Sitting Ducks. And a Used Near-mint Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS Lens for Sale. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Sitting Ducks. And a Used Near-mint Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS Lens for Sale.


Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night was beyond amazing. At 68 he still has his voice and more energy than you could possibly imagine. And he really knows how to connect with a New York audience. He was funny and humble and ever-appreciative of the skilled musicians in his band. What I loved most about the concert was the Billy Joel was obviously having a ton of fun. There were two guests on stage, Paul Simon (The Boxer) and Miley Cyrus; what a voice she has! He did 25 songs in all, most of them his monster hits. Those included Scenes from an Italian Restaurant and Piano Man before the encore break. To say that I was quite emotional for those two would be a huge understatement. After the short break he finished off with You May Be Right, We Didn’t Start the Fire, Uptown Girl, It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me, Big Shot, and Only The Good Die Young. For the last set the 20,000 plus sellout crowd stood and danced, screamed with happiness, and clapped till their hands were numb for about 40 minutes straight.

Lissy and I were completely exhausted but still exhilarated when we finally arrived at her home at about 1:30am.

I slept late for me, until 7:30am and played a lot of catch with grandson Idris for the rest of the day 🙂

With just one slot left on the San Diego IPT, you might wish to act quickly if you would like to join me in January 2018.

The Streak

Today makes sixty-eight days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about an hour to prepare (including the time spent on the image optimization). 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.


Booking.Com came through for me once again with both my DeSoto IPT and next July’s UK Puffins, Gannets, and Bempton Pre-trip room reservations. And all 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.

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

September Sales

  • Margaret Page sold her Canon EOS 7D Mark II in near-mint condition along with a $175 value L-Plate for $949 in late September.
  • Robert Blanke sold his Canon EOS 5Ds body in like-new condition for $2249.00 in early September.
  • Ron Paulk sold his Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for $9,899 with lots of great extras in early September.
  • Lisa Tri sold her Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Zoom lens (the original IS version) in near-mint condition for the BAA record low price of $898 in early September.
  • IPT veteran Joe Messina sold his Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender in excellent plus condition for the BAA record-low price of $7,900 in early September.
  • Ivan Kuraev sold his Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens in near-mint condition for $1699 and his Canon EOS 5D Mark IV in excellent near-mint condition for $2499 in early September.
  • IPT veteran Mike Ross sold his Canon EOS 7D Mark II with the Canon BG-E16 Battery Grip all in mint condition for $1,099 on the first day it was listed in early September.
  • Ray Stranagan sold his Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens in excellent condition for $3999 in early September, just three days after it was listed.

Brand New Listings

Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Lens

Steve Cashell is offering a Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM lens in near-mint condition for a very low $8399. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the E-180C front lens cover, the lens trunk with both keys, a Really Right Stuff LCF-51 lens foot, a Camo 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 Steve via e-mail or by phone at 10734-693-4242 (Eastern time).

I owned and used the super-sharp 800mm f/5.6, often with a 1.4X TC, as my go-to super-telephoto lens for almost five years. If you work with birds that are tough to approach and have trouble making sharp images with the 2X III TC, this lens should have your name on it. The 800/5.6 is great from the car or from a blind. I was astounded when I counted to learn that 15 of the 67 images in my San Diego exhibit were created with my 800 … They sell new right now for $12,999 from B&H. BB&H has a used one in similar condition for the insanely high price of $9,499.95. That gives you a choiceL save $4,600 off the cost of a new one or $1100.95 off the price of a used one … artie

Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM Lens

Price reduced $349 on September 16, 2017!

IPT veteran Jack Nevitt is offering a Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM lens in mint condition for $1150 (was $1499!) The sale includes the lens case LP 1016, the, original box, the front and rear lens caps, the instruction booklet and CD, 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 Jack via e-mail or by phone at 703-966-3343 (eastern time).

This lens is ideal for serious landscape photographers and for architectural, wedding, and night-sky star photography. It sells new for $2099. artie

This image was created on the 2017 San Diego IPT with the Induro GIT304L Grand Series 3 Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 255mm), and my favorite sitting duck photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering =/- ???: 1/1600 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: +2.

One AF point up and one to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. As seen in the DPP 4 screen capture below, the selected AF point was on the space below the base of the bill and just caught the spot where the base of the neck meets the top of the breast. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Ring-necked Duck drake floating

Sitting Duck

Ring-necked Ducks — including both the handsome drakes (like the one above) and the more modest hens — have continued to be cooperative and dependable subjects on the San Diego IPT. Sitting behind your lowered tripod offers a sweet perspective without your having to get down on your belly on either asphalt or a downhill slope. The former is much more comfortable 🙂 You can see a hint of the mahogany/burgundy neck ring that gives this species its name.

Exposure Question

If you were behind the camera at the moment of exposure and were working in Av mode what EC (exposure compensation) would have dialed in? Why?

The DPP 4 screen capture for today’s featured image

Be sure to click to enlarge so that you can read the small numbers and see the fine print.

The DPP 4 Screen Capture

Note the position of the selected AF point that is illuminated in red; it is right on the same plane as the drake’s eye.

The WHITEs in the original had way too much RED. I tried moving the Color Fine tune dot towards BLUE but did not like the result so I tried something new. I used Click White Balance and then moved the Color Fine tune dot away from BLUE and a bit towards RED. Perfect. Then I moved the Shadow slider to +1 to reveal a bit more detail in the dark tones and the Highlight slider to -1 to reveal a bit more detail in the whites on the side of the duck’s breast.

