Is it Possible That the Canon 400 DO II/EOS-IDX II Combo Transformed an Inept Cattle Egret Flight Photographer into a Skilled Cattle Egret Flight Photographer? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Is it Possible That the Canon 400 DO II/EOS-IDX II Combo Transformed an Inept Cattle Egret Flight Photographer into a Skilled Cattle Egret Flight Photographer?

Stuff

Monday was spent working on this blog post and starting to pack for my Palouse trip. I fly on WED. I will be visiting California for a bit after the Palouse IPT is over. I hope to get in a swim before lunch on Monday and then head into town that afternoon for some grocery shopping and an Active Release Technique chiropractic treatment on my right shoulder with buddy TJ McKeon:)

The Streak

Just in case you have not been counting, today makes 15 days in a row with a new educational blog post πŸ™‚

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Monday July 3 through Wednesday July 12, 2017: $5999 + $1499: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 5). The (really cheap) two-day Gannet/Bass Rock Add-on is now part of the trip.

Please call 863-692-0906 for info on the substantial Late Registration Discount.

Here is some great info on the July 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT: I have finalized the cottage and vehicle rental arrangements. We have room for several additional folks, at least for a couple and single. And I am in position, as noted above, to offer a rather substantial late registration discount. Please call us at 863-692-0906 or get in touch via e-mail. Click here and scroll down for additional details and the travel plans.


Nickerson Beach/Denise Ippolito

Last time that I checked Denise Ippolito had three openings on her Nickerson Beach worksop. It begins on Sunday 10 June. Click here for details. Please mention that BAA sent you.

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.

Please Don’t Forget …

As always–and folks have been doing a really great job for a long time now–please remember to use our B&H links for your major and minor 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.

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 β€œservice.” 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 f/2.8) 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 β€œadd-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

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from Tom Phillips

Artie, Thanks so much. I sent your check via my online banking. I never expected the 400 DO II and the 1DX II to sell within minutes of your posting the ad! I know that the 300 f/2.8 II is still up, but still, the results have been amazing. Another plus is that James McGrew is a professional artist and photographer and he was really looking and wanting that combo and is appreciative and excited to be able to find a great deal. Tom.

Recent Successful Used Gear Sales
The Big Ticket Items Continue to Sell Like Hotcakes on the Used Gear Page in May!

  • Brooke Miller sold a Canon EOS 5D Mark III in excellent condition for $1399 and a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for the shock-the-world, BAA record low price of $1398 on the first day of listing.
  • John Beasley sold his Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM Zoom lens in excellent condition for $1498 in late May.
  • The sale of Philip Laing’s Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens in excellent plus condition for $7299 is pending.
  • IPT veteran Kerry Morris sold a used Used Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO lens (the old 400 DO) in very good plus condition for the record low BAA price of $2099 in mid-May.
  • David Ramirez sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III in near-mint condition for $1449 in late-May.
  • The sales of multiple IPT veteran Dr. Gil Moe’s Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, his 1.4X III TC, and his Xtrahand vest were all pending as of the first day of listing.
  • Hisham A. sold his Wimberley WH-200 Tripod Head in excellent condition for $449 in early May.
  • Larry Peavler sold a Canon Extender EF 2X III in like-new condition for $299 within days of posting it in mid-May.
  • Tom Phillips sold his Canon EOS-1DX Mark II (Premium Kit) in near-mint condition for $4499 and his Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO II USM lens in like-new condition for $5,798 both within hours of listing them in mid-May.
  • Ron Paulk sold his Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 II USM zoom lens in excellent condition for $1100 and the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT & Canon ST-E3-RT Transmitter/package for $425 on May 14, 2017, the day after it was listed.
  • Larry Peavler sold a Canon EF 100-400 zoom f/4.5 – 5.6 L IS Telephoto Zoom lens, the old 1-4, in excellent condition for $549 soon after it was listed.
  • Ron Paulk sold his Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens in excellent condition for $999and his Canon EF 100mm Macro f/2.8L IS USM lens in excellent condition for $549 the day they were listed.
  • Ron Paulk sold a Canon EOS-1D X Professional Digital Camera Body in excellent condition for $2699 and a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens in mid-May before they were listed and is kindly sending me a check for the 2 1/2%.

New Listing

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens

Priced to Sell!

Dwaine Tollefsrud is offering a Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II lens in excellent condition for the record-low BAA price of $3999. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the leather front lens cover, the lens strap, the original product box, a LensCoat, 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 Dwaine via e-mail or by phone at 1-605-716-0847 (Mountain time).

The 300 f/2.8 autofocus lenses have long been the first choice for the world’s best hawks in flight photographers with and without a 1.4X TC. When teamed up with either the 1.4X or 2X TC it makes a great hand holdable walk-around lens. Dwaine’s lens will save you an incredible $2,199! I owned and used several versions of the 300 f/2.8 lens for many years until finally replacing my 300 f/2.8 II with the 400 DO II about a year ago. artie

Your Favorite?

Please take a moment and let everyone know which of today’s four featured images is your favorite. Please let us know why you made your choice. And please remember, the more folks who comment the more everyone learns including me.

