The Blue-eyed Chocolate-Covered Cherry. The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6 VR lens with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Blue-eyed Chocolate-Covered Cherry. The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6 VR lens with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III

Stuff

On Sunday I spent another morning with the borrowed Nikon gear. With a nice east wind it was a great morning for pelican flight photography: I had 40 pelican flight keepers. What a pleasure it is to edit a series of flight images and simply look for the best poses without having to pray that this one or that one might be sharp …

The afternoon was spent at Patrick and Robin’s house watched the NFL playoffs on the tube and eating too much. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I was asleep at 7:30pm, woke at 2:30am, and edited about 10,000 images from my Phoenix and San Diego trips. I am all caught up.

There are only two slots left on the Spoonbill Boat IPT. The Master Classes will be announced soon.

The Streak

Today makes one hundred seventy-five days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about 90 minutes to prepare including the time spent optimizing the images. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections and my continuing insanity willing.



Booking.Com

Booking.Com came through for me twice again recently with both the DeSoto Fall 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.


Used Gear Page New Listings

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

With Extras!

NANPA President Don Carter is offering a Canon EOS 7D Mark II in near-mint condition for $849.00. The sale includes the Canon BG-E16 Battery Grip (a $209 value), a Kirk L bracket, an extra battery, the front lens cap, one battery charger, and insured ground shipping to US addresses via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Don via e-mail or by phone at (630) 390-0909 (Mountain time).

Both Patrick Sparkman and I used and loved the 7D Mark II until about two years ago when we both committed to using full frame Canon bodies. We both made some truly great images with it. Two of my three 2016 Nature’s Best honored entries were created with the 7D II, one still, and one video. One thing is for sure: the 7D Mark II is the greatest value ever in a digital camera body. With a new one alone going for $1499 you can grab Don’s 7D II along with some great extras. artie

Canon EOS-1DX Professional Digital Camera Body

BAA Record-low Price!

NANPA President Don Carter is also offering a Canon EOS-1DX in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $2298.00, The sale includes the front cap, a Kirk L-bracket, an extra battery, 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 Don via e-mail or by phone at (630) 390-0909 (Mountain time).

Two 1DX bodies severed admirably as my workhorse digital camera bodies for several years. The original 1DX has a superb AF system and produces high quality image files. It is fabulous for photographing birds in flight and in action. Some folks wish that they had kept there 1DX bodies and not upgraded to the 1DX Mark II … artie

Brown-Pelican-2-yr-old-_DSC2005--La--Jolla,-CA

This image was created on January 21 at La Jolla, CA with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III (at 350mm), and the blazingly fast professional digital camera body, the Nikon D5 DSLR camera body with dual XQD slots). ISO 400. Matrix metering probably +1/3 stop:: 1/640 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB at 9:12am on a clear sunny day.

Upper center Group/Shutter Button AF.

Image #1: Brown Pelican, Pacific race, two year old, vertical head and bill portrait

The Blue-eyed Chocolate Covered Cherry

We saw the beautiful bird featured in today’s blog post flying around early in the day as many pelicans left and returned to the cliffs after visiting an offshore feeding spree. At one point, it landed close to us in a big crowd of birds. I added the 1.4X TCE, got on the ground, and slowly inched closer. As the pelicans shifted position, the chocolate-covered cherry bird finally came completely clear for a vertical head and bill portrait.

Brown-Pelican-2-yr-old-tight-head-_DSC2005--La--Jolla,-CA

This image was created on January 21 at La Jolla, CA with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III (at 600mm), and the blazingly fast professional digital camera body, the Nikon D5 DSLR camera body with dual XQD slots). ISO 400. Matrix metering probably at zero: 1/800 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB at 9:09am on a clear sunny day.

Left Group/Shutter Button AF. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #2: Brown Pelican, Pacific race, two year old, tight head portrait

Tight Horizontal Head Portrait

I zoomed in tight to create image #2 when the object of my desire was surrounded by several other pelicans. The sharpness of the Nikon 2-5 with the TC-E 14 is astounding.

Pat-II_DSC1764

This image was created on January 21 at La Jolla, CA by Patrick Sparkman with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens (at 500mm) and the blazingly fast professional digital camera body, the Nikon D5 DSLR camera body with dual XQD slots). ISO 500. Matrix metering probably +1/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:40am on a clear sunny day.

Group/Shutter Button AF. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #3:Brown Pelican, Pacific race, 2nd year, in flight
Image courtesy of and copyright 2018: Patrick Sparkman

Potty Break

When I needed to visit the outdoor mens’ room-in-a-crevice, I took two out of focus images of the dirt and handed the rig to Patrick who was anxious to try it out. When I got back I took two more images of dirt so that we could easily locate Patrick’s images. As I was yesterday, he was quite amazed by the AF system of the D5. When I downloaded the shared XQD card, I saw that Patrick had had a good flight chance with our special bird. I was wishing that I could have held it a bit longer … Patrick, a long time Canon shooter, also had big problems with the “wrong direction zoom twist.”