Once I brought the converted TIFF into Photoshop I eyeball-leveled it 1/2 degree counter-clockwise and filled in the added skinny triangles using John Haedo Content Aware fill. Then I used the Spot Healing brush to remove a very few specular highlights from the black plumage. Last, working very large, I removed the “extra” eye highlight from the lower edge of the pupil using a 70% hardness Clone Stamp Tool brush. Explanation: when photographing birds on the water on sunny days you will often see one highlight from the sun and an extra highlight from the sun’s reflection off the water.

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 (and tons more) 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 and many of the older 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.

2017 in San Diego was a very good year ….

2018 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART IPT: Monday, JAN 15 thru and including the morning session on Friday, JAN 19, 2018: 4 1/2 days: $2099.

Limit: 8: Openings: 1

Meet and Greet at 6:30pm on the evening before the IPT begins; Sunday, Jan 14, 2018.

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (usually nesting and displaying) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Wood Duck and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heerman’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seal (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lion; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Please note: formerly dependable, both Wood Duck and Marbled Godwit have been declining at their usual locations for the past two years …


San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects. With annual visits spanning more than three decades I have lot of experience there….

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You can do most of your photography with an 80- or 100-400 lens …

Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter?


Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings.

The San Diego Details

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, four 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo sessions, four lunches, and after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. Dinners are on your own so that we can get some sleep.

A $599 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 9/11//2016. 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. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.

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.

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use the logo link above.

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here.


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 :).

20 comments to Sitting Ducks. And a Used Near-mint Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS Lens for Sale.

  • Spot meter off the black, then the gray / white part of the bird and split the difference.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Kurt, You are making things far too complicated and what you suggest is very sloppy at best. To make your life simple learn to use the histogram and to check for blinkies. See Kent Downing’s answer below.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Krishna prasad kotti

    Hi Artie,

    I think I will go with -1 EV .


  • avatar Kent Downing

    Hi Artie-. The overall scene lends itself towards a slightly darker than average mid-tone. It is a difficult image to correctly expose given the high contrast between the whites and blacks. Therefore, I would first start with a slightly negative EC (see comment below), then check the histogram and highlight blinkies and adjust exposure accordingly. I might venture to say that the image was slightly overexposed given the whites adjustment in DPP, but it did allow for capturing wonderful detail in the dark tones. This is a wonderful image. I love the position of the bird, lighting and detail from the Blacks to Whites-Well Done. Exposure for this situation is more clearly explained in your “Art of Bird Photography Book” page 60- “Center-Weighted Average Metering with Exposure Control” (My Go-To Reference Book). I would of used manual exposure as most likely the light remained the same, and the background varied considerably in tonality. Thanks for the exercise.
    Cheers Kent

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Kent,

      You get the gold star 🙂

      with love, artie

      ps: I was in Manual mode; I used Av for the question to make things a bit more clear for some folks.

      pps: not “over-exposed.” I use the Highlights slider to restore detail in bright WHITEs.

      • avatar Kent Downing

        Thanks Artie,
        I appreciate the positive comment from you. And thank goodness for the highlight slider to recapture the bright whites.
        Hope you are well and all the best.
        Kent .

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: That’s a stunning image. I have never succeeded in getting a bird like that with such fine detail in both the white and the dark areas. You’ve convinced me that getting such an image requires more skill in post-processing than I have as well as getting the exposure just right. You asked Elinor Ostrom about the background, which to me is lighter than the dark areas of the duck and darker than the white. I really don’t know but I can’t see how you added or subtracted anything, thus my guess is EV = 0.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Dr. Fish, Close but those WHITEs on the forward flank would likely be over-exposed …


  • avatar Jim Amato

    EV +1.
    The water reflects light and tends to have the exposure system dial down the aperture or increase the shutter speed.
    Shadows and darks-too dark.
    White and lighter areas-too light

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      At +1 the WHITE on the forward flank would have been well over-exposed and detail-less. You would not be able to recover the lost highlights.


  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    When I look at your blog photos I try to come up with the exposure adjustment before I read what you actually did. My first thought seeing this one was “Hard one !” Maybe 0, because the black and white balance each other and the blue water might be about 0. Also in DPP you brought the Highlights down and the Shadows up showing you were about in the middle between them.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


      How would you rate the tonality of the BKGR? And how much bright white is there?

      with love, artie

      • avatar Elinor Osborn

        There is less white than black. Background maybe darker than 0, like -2/3. So, maybe Av needs -1/3 since white needs -1/3 to have detail. Really difficult for me to figure out.

  • avatar frank sheets

    Good morning Artie. Wow, sounds like you had a ton of fun at the Billy Joel show. The whole place must have been rocking!

    And, wow, what a beautiful Drake. On the exposure question: my guess is that one would have to go minus to control the chest and bill from being blown. How much? Not sure, but the natural high contrast in the image, maybe -1.5 to -2. The majority of the scene is relatively dark compared to the light chest and bill, so the meter would have been faked out. Question of you: why AV mode?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Good stuff Frank. And yes, the place was rocking.

      I was in Manual mode but I asked the question differently using Av mode as some folks get confused thinking that there is no EC in Manual mode 🙂

      with love, artie

  • avatar Greg

    Very dark bird on dark water – I would be tempted to give it -2EV but as it is important not to blow out the white plumage, I would back off to -1EV for safety.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Greg,

      I am slightly confused as going to -2 would give more protection to the WHITEs …

      with love, artie

      • avatar Greg

        Sorry Artie, it was late and the brain was engaged in reverse!
        If there was no white with important detail, I would give it -1EV, but as the whites in this image are important, I would give it -2EV to ensure no clipping or loss of detail.