Cattle-Egret-non-breeding-flight-from-below-_A0I1731-Gatorland,-Kissimmee,-FL

This image was created on the Sunday morning June 4 Gatorland In-the-Field Meet-up session with the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens and the rugged, blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops off the dull gray sky: 1/2500 sec. at f/4.5 in Manual mode. Daylight WB probably should have been AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -6.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter Button AF. As originally framed, the selected AF point was on the sky, well above the bird’s head. And though none of the assist points were on the bird either, the system tracked well and the image was sharp on the eye.

Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #1: Cattle Egret overhead flight

Hand Held Flight Photography Basics

Use center AF point or center point AF Expand. Sometimes using going one row up from the center can work well. Be sure to set the Limit Range switch to not Full. Left hand at least half way out on the lens barrel. Try to pan smoothly while keeping the selected AF point on the bird’s face, neck, or upper breast. Note that though I was trying hard to do just that with today’s four image I failed pretty miserably in each case. None-the-less, the images ranged from acceptably sharp to razor sharp on the eye in all four …

Cattle-Egret-landing-_A0I1631-Gatorland,-Kissimmee,-FL

This image was also created on the Sunday morning June 4 Gatorland In-the-Field Meet-up session with the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens and the rugged, blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 stops off the very bright overcast sky: 1/5000 sec. at f/4.5 in Manual mode. Daylight WB probably should have been AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -6.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter Button AF. As originally framed, the selected AF point was on the sky, well in front of and below the bird’s head. The upper assist point might have caught the tip of the bill and the left assist point might have caught the front of the breast … Amazingly this image was sharp on the eye.

Image #2: Cattle Egret landing near nest

Cloudy and Cloudy Bright Exposures …

Notice that I added a bit more light when it was really cloudy and a bit less light when it was brighter. Even though I added from 2 to 2 1/3 stops of light to the readings off the sky, each image was one-half to almost one full stop underexposed.

Cattle-Egret-coming-in-for-landing-_A0I1634-Gatorland,-Kissimmee,-FL

This image was also created on the Sunday morning June 4 Gatorland In-the-Field Meet-up session with the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens and the rugged, blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 stops off the bright overcast sky: 1/4000 sec. at f/4.5 in Manual mode. Daylight WB probably should have been AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -6.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter Button AF. As originally framed, the selected AF point was on the leading edge of the far wing directly below the bird’s eye. In spite of that this image too was sharp on the eye.

Image #3: Cattle Egret braking for landing

The RAW Conversions

I began each image by adding from .5 to .87 stops using the Brightness slider in DDP 4. With each image I fiddled with both the Color Temperature slider and the Color Fine-Tune box in an effort to eliminate perceived color casts while checking the alignment of the Red, Green, and Blue on the RBB histograms. Learn everything that you need to know about using DPP 4 in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide here.

Cattle-Egret-landing-with-twig-for-nest-_A0I1813-Gatorland,-Kissimmee,-FL

This image was also created on the Sunday morning June 4 Gatorland In-the-Field Meet-up session with the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens and the rugged, blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops off the dull gray sky: 1/3200 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode. Daylight WB probably should have been AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -6.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter Button AF. As originally framed, the selected AF point was on the sky, well in front of and below the bird’s head. Though the selected AF point was on the base of the far wing just below the end of the twig this image too was sharp on the eye.

Image #4: Cattle Egret landing with twig for nest

The Image Optimizations and Color …

Image #1 was a significant crop and the bird was moved up in the frame using techniques detailed in APTATS I. Images #2 and #3 were significant crops. Image #4 was a very small crop from below and the left.

Despite working hard on the Color Temperature during each RAW conversion I worked hard during the image optimizations to achieve natural looking colors. I tried both Average Blur Color Balancing and Curves on a Layer Color Balancing. Sometimes one or the other worked, sometimes a bit of each worked, and at times I stuck with the original color balance. I also worked on the color casts by reducing the Saturation of a given color or making Selective Color adjustments. Getting the WHITEs perfect or close to it on cloudy days is a big challenge. Eye Doctor work on every image, often using Tim Grey Dodge and Burn.

Most everything above is 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 and Dodge and Burn, a variety of making selections, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.

The Curves on a Layer Color Balancing technique will be included for the first time in the 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, DPP 4 BASICS, and a simplified method of applying Neat Image noise reduction. Along with all of the Photoshop stuff from Digital Basics that I still use. Learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Learn how and why I and other discerning Canon shooters convert nearly all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 using Canon Digital Photo Professional in the DPP 4 RAW conversion Guide here.












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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 :).

15 comments to Is it Possible That the Canon 400 DO II/EOS-IDX II Combo Transformed an Inept Cattle Egret Flight Photographer into a Skilled Cattle Egret Flight Photographer?

  • Beautiful Images… Your Flight images are always inspiring and amazing…
    Its a tough choice to say which image is good.. They are all good.

    I like first image because of the correct exposure, beautiful underside View.

    I still remember your B&H Video: Bird Photography Tips for the Serious Photographer which explains about various wing positions for flight photography.
    It has amazing information and I keep watching it multiple times….

