Part II: Is the Fujifilm XT-2 Capable of Creating Sharp Images Hand Held at Effective 1200mm? Mega Lores Clean-up. And Red-Worm Eye Detail ...

What’s Up?

Jim and I paid an early morning visit to Gatorland on Friday morning and had fun. I brought only the Fujifilm gear for me and hoped for some good flight photography chances but alas, had only one. I have not looked at the images yet … There are many Great Egret nests and there were — as expected — a few killer birds. But there will be ten times as many in a month and the smaller species should begin coming in between now and then. The best news? There were two fairly accessible three-egg nests quite close to the boardwalk. That means when I get back from Japan there should be some tiny chicks to photograph.

We are on our way home now and I though I have a chiropractic appointment with TJ McKeon this afternoon, I hope to get in a nice swim and do most of my exercises as well. I will skip my walk today.

Great News

I learned early Saturday morning that the August 2017 Photo-Cruise, the world’s best, is now sold out.


Hot Stuff!

  • Robert Blanke sold his Canon EOS 7D Mark II body in like-new condition for $949.00 in early February 2017 just two days after it was listed.
  • Robert Blanke sold his Canon EOS-1D X body with the Canon GPS receiver in like-new condition for $2499.00 within hours of it being listed.
  • Gene Scarborough sold a Canon accessory package for $250 in late January.
  • Robert Blanke sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III body in like-new condition with only 4258 shutter actuations for $1449 in late-January before it was even listed!
  • Wayne Roth sold his Nikkor AF-S 300mm f/2.8G EDII VR lens in like-new condition for $3,500.00 in Late January, 2017, two weeks after it was listed.
  • Teresa Mabry Reed sold both her Canon EOS-1D X in excellent plus condition for $2399 and her EOS Canon 5D Mark III also in excellent plus condition for $1429 within two days of listing them with BAA.
  • Gene Scarborough sold a Canon EF 500 mm f/4L IS USM super telephoto lens in excellent condition for $4049 one day after it was listed.

Price Reduction

Canon EF 500 mm f/4L IS USM Super Telephoto Lens, with Extras!

Price reduced $300 on 3 FEB 2017.

Brian Patteson is offering a Canon EF 500 mm f/4L IS USM super telephoto lens in near-mint condition for $4099 (was $4399). The sale includes the lens, the Rear Lens Dust Cap E, the ET-138 Lens Hood, the lens trunk, the E-163 front lens cover, green camo LensCoat, a Wimberley P-40 lens plate, one each of the Version II TCs: 1.4X and 2X, and insured ground shipping via UPS Ground (to US addresses only). The items will not ship until the check clears unless other arrangements are made. Payment by USPS money order or bank cashier’s check is preferred. Please contact Brian via e-mail or by text message or phone at (252) 216-9163.

The old five is a fairly lightweight super-telephoto lens that works well with both TCs. It is fast and sharp. I used mine as my workhorse lens (along with the old 600mm f/4) for almost ten years to photograph birds all over the world. Both have been replaced by their much more expensive version II counterparts. The 500 f/4s have long been the world’s most popular super-telephotos for wildlife and sports. artie

Facebook News!

Because I’ve long hated the fact that my personal FB page limited me to 5,000 friends and that left several thousand folks with unrequited Friend Requests, I have created a FB page that will allow several hundred thousands of folks (hey, a guy can dream can’t he?) to follow BIRDS AS ART on Facebook. To visit the new page click here and be sure to like the photos, follow the page, or share the post. Your doing so will allow me to be much more active on FB. Huge tanks! artie

The Streak: 449

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, 449 days in a row with a new educational blog post. As always–and folks have been doing a really great for a long time now–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 BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

Great-Egret-XT-2-2X-breeding-plumage--_DSF3915-Gatorland,-Kissimmee,-FL

This image was created on the morning of Friday, February 3, 2017 with the (truly) hand held Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens with the Fujifilm XF 2x TC WR Teleconverter (at 800mm–effective 1200mm) with the Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with the Power Booster Grip. ISO 800. Pattern metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/1000 sec. at f/13 in Manual mode. AWB.

Shutter Button Continuous Autofocus. Additional AF information is unavailable.

Great Egret in breeding plumage

Is the Fujifilm XT-2 Capable of Creating Sharp Images Hand Held at Effective 1200mm? Part II

Uh, yeah. To create this image I was standing on the hard plastic milk crate that I bring to Gatorland to use as a step stool. Without it, there was no shot as I would have been blocked by a large branch. One of the weird things about the Fujifilm 5-stop Optical Stabilization system is that as far as I can figure, the stabilization does not go into effect until the the shutter button is pressed, just like IS Mode 3 with the newer Canon lenses. With the XT-2’s 1.5 crop factor this makes framing difficult especially when working with very long effective focal lengths (such as 1200mm); you are trying to keep the bird in the frame but the image is jumping all over the place (unless the bird cooperatively decides to stand stock still as in today’s featured image).

