Deadly Gatorland Afternoon Combo, Large Center Zone AF for Flight, and One Frame Wonder? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Deadly Gatorland Afternoon Combo, Large Center Zone AF for Flight, and One Frame Wonder?

What’s Up?

Sunday morning was another busman’s holiday for me at Gatorland. I hung out with John Johnson another Brooklyn Technical High School Graduate who will be on the Finland Lekking IPT in early May. And I ran into Jim Roetzel an old bird photographer friend from Ohio. The funny thing about Gatorland is that even though it is the worst year that I can remember it is easy to make at least a few great images every session. Next Saturday is wide open so do consider joining me and learning a ton. Scroll down for 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: 17!

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, 17 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.

Gatorland In-the Field Instructional Meet-Up Sessions

Join me in Kissimmee, FL next weekend to photograph Great (with chicks in the nest) and Snowy Egrets in breeding plumage, Cattle Egret and Tricolored Heron in breeding plumage, Wood Stork, American Alligator (captive), and more. We should get to make lots of head portraits of all the bird species and to photograph them building nests, displaying, copulating, and flying. Learn to see, find, and make the shot in cluttered settings. Learn exposure and how to handle WHITEs. Learn fill flash and flash as main light techniques. All of the birds are free and wild.

Next Weekend’s Gatorland Schedule

  • Saturday April 8, morning (early entry): 7:30 till 10:30am: $100. Lunch and Image Review: $75. Saturday afternoon till closing (late stay): $100.
  • Sunday morning, April 9, (early entry): 7:30 till 10am: $75.

Cheap Canon lens rentals available: 600 II, 500 II, 400 DO II, or 200-400.

To pay for one or more sessions in full via credit card, call Jim or Jen in the office weekdays at 863-692-0906. You will be responsible for the cost of your Gatorland Photographer’s pass or passes. Please shoot me an e-mail if you have any questions.

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.

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from Gerry Keshka

Hi Artie, I wanted to share how much I appreciate your Used Gear “service.” You have posted how you help sellers, but the other side of the equations is how much this service helps buyers. I have purchased three lenses (Canon 200-400, 500 f4 II, and 70-200 F2.8) all lovely experiences and I saved almost $5K over retail. Each of the sellers was delightful, willing to help me assess if the purchase was right for me by sharing their experience with the lens. Each lens was in the condition advertised (or better), and typically included several “add-ons” that would have cost several hundred dollars.

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from Sandra Calderbank

Hi Artie, I wanted to take a few minutes to thank you. I have sold two camera bodies on your BAA used gear site. Your friendly expertise and knowledgeable, trustworthy buyers have made this an extremely satisfying experience. Selling on BAA Used Gear page is the best transaction experience I have ever encountered. Thank you for all you do for our photography community. Sincerely, Sandra

Recent Successful Used Gear Sales
March has been an amazing month on the Used Gear Page!

  • Steve Traudt helped a friend sell his Canon 500mm f4L IS USM lens in near-mint condition for $3899 in late March, a week after it was listed.
  • Mike Pace sold his Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II in excellent plus condition locally and is sending me a check for 2 1/2% of the original price.
  • BAA friend John Armitage sold his Canon EOS 1D-X in excellent plus condition for $2348 the day it was listed.
  • In early March long-time-ago IPT veteran Myer Bornstein decided not to sell his Nikon 500mm f/4G ED VR lens and kindly sent me a check for 2 1/2% of the original asking price, $4,999.00.
  • The sale of David R. Gibson’s Canon 300mm f/4 L IS USM lens in excellent plus condition for $749 is pending.
  • Mike Kaplan sold a Canon EOS 7D Mark II in near-mint condition for $925 to a buyer who contacted him on day one when the body was listed in early March.
  • Sue Sanborn sold her Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in near-mint condition for $4100 in early March. The value of this great lens has plummeted after the introduction of the 400mm f/4 IS DO II.
  • Sandra Calderbank sold her used Canon EOS 7D Mark II in excellent plus condition with less than 20,000 shutter actuations for $948 in early March.
  • Mike Pace sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS lens in very good condition for $4699 CAD to a Canadian only days after it was listed in early March.
  • Kenton Gomez sold his Canon EF 500mm f4L IS II lens in excellent plus condition for the BAA record-low price of $7349 in early March, 2017.
  • Multiple IPT veteran Jake Levin sold his Canon 300mm f/2.8 IS lens in very good-plus condition for the very sporting price of $2199 USD to a Canadian buyer less than a week after it was listed.
  • Owen Peller sold his Canon EF 400m f/4 IS DO telephoto lens — the “old 400 DO,– in like-new condition for $2,299 in early MAR, 2017.

