Underappreciated ... And 400 f/4 IS DO II Versatility

What’s Up?

On Thursday, February 16, we spent a great day with the Whooper Swans and ate too many Ramen noodles. I will likely have good internet access every day. I get home late on 28 FEB.

Please note the correct date (and day of the week) for the Fort DeSoto Spring In-the-Field Cheap Meet-up Workshop (ITFW): the morning of Sunday, April 23, 2017. Scroll down for complete details.


Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of 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: 462!

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, 462 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.

Laughing-Gull-head-and-neck-VERT-_A0I4225-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Pinellas-County,-FL

This image was created at Fort DeSoto in the spring of 2016 with the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the rugged, blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/1000 sec. at f/9.

Four AF points up from the center AF point/AI Servo Surround/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The selected AF point was just below the base of the bill, right on the same plane as the bird’s eye. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Laughing Gull, breeding plumage, vertical head and shoulders portrait

Underappreciated

Make no bones about it, Laughing Gull in breeding plumage is a stunning bird. Gulls as a group are underappreciated by most folks. And because they are so common many birders and even bird photographers neglect to take a close look at them. For me the combination of snowy white underparts, the jet-black hood, the white eye crescents, and the wine-red bill and legs is quite beautiful. This bird even seems to show a hint of pink on the breast as I saw in two of the gull species thats photographed in South America. The Franklin’s Gulls — a species that nests on North American prairies, were coming into breeding plumage. And we saw more than a few Brown-hooded Gulls in full breeding plumage with a very pronounced pinkish cast on their breasts. Though all three species are quite similar, Franklin’s Gull is more closely related to Laughing Gull than it is to Brown-hooded.

I will be sharing images of both breeding plumage Brown-hooded Gulls and of Franklin’s Gulls molting into breeding plumage in future blog posts.

Head and Shoulders and Vertical Front-end Portraits

Learn the fine points of creating head and shoulders and vertical front-end portraits in the section on Advanced Composition and Image Design in The Art of Bird Photography II (ABP II: 916 pages, 900+ images on CD only).

400 DO Versatility

Both the old and the new versions of the Canon 400mm DO lenses are extremely versatile a they can be combined with either the 1.4X or 2X teleconverters to produce sharp images. With a full frame body you have effective focal lengths of 400, 560, and 800mms. With the 7D II or any of the older 1.6X crop factor bodies you would be working with 560, 784, or 1280mm! And for most folks, the 400 DO lenses are eminently hand holdable. The Series II 400 DO is a bit sharper than the older version. Do understand that the older version is a lot sharper than most photographers …

Your New “Old 400 DO” ???

Used Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO Lens

Yet Another Lowest-ever BAA Price!

IPT veteran Kerry Morris is offering a used Used Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO lens in very good plus condition for the record low BAA price of $2099. There are some small scratches and paint chips on the lens body and tripod ring and the lens hood has a few small scratches as well. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the original soft front lens cover, the lens hood, the 4th Generation Designs CP-42 Custom Lens Plate (with the wrenches and the original packing–a $92 value) and insured UPS or FEDEX ground shipping to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Kerry via e-mail or by phone at 818-998-7470 or 818-634-2387 (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. The twice honored 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.” Kerry’s lens is priced to sell. artie

Canon EF 400m f/4 IS DO Telephoto Lens, the “old 400 DO”

Owen Peller is offering a Canon EF 400m f/4 IS DO telephoto lens, the “old 400 DO,” in like-new condition for $2,299. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the strap, the original soft front lens cover (that has a problem with the drawstring), the lens hood, and insured UPS or FEDEX ground shipping to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

rear cap, strap and the original lens case Canon 400 B.

Please contact Owen via e-mail or by phone at 954-882-1480 (Eastern 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. The twice major contest-honored “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.” Owen’s pristine lens is priced to sell. artie


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 Sunday, April 23, 2017: $99

Join me on the morning of Sunday April 23, 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.

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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 :).

4 comments to Underappreciated … And 400 f/4 IS DO II Versatility

  • avatar David Policansky

    I agree, Artie; I love gulls and have many images of them. As I love to quote you as saying, “point your lens at a gull and it will do something interesting.” And do they ever. On the west coast, the gorgeous Heermann’s gull is a real star, and on the east coast herring gulls are my favorites because of their complex and fascinating behaviors, but laughing gulls are very beautiful, as your image shows.

  • avatar Kerry

    Hi Artie
    Sounds like a wonderful trip!
    Agree with you about gulls. My issue is that some are very difficult to id
    So I really have to force myself outside my comfort zone while
    Birding them.

  • avatar Matthew B

    For the 400DO on a 7d2 wouldn’t the numbers be 640 896 1280?

    ‘With the 7D II or any of the older 1.6X crop factor bodies you would be working with 560, 784, or 1280mm!’

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