Mega Lores Clean-up

Same old, same old: about 45 minutes of hard work. I used all of my clean-up tools and techniques presented here in order of frequency: Patch Tool, Spot Healing Brush, Clone Stamp Tool, and several small Quick Masks refined by Regular Layer Masks. With lots of Divide and Conquer. When all the clean-up was done I applied a layer of my NIK Color Efex Pro 25/25 recipe that was refined by a Regular Layer Mask. I used Tim Grey non-destructive Dodge and Burn to darken the lores.

Everything above plus tons more is of course detailed in my Digital Basics File, an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete (former PC) digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, details on using all of my image clean-up tools, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, the basics of Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs, Dodge and Burn, a variety of ways to make selections, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.

Learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair.

I am working on an all new Current Workflow e-guide that better reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. It will include a section on ACR conversions and a simplified method of applying Neat Image noise reduction.

EYE-Great-Egret-XT-2-2X-breeding-plumage--_DSF3915-Gatorland,-Kissimmee,-FL

A 100% crop of the very strange eye in today’s featured image

Red-Worm Eye Detail …

I’ve seen and photographed a lot of breeding plumage Great Egrets but I have never seen an eye quite like this … Have you? Note the excellent fine detail of this huge crop. Way to go XT-2. It is likely that we will run into some killer breeding plumage Great Egrets on the Fort DeSoto Spring IPT in April. They are often seen in the picnic areas begging hot dogs from the beach partiers. Please see the details immediately below.


fort-desoto-card

DeSoto in spring is rife with tame and attractive birds. From upper left clockwise to center: breeding plumage Dunlin, dark morph breeding plumage Reddish Egret displaying, breeding plumage Laughing Gull/front end vertical portrait, breeding plumage Laughing Gull with prey item, Laughing Gull on head of Brown Pelican, screaming Royal Tern in breeding plumage, Royal Terns/pre-copulatory stand, Laughing Gulls copulating, breeding plumage Laughing Gull/tight horizontal portrait, Sandwich Tern with fish, and a really rare one, White-rumped Sandpiper in breeding plumage, photographed at DeSoto in early May.

Fort DeSoto Spring IPT/April 19-22, 2017. (meet & greet at 2pm on Wednesday April 19 followed by an afternoon session) through the full day on Saturday April 22. 3 1/2 DAYs: $1599. Limit 10. To save your spot, please call and put down a non-refundable deposit of $499.00.

I will be offering small group (Limit 3) Photoshop sessions on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning if necessary. Details on that TBA.

Fort DeSoto is one of the rare locations that might offer great bird photography 365 days a year. It shines in spring. There will Lots of tame birds including breeding plumage Laughing Gull and Royal and Sandwich Terns. With luck, we will get to photograph all of these species courting and copulating. There will be American Oystercatcher and Marbled Godwit plus sandpipers and plovers, some in full breeding plumage. Black-bellied Plover and Red Knot in stunning breeding plumage are possible. There will be lots of wading birds including Great and Snowy Egrets, both color morphs of Reddish Egret, Great Blue, Tricolored and Little Blue Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, and killer breeding plumage White Ibis. Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork are possible and likely. We should have lots of good flight photography with the gulls and terns and with Brown Pelican. Nesting Least Tern and nesting Wilson’s Plover are possible.

We will, weather permitting, enjoy 7 shooting sessions. As above, our first afternoon session will follow the meet and greet at 2pm on Wednesday April 19. For the next three days we will have two daily photo sessions. We will be on the beach early and usually be at lunch (included) by 11am. We will have three indoor sessions. At one we will review my images–folks learn a ton watching me choose my keepers and deletes–why keep this one and delete that one? The second will be a review of your images so that I can quickly learn where you need help. For those who bring their laptops to lunch I’d be glad to take a peek at an image or three. Day three will be a Photoshop session during which we will review my complete workflow and process an image or two in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. Afternoon sessions will generally run from 4:30pm till sunset. We photograph until sunset on the last day, Saturday, April 22. Please note that this is a get-your-feet and get-your-butt wet and sandy IPT. And that you can actually do the whole IPT with a 300 f/2.8L IS, a 400 f/4 ID DO lens with both TCs, or the equivalent Nikon gear. I will surely be using my 500 II as my big glass and have my 100-400 II on my shoulder.


fort-desoto-card-b

DeSoto in spring is rife with tame and attractive birds. From upper left clockwise to center: Laughing Gull in flight, adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, copulating Sandwich Terns, Roseate Spoonbill, Great Egret with reflection, Short-billed Dowitcher in breeding plumage, American Oystercatcher, breeding plumage Royal Tern, white morph Reddish Egret, and Snowy Egret marsh habitat shot.