New Listings

Canon EOS 5D Mark III + BG-11 Battery Grip

Good friend and multiple IPT veteran Indranil Sircar is offering a Canon EOS 5D Mark III in near-mint condition along with the the Canon BG-11 battery grip for the great low price of $1,579; the body has only 7,900 shutter actuations. The sale includes the original box, the front body cap, the owner’s manual, the unopened software disk and cords, the camera strap, the battery charger, an extra original Canon battery (two in all), and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Please contact Indranil via e-mail.

I owned and used this superb, full frame, 22mp digital body for several years. It was always my first choice for scenic, Urbex, and flower photography until I fell in love for a while with the 5DS R (for a lot more money!). In addition, I loved my 5D III body for birds with my big lenses and both TCs. artie

I Cannot Believe that this one has not sold yet …

Canon 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Colin Haase is offering a Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for a the BAA record-low price of $9,497. The sale includes the original box, the front lens cover, the lens strap, the rear lens cover, the lens trunk, the manual, the virgin warranty card, a RRS LCF53 lens foot, and insured ground shipping by major courier to US addresses only.

Please contact Colin via e-mail or by phone at 1-630-269-2242 (Central time).

As y’all know, the 600 II has been my go-to long lens since its introduction several years ago. It is relatively lightweight and super-sharp. I used it almost every day in Japan and I used it every day at Gatorland. It goes great with the 1.4X III TC and with a bit of practice and good sharpness techniques, you should be able to make sharp images with the 2X III TC down to 1/60 sec. In short, it is every wildlife photographer’s dream super-telephoto lens. As a new one goes for $11,499 you can save a boatload of money by grabbing Colin’s lens right now. artie

This image was created with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 off a sunlit cloud: 1/3200 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: 0.

Large Center Zone/AI Servo/shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The system activated four AF points near the tail and the left side of the bird’s breast. Had I raised the camera and done a better job of tracking those points would have been in the vicinity of the bird’ head and upper breast. I had the room to frame this one better as it is a small crop from the left and from below. None-the-less, the image was sharp enough on the face and eye.

Great Egret, balletic flight

Deadly Gatorland Afternoon Combo

The 100-400 II/1.4X III/5D Mark IV combo is as deadly at Gatorland in the afternoons as it is on the cliffs of La Jolla in the mornings.. For whatever reasons, I have shied away from this combo for flight but yesterday I tried it with Large Center Zone AF and got a few really good ones including today’s featured image. As always, this combo is great for close range head portraits and its focal length range versatility makes it ideal for a great variety of Gatorland images, including gators!

I had my flash in my fanny pouch but did not use it this week but I did use it a lot in the afternoons with this combo for lighting the shaded side.

Center Large Zone AF for Flight …

As I mentioned in a recent blog post, I recently began experimenting with Center Large Zone AF for flight and I gotta say that it is working out better than I expected. Give it a try and let me know how you do.

One Frame Wonder?

Please do not try to impress me with your high frame rate camera body by creating a 27-frame sequence in less than three seconds. For today’s featured image I acquired focus and tracked the subject as it flew in fairly high. When it turned, I anticipated the perfect wing position and underwing lighting and created a single flight image. How did that work out?


