My Very Favorite Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender Fort Desoto Image « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

My Very Favorite Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender Fort Desoto Image

Stuff

With a tame oystercatcher feeding in an atypical food-rich setting, we had a great morning on the DeSoto Fall IPT; we followed that with a long — 2 1/2 hours — and great image review/Photoshop working lunch session, Instructor Nap Time, and a lousy afternoon. The latter was caused by very strong southeast winds that left the birds facing directly away from us. As one participant, Muhammed Arif, is leaving a day early, we enjoyed our thanks for coming dinner at Good Times Continental Restaurant on Tierra Verde on Saturday evening.

Great IPT News

An amazing nine folks have already committed to the new, expanded UK Puffins and Gannets 2018 IPT with the Bempton Cliffs pre-trip. And all have signed up for the pre-trip. There is just one slot left so if you are interested in joining us, please do not tarry. You can learn more about this great trip here.

The Streak

Today marks sixty days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took close to two hours to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of (I think) four hundred eighty something … Good health and good internet connections willing.

Everybody’s Doing It…

Everybody’s buying and selling used gear on the BAA Used Gear Page. Sales recently have been through the roof. 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 charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They recently folded. And eBay fees are now in the 13% range. 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 at the top of each blog post.

Latest Used Gear Kudos

Via e-mail from Robert Blanke

Hey Artie. Thank you again–the 5D s sale makes four cameras sold at fair prices and commissions, with the first three going in one day! Cheers Robert

Via e-mail from BPN regular Isaac Grant

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender with a ton of extras!

Stephen November is offering a Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender in near-mint condition with a slew of extras for the great price of $8399. The extras include a LensCoat in digital camo (installed since day 1), a LensCoat digital camo Hoodie, the Kirk replacement lens foot with KES Sure Grip for Canon 200-400mm lens — part #LP-55SG (a $118 value), a Woodland camo rain sleeve — a British product from Wildlife Watching Supplies (a $66 value), and a Canon drop-in polarizer filter (a $229 value). Also included in the sale are the original product box, E-145C lens cover, the rear lens cap, the wide lens strap, the lens trunk with keys, the original tripod and monopod feet, 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. Photos are available upon request.

Please contact Stephen via e-mail.

This is the world’s best lens for a trip to Africa. It kills also in the Galapagos and in South Georgia, the Falklands, and Antarctica. And I use mine a lot at Bosque and other dusty places where the built-in TC helps to keep your sensor clean. And I love it in the Palouse for its versatility. Most recently, I often found myself wishing that I had taken the 200-400 rather than my 500 II on the Bear Boat Cubs IPT. Many nature photographers use it as their workhorse telephoto lens as it offers 884mm at f/8 with an external 1.4X TC added. As you can see below, it is pretty good whenever you are working around relatively tame birds. The lens sells new at B&H right now for $10,999. You can save a slew of dollars by grabbing Stephen’s lens along with all the extras right now. artie


Booking.Com

I could not secure the lodging that I needed for last year’s UK Puffins and Gannets IPT in Dunbar, Scotland, so I went from Hotels.Com to Booking.Com and was pleasantly surprised. I found the rooms that I needed with ease at a hotel that was not even on Hotels.Com, and it was a nice hotel that I had seen in person. And the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward.

Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.



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.

_P3A0535--Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

This image was created on the afternoon of Thursday, September 21, 2017 with the hand held Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (at 490mm with the TC engaged) and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops in Av mode: 1/200 sec. at f/6.3. WB: K7700.

Left Large Zone/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The system worked to perfection selecting an L-shaped array of three sensors with one AF point right on the bird’s eye and the other two below and in front of the eye.

Snowy Egret and sun — this JPEG represents the converted TIF.

My Very Favorite Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender Fort Desoto Image

In the Which is your favorite Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender Fort Desoto image? here, I asked:

Which of the images is your favorite? Why?

Which one of the images is my favorite? Why?