What You Will Learn

You will learn to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to understand the effects of sky and wind conditions on bird photography, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you are scared of it).

The group will be staying at the Red Roof Inn, St. Petersburg: 4999 34th St. North, St Petersburg, FL 33714. The place is clean and quite inexpensive. Please e-mail for room block information. And please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 to register. All will need to purchase an Annual Pass early on Tuesday afternoon so that we can enter the park at 6am and be in position for sunrise opportunities. The cost is $75, Seniors $55. Tight carpools will be needed and will reduce the per person Annual Pass costs. The cost of three lunches is included. Breakfasts are grab what you can on the go, and dinners are also on your own due to the fact that we will usually be getting back to the hotel at about 9pm. Non-photographer spouses, friends, or companions are welcome for $100/day, $350 for the whole IPT.

BIRDS AS ART Fort DeSoto In-the-Field Meet-up Workshop (ITFW): $99

Fort DeSoto Spring In-the-Field Cheap Meet-up Workshop (ITFW) on the morning of April 22, 2017: $99

Join me on the morning of April 22, 2017 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive morning workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tours. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal registration fee. Your registration fee is non-refundable. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place one week before the event.

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 please remember that I am 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, 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.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack.

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

14 comments to Part II: Is the Fujifilm XT-2 Capable of Creating Sharp Images Hand Held at Effective 1200mm? Mega Lores Clean-up. And Red-Worm Eye Detail …

  • I just sold my Canon gear and purchased two X-T2 bodies so I always have a back up. I admire your beautiful images, but I don’t shoot birds. I shoot mostly landscape and street photograph and so far find the Fujifilm more intuitive than Canon. I really like the controls on top like the old film cameras. Really appreciate your comments about this camera. Thanks sfor your comments.

  • avatar Tony

    Your X-T2 images really are tempting me to get my hands on one of those. Canon and Nixon shooters both rave about it.

    What causes the red worm eye?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Don’t know. But you really want to wait to see my complete evaluation before switching … It ain’t all roses.

      a

      ps: if you do buy please of course use my B&H affiliate links 🙂

  • The X-T2 has three IS mode settings selectable in the Shooting Settings menus. Either “Off” or “Continuous” or “Shooting Only” when the shutter button is half-pressed in focus mode C. Pg 152 in manual. Sounds like yours is set to shooting only mode.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Ah, I did miss that. Will check it out before I pack it up to send the stuff back to B&H. Thanks.

      a

      ps: Might you know how to set the camera so that when you raise it to make a photo you do NOT see the last image?

      • Thats a new one for me. Mine doesn’t do that so it must be some configuration or button setting that needs to be changed but unfortunately I’m not familiar with what it might be – sorry.

        BTW – clarification – the “Off” setting for IS Mode is in reality the lens barrel “OIS” switch on lenses that have OIS. There’s no “Off” setting in the IS Mode menu.

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Lucky you. The bad news is that I had Continuous set under IS Mode 🙁

          I am gonna call them now on seeing the image and will probably post something if they can help me figger it out 🙂

          a

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Bummer. Image display was set to Off. The problem with me seeing the image for a split second when I raise the lens is sporadic. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not. But is surely does not help when you are trying to photograph birds in flight or in action … How do you do with that?

          artie

          • With the sporadic last image display problem and if IS Mode is set to “Continuous” but IS is not working without half-pressing the shutter I’d be considering whether or not the camera is working properly. Is it a new body? Or a loaner which might even be a pre-production version that could have old firmware with lingering bugs?

            Hi Phil,

            With all the weird things that have been going on, there is a chance that the body is defective. It is however right off the shelf; in other words, it is not a loaner in the true sense of the word, nor is it a pre-production copy. It was brand new right out of the box …

            artie

      • avatar Curt Folkstedt

        About seeing the last image , read Owner’s manual page 210. I guess your X-T2 is set to continuous, but you can also choose 1,5 sek , 0,5 sek or off. I have mine X-T2 set to off. Thats speeds up the whole operation a lot.

        I seldom need to look at images direct after I took them, with the EVF I see what I will get before taking the pictures. I think it is one of the best thing with mirrorles and EVF. It is called WYSIWYG, what you see is what you get.

        (I use my X-T2 90 % for birds together with the 100-400 w/o the 1,4 converter).

  • avatar Jie Liang

    Nice photos, Art. I was the guy whom you gave your card to when we exited the side gate at Gatorland yesterday. Your name sounded very familiar to me when I saw your card. Then my memory came back. If I am correct, I read your bulletin regarding Bosque Del Apache nearly 10 years ago. I am glad I can reconnect with your great blogs and they are all fabulous. Especially I am using a Fujifilm X-T2 too. Since I was traveling, I am with my light set with an old Nikon 200mm ais. I do not expect any BIF shots. I too notice those red eyes but I don’t think mines will be as detailed as yours. As always, thank your posts.

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