    Thank you…

  • avatar Sebastian Santos

    Hi, my favourite is the #2. I like the pose of the bird and the composition of the image. The other three picture are also excellents.
    Greetings!

  • In answer to the title, you have been showing us fantastic flight images for ages and not only with the 1DX II and the 400 DO II.
    I like all of the fantastic images in today’s post so I am really just nit-picking with my comments. The composition and minimalist colour of image 1 is great however it lacks the behaviour or interesting wing position of the other images. For me the drawback of image 2 is the fact that the egret’s bill and head overlap with the left wing. The colours of image 3 are very striking against the white sky and the wing position is interesting but I would like it a little more if the bird’s head had been turned a little more toward the camera. The behaviour is very interesting in image 4 however did you consider editing out the egret in the bottom left corner, I find it a bit distracting.
    Is there a reason why you were at f4.5 not f4 for images 1,2 and 3? Why did you go up to ISO 800, why did you need the very fast shutter speeds? I was surprised that you applied +2 1/3 exposure compensation to image 4 which was the same or more than the other images when image 4 has less white sky than the other images. Why was that?
    Typo: Under title The Image Optimizations and Color … ‘Image #f’
    I Hope the Palouse trip is a success. Thanks,
    Jake

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Yes — thanks, I do get a few good flight images once in a while largely due to the gear and my determination but I am only rarely able to get the AF point on the bird’s face, neck, or upper breast … The overlap in #2 does not bug me because the distal half of the bill is clear of the wing … I am with you on the head angle on my favorite, #3. I thought that I would be the only one to notice that πŸ™‚ With #4, I love the egret in the lower left. Different strokes .. I almost always stop down 1/3 stop out of habit. The faster the shutter speeds for flight the more chance you have to get the eye very sharp.

      As far as the exposure compensations you are missing one important point: I meter off the sky in Manual mode so that I do not have to worry about how much sky and how much green is in the frame … Thanks for the typo notice and the good wishes. And for you excellent comments and questions.

      with love, artie

  • Hi Artie, nice flight images of Cattle Egrets. I was at Gatorland on Friday. When other methods fail for a color cast removal try this in Photoshop CC… Image then Autocolor, many times it works when nothing else will.

    Be safe in your travels,
    Joe Przybyla

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Joe. I will assume that you were there in the morning as I was the only one there during the rainstorm on FRI afternoon. Thanks for the Auto Color tip. You will enjoy tomorrow’s blog post for sure; I used Auto Color to gently increase contrast πŸ™‚

      with love, artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. The answer to the title of today’s blog post is “No.” Despite your oft-repeated claims that you aren’t skilled at photographing birds in flight, you’ve been posting marvelous in-flight images for as long as I’ve been following your blog. You’ve done it with your toy lens and the 600 f/4 and the 100-400 and the 400 DO, so, again, no. πŸ™‚ And these are marvelous images all four, but # 3 is my favorite for its pure essence of bird in flight, with the ethereally translucent wings, interesting pose, and clean background.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks David. But if what you say is true, how can you explain the fact that it is so difficult for me to simply get the AF point on the bird’s face, neck, or upper breast πŸ™‚

      With love, artie

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Image #1 is amazing because the framing, and color forces you to look only at the bird and the beautiful details in the feathers, feet, etc.
    I like the detail of the bird in Image #2. I would like it better if the bird was either fully in front of the green background (not part in, part out) or completely above it. Also, if the photo showed what the bird is looking at …..is it coming in for a landing on the nest? That would make it more interesting for me.
    #3 is beautiful – I really like the ability to see through the feathers so you really get the details of the primaries and secondaries, and the bird (esp. the wings) stand out from the sky background. The color on the feathers, bill and eye are striking. Also, where the bird is in the frame together with the bird being in flight contribute to the action that’s going on.
    #4 is technically another nice shot but the bird being half in/half out of the green is distracting. Also, the bird’s left wing color is too close to that of the sky so some of the detail is nearly lost (can that be ‘burned’ to make it darker?).

    I would be happy to call any of these shots my own! The detail is amazing!
    My favorite is #3 – I just really like the focus on the bird, the clarity and detail of the feathers, face, etc, and the action.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks girl-Kerry, All but #1 show birds coming into their nests in the bushed below. You might need to check your monitor brightness as the upper wing clearly stands out from the sky in #4. And thanks for your more than kind words. With love, artie

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    If it weren’t for the distracting green in the background, the last image would definitely be my favorite. It’s a good view of the bird in breeding plumage and he’s carrying something in his mouth. My next choice is the third image because it’s whimsical look and the bird is in breeding plumage.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. I actually like the BKGR but for the dark area below the bird’s far wing. I can actually deal with that pretty easily. Thanks again to you and Stokes for joining me. With love, artie

  • avatar Ralph Fletcher

    I’m impressed. Lovely images. Artie, did you do a post on LensAlign/fine tune micro-adjustment. Or did I somehow miss it?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I hope to have that guide finished before I head to the UK … Problem is I have bitten off more than I can chew … with love, artie