My very favorite image was and is Snowy Egret Sunset. Why? I love the out-of-focus sun. I love the fact that I went for the image in exceedingly difficult circumstances. And succeeded. Up until about 7:26pm I had managed to stay clean and dry. In order to get low enough to get the snowy’s head and the sun in the same frame, I had chosen to lie down flat in the very wet sand. Yuck. But Yeah! (Note: the difficulty we had in capturing an image should not matter; it is best only to judge the image itself without considering the circumstances …)

Kudos to Anthony who commented I’d like to see what you can do with the lower right image. Processed, I bet it’d look great! and to Jake who wrote, My favourites are the first and last images. Hazarding a guess … Is your favourite the last image? Stunning images.

My second favorite was the first image, Great Egret Squawking, so kudos again to Jake (above) and to David Policansky who wrote, My favorite is the first image, the great egret squawking.

Great analysis of the mystery bird by IPT veteran Scott Borowy who left this comment:

My first instinct for the silhouetted image was to call it a gull species, however, the large, webbed feet made me instantly question that. I think it is a Double-crested Cormorant, though it’s tough to tell in the shadows what specific cormorant it may be. The overall shape of the head, hooked tip of the bill, shape of the throat, (both which threw me as it is facing slightly toward the setting sun) the webbed feet, and rough, yet rounded ends to the feathers are what I’m basing this on.

My Favorite DeSoto Sunset Spot

To learn the location of my favorite Fort DeSoto sunset spot, you need to do one of two things:

Final-_P3A0535--Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

This image was created on the afternoon of Thursday, September 21, 2017 with the hand held Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (at 490mm with the TC engaged) and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops in Av mode: 1/200 sec. at f/6.3. WB: K7700.

Left Large Zone/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The system worked to perfection selecting an L-shaped array of three sensors with one AF point right on the bird’s eye and the other two below and in front of the eye.

Snowy Egret and sun — the optimized version

The Image Optimization

I converted the image pretty much straight up in DPP 4. Once I took it into Photoshop, the first thing that I did was to level the image using the Ruler Tool on the horizon. My next thought was to make the bird black with a Levels adjustment to create a dramatic silhouette. That attempt failed miserably as the image became terribly posterized and incredibly noisy. So then I went to a lighter look which is actually how things looked in life — everything was very soft. But when I lightened the bird to white, the sun became completely washed out. To fix that problem I went to Tim Grey Dodge and Burn, reduced the brush size to just smaller than the sun, and reduced the opacity of the darkening brush to 20% by hitting “2” using Denise Ippolito’s Brush Opacity Magic technique. Two slightly swirling clicks left me as a Happy Camper with a dramatic sun.

DBII-cover

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) will teach you an efficient Mac/Photo Mechanic/Photoshop workflow that will make it easy for you to make your images better in Photoshop (rather than worse). That true whether you convert your images in DPP 4 or ACR. See the blog post here to learn lots more and to read a free excerpt.

You can order your copy from the BAA Online Store here, by sending a Paypal for $40 here, or by calling Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II)

Everything mentioned above is covered in detail in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here. The new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. Do note that you will find the RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing tutorial only in the new e-guide. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

The two most recent MP4 Photoshop Tutorial videos releases go hand and hand with the information in DB II):

  • The Wingtip Repairs MP4 Video here.
  • The MP4 Crow Cleanup Video here.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here.

You can learn how and why I and other discerning Canon shooters convert nearly all of their Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 using Canon Digital Photo Professional in the DPP 4 RAW conversion Guide here. And you can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and (NeatImage) Noise Reduction techniques in the The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly.


fort-desoto-card

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Fort DeSoto Site Guide

Can’t make a DeSoto IPT? Get yourself a copy of the Fort DeSoto Site Guide. Learn the best spots, where to be when in what season in what weather. Learn the best wind directions for the various locations. BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. You can see all of them here.

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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.

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Typos

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3 comments to My Very Favorite Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender Fort Desoto Image

  • avatar Jake Levin

    Good Times? I’m jealous. The chicken paprikash is worth traveling to Florida for alone, birds or no birds!

    I’m curious, how do you deal with increased noise when you lighten a white bird the way you did in this post-processed image? Do you run a noise reduction filter once you’ve lightened the bird, or is there not enough noise to worry about with the new 5D to make it a problem in the first place?

  • avatar Scott Borowy

    Thank you for the kind words on the bird ID Artie. That is a wonderfully optimized Snowy Egret.

    Best wishes,
    Scott

  • avatar Jake

    Hi Artie, I love the optimized version even more. I hope the wind changes in your favour.
    Jake