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Monday July 3 through Monday July 10, 2017: $5999: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 6).
All who register will be urged to take advantage of the two day Gannet Add-on so please do not buy your flights until making your decision. See below for details.

Here are the plans: take a red eye from the east coast of the US on July 2 and arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Monday July 3 no later than 10am (or simply meet us then at the Edinburgh Airport–EDI, or later in the day at our cottages if you are driving your own vehicle either from the UK or from somewhere in Europe). Stay 7 nights in one of three gorgeous modern country cottages.

There are five days of planned puffin/seabird trips and one morning of gannet photography, all weather permitting of course. In three years we have yet to miss an entire day because of weather… In addition, we will enjoy several sessions of photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The Details

We will get to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet; Arctic, Sandwich, and Common Terns, the former with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks. We will be staying in upscale country-side lodging that are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with a private bathroom. See the limited single supplement info below.

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. All 5 puffins boat lunches will need to be prepared by you in advance, taken with, and consumed at your leisure. I usually eat mine on the short boat trip from one island to the other. Also included is a restaurant lunch on the gannet boat day.

If you wish to fly home on the morning of Monday July 10 we will get you to the airport. Please, however, consider the following tentative plans: enjoy a second Gannet boat trip on the afternoon of Monday July 10 and book your hotel room in Dunbar. If all goes as planned, those who stay on for the two extra days will make a morning landing at Bass Rock, one of the world’s largest gannetries. We will get everyone to the airport on the morning of Wednesday July 12. (We may opt to stay in Edinburgh on the night of July 11.) Price and details should be finalized at least six months before the trip but you will need to be a bit patient. It would be ideal if I can get all the work done by the end of September so that folks can arrange their flights then.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version. Scroll down to join us in the UK in 2016.

Deposit Info

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome–please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on March 29, 2017. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Deposit Info

Single supplement rooms are available on a limited basis. To ensure yours, please register early. The single supplement fee is $1575. If you would like your own room, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement; your single supplement deposit check should be for $3,575. As we will need to commit to renting the extra space, single supplement deposits are non-refundable so please be sure that check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check of running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print careful even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

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.

Have a Nice Day!

Happy April Fool’s Day. As some might have figured, I am not moving anywhere. I am both happy and firmly entrenched at Indian Lake Estates with a comfortable home, my great pool, and a great and irreplaceable staff of two, my right-hand man Jim Litzenberg and older daughter Jennifer. That said, I do love San Diego and have thought about living their part time. Thanks to Patrick Sparkman for the idea for this April Fool’s Day blog post.


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 :).

7 comments to Deadly Gatorland Afternoon Combo, Large Center Zone AF for Flight, and One Frame Wonder?

  • avatar Arthur Leyenberger

    such great texture and light on the underside of the wings.
    It’s easy to continue to gaze at this photo as if trying to find additional or hidden info.
    Nicely done. Of course!

  • Beautiful image of the egret, love the leg position! I am wondering with the Center Large Zone, which AF case did you use?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I use my Custom Case settings, the one that I designed. It has been available in the last few camera User’s Guides. Best news? I am working on the 5D Mark IV User’s Guide.


  • Hi, Art,
    I need more information on the Palouse trip which I signed up for quite a while ago. It is my first trip with you. You will hate me….. but I shoot with Sony cameras! Just sayin’… and this is not an April fool’s joke. BTW, was that an April fool’s joke that you are moving to CA?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Melissa, Good on you. I have been working on the letter and should have it finished up tomorrow. So far just three plus me.

      later and love, artie

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    The leg hanging down is distracting. The framing is perfect. I really like seeing how perfect the feathers are, and the different shades of gray on the underside of the wing. Amazing that you can see the birds wing bones – like an x-ray. I also like that the head is tilted – the bird appears to be looking at you!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. I love the leg hanging down; it makes it look as if the bird is running 🙂