplified section of The Art of Bird Photography II (ABP II, 916 pages, 900+ images on CD only, the best $40 you will ever spend on learning to become a better nature photographer.)
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: $11,499 (was $13,999)/double occupancy. Limit 8/Openings: 3.
Price Reduced $2,500 on 3-8-16!
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 is unparalleled and enables him to have us in the best location every day.
Amazing subjects. Beautiful settings. Nonstop action and unlimited opportunities. Join me.
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. Our stay includes three ten course Japanese dinners; these sumptuous meals will astound you and delight your taste buds. There are many traditional hot springs mineral 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. An overnight trip to Rausu for Steller’s Sea Eagle and White-tailed Eagle photography on the tourists boats is 100% dependent on the weather, road, and sea ice conditions. Only our trip offers complete flexibility in this area. It has saved us on more than once occasion. The cost of 2 eagle-boat trips is included. If the group would like to do more than two boat trips and we all agree, there will be an additional charge for the extra trip or trips. No matter the sea ice conditions, we will do two eagle boat trips (as long as we can make the drive to Rausu; it snows a lot up there). We have never been shut out.In 2016 there was no sea ice but our guide arranged for two amazingly productive boat trips.
Lodging notes: bring your long johns for sleeping in the lodge. At the Snow Monkey Park, and in Rausu, 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.
Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂
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 New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.
As always, 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 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, and for everything else in the new store, 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 those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.
Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!
In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right 🙂