Your Favorite?

Which of today’s three images is your favorite? Why?

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Typos

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26 comments to The Blue-eyed Chocolate-Covered Cherry. The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6 VR lens with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III

  • avatar Poojan Gohil

    Ditto on Steve Perry. He’s very good, kind of like the Arthur Morris of the Nikon world (not any longer though πŸ™‚ ). You should really try manual with auto ISO.

  • avatar Ed

    Artie,

    FWIW, until I bought the 200-500 last year I was getting shooting birds with the 70-200 2.8 and 1.7 TC (this is on a crop sensor body D500) with good results. Do you already have your D850 order in?

    Ed

  • Hey Artie, in a previous blog you mentioned difficulty changing autofocus modes on the Nikon D5. That is easily overcome by programming that function to a button in the in camera menu. I normally use back button focus. I have the autofocus on button set to either Group or D25. I have set the Depth of Field Preview Button for single point and to initiate autofocus. This works well for vertical images.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. As Andrew McLachlan said, killer images all three, and hard to choose among them. Probably Patrick Sparkman’s one of the flying bird.

    Last time you told us you were selling all your Canon gear and going to Nikon was one April Fool’s Day. You have a few months to go before it returns and so if you tell us that now, I at least will believe you.

  • avatar Gary Shackelford

    Artie,

    I hope you will consider trying out auto-ISO in manual mode with the Nikon gear. In this mode, the aperture and shutter speed are of course set manually, and the ISO is allowed to float. By doing so, it puts you in an auto exposure mode in which you may have to use exposure compensation, which Nikon systems allow you to do in manual mode. It is more complicated to describe than to implement. I know you have expressed negative views about this mode in previous posts, but Nikon has a very good implementation of this feature, and many Nikon shooters have had great success with it, including the aforementioned Steve Perry. Perry covers this subject thoroughly and lucidly in his autofocus ebook. I’d like to know what you think about it after you have given it a try with Nikon gear.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I am glad for them and for you. Perhaps I might try it one day if anyone can properly explain to me why I should. Manual mode gives you the most control.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Brendan

    I love the pelican in flight – it has the same color vibrancy of the static image but it also has the action that I love.

    I have the Nikon 200-500 and the d7200. Its my first serious lens for bird photography and I love it. I don’t have much of a frame of reference, but I am quite confident that any deficiencies in my photos are due to issues with the photographer, not the gear…

  • avatar Wayne Lea

    I follow your blog every day and want to thank you for trying a Nikon and posting the results. I have a Nikon D800E and the 200-500 as well as the 600 and they are exceptional. The best thing about the 200-500 is it’s easily hand held for flight photography and its great price. Bottom line is that both systems are exceptional.

  • Killer images here by both Patrick and yourself. I absolutely love my 200-500. I may need to look into getting the 1.4X TCE now πŸ™‚

  • Hi all

    Well here is one Professional who will not be changing over to Nikon, it would cost to much to change over to the Nikon system. I think you guys must be awash with to much money.
    I have been using Canon len’s for a least 25 years and I love them they have given me a living and made my life so intresting.

    Best wishes
    Kel
    UK

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Ken, That is great. All that I want to do is have the best tools in my hands.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Winn

    I’m use to the old push-pull of the canon 100-400. Can you do that with the Nikon 200-500?

  • I heard from lot of folks on internet that Nikon 200-500 is not sharp, also that its not sharp with 1.4x TC. On the contrary these images are great…

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Krishna, You know what I say about the internet experts: they are idiots who have never even used the gear. Not only is the 200-500 amazingly sharp but it is so sharp with the 1.4X TCE as to be sick. All of my D5 images are so sharp that I have actually been moving the clarity slider a bit to the left to soften them up lest they look artificial!

      with love and thanks again for your help.

      artie

  • avatar Doug

    Looks like a large used Canon sale is coming.

  • Hi Ron

    My I suggest you change over to Canon , all converters are matched to Professional L lens.

    Best wishes

    Kel
    UK

    • Hi Ken,
      Unfortunately I now have about Β£35k invested in Nikon, so not really an option for me.
      Besides, I do like the high ISO performance that Nikon can offer. It’s just a shame there 2 x TCE isn’t as good as Canon’s version.

      Best regards,
      Ron
      UK

  • Great work Artie,
    As a D5 user it’s interesting to see how your getting on.
    All I need now is to see if you can make sharp images with the D5 + Nikkon 600mm f/4 + Nikkon 2x TCE. I have tried and struggle big time. The Nikkon 1.4 TCE is great, but I have given up with the 2x.
    Take care.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I am curious about that too πŸ™‚

      with love, artie

      ps: do you used the 1.7X TCE?

      • Hi Artie,
        No I haven’t used the 1.7 x TCE.
        I did think about getting one a while ago, but decided to hold out in case Nikon decide to upgrade the 2x. Might be time to reconsider. πŸ˜‰
        Cheers,
        Ron