The Under-appreciated Laughing Gull. Missing the 400 DO II. And Micro-adjusting … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Under-appreciated Laughing Gull. Missing the 400 DO II. And Micro-adjusting ...

Stuff

On Thursday morning, armed with more info, we drove to Veteran’s Oasis Park to give that location another go. We were hoping to see and photograph jackrabbit, roadrunner, and Burrowing Owl. We saw all three but only got photos of the really tall rabbits with the big ears. But we did run into wildlife biologist Ryan Olinger whom we had met and hung out with the day before at Gilbert. He volunteered to show us the Burrowing Owls at Zanjero Park. After we were done photographing the owls we ran into a silly tame pair of Greater Roadrunners and spent and hour with them. I had dinner with friends at the DC Steakhouse in Chandler.

Thanks to all who commented on the duck feeding issue questions.

The Streak

Today makes two hundred twenty-one days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about 40 minutes to prepare. 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.

The Used Gear Page

Action on the Used Gear Page recently has been fantastic. You can see all current listings on the Used Photo Gear page here.

Booking.Com

Several folks on the Spoonbill IPTs used the Booking.Com link below and got great rates and saved a handsome $25.00 in the process. If you too would like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and to earn a $25 reward on your first booking. 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. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

Laughing-Gull-breeding-plumage-head-portrait-_W5A4820-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Tierra,-Verde,-FL

This image was created at Fort DeSoto on the evening of April 21, 2017 at 6:38pm while sitting on the beach. I used the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens with the Canon Extender EF 2X III and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/640 sec. at f/10. AWB on a sunny afternoon.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -16.

AI Servo/shutter button/Expand AF: three AF points to the right and one up from the center AF point; the selected AF point was just below the bird’s eye. Be sure to click on the image to see the spectacular larger version.

Laughing Gull in breeding plumage: head portrait

The Under-appreciated Laughing Gull

Sabine’s Gull in breeding plumage is on my top ten most wanted list. It is both beautiful and rare. If Laughing Gull were a rare bird, it too would be highly sought after by birders and bird photographers. But on the East and Gull Coasts it is so common as to be classed a “dirt bird.” As today’s featured image shows, breeding plumage Laughing Gull is a drop-dead gorgeous species. We will have lots of opportunities to photograph this species in breeding plumage in a variety of settings doing lots of neat things on both DeSoto IPTs.

400 DO II

The Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens is an incredible tool. I miss mine. Either bare or with the 1.4X TC it makes a great flight lens. With the 2X TC it gives you 800mm of hand held full frame reach. It is best used on a tripod in low light especially when a TC is added. At this time, Nikon has nothing that compares with the 400 DO II. The Nikon 200-500, though a great value that offers the advantages of a zoom lens, is a full stop slower. The two lenses are very close in weight. In competent hands, however, both are capable of creating very sharp images.

Important Teleconverter Notes

Do understand that in almost all cases it is inadvisable to use a 2X teleconverter with and f/5.6 lens, especially with the very popular Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II and the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lenses. The 1.4 TCs and TC-Es should do just fine with those and other f/5.6 lenses as the last few generations of digital camera bodies off AF down to f/8.

LensAlign FocusTune Micro-adjustments

Many folks complain that they cannot make sharp images with their 2X teleconverters. But few take the time to properly micro-adjust their lenses with each TC. Notice with today’s featured image that the LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment was -16. If I created the image at the default value, zero, this image would have been totally soft. Remember that a high positive or negative AFA number does not mean that your lens or your camera or your TC is faulty. You are simply fine-tuning the focus to ensure that the great majority of your images are acceptably sharp.

If you are in the dark about micro-adjusting, check out the The LensAlign/FocusTune Micro-Adjusting Tutorial e-Guide here. The LensAlign Mark II/FocusTune package requires a separate purchase.

Please Note

I have been getting lots of e-mails below on qualifying for a free Nikon D850/D5 Focus Fine-tune Guide (should I ever actually get started on and finish it). “I once met you in San Diego; do I qualify for a free guide? I bought your micro-adjusting guide; do I get a free copy of the Nikon D850/D5 Focus Fine-tune Guide? Please read the item below before e-mailing as it clearly states the qualifications for getting the guide for free 🙂

The Nikon D850/D5 Focus Fine-tune Guide

I hope to be working on a Nikon D850/D5 Focus Fine-tune Guide while I am in Phoenix. There is lots of mis-information out there on Nikon Automatic AF Fine-tune. Working with Patrick Sparkman, we perfected a method of using the Focus Peaking feature available only on the D850 to quickly and accurately micro-adjust all of your lenses and TC-Es with your D-850. Both Nikon Automatic AF Fine-tune and D850 Focus Peaking AF Fine-tune require a LensAlign Mark II kit so that you can obtain accurate results. I learned recently that the Nikon D500 DSLR does offer Automatic AF Fine-tune.

Folks who use one of my links to purchase a Nikon D850, a Nikon D5 DSLR Camera (Body Only, Dual XQD Slots), a Nikon D500 DSLR , or any Nikon gear totaling more than $2,000 will receive the new guide free. I hope to have it finished in two weeks but don’t hold me to it 🙂

Registering for an IPT

To register for any of the IPTs below call Jim or Jen in the office at 863-692-0906 from Monday morning through Friday lunch with your credit card in hand to leave your $500 non-refundable deposit. Balances may not be paid by credit card so you will be asked to send a check for your balance along with the signed paperwork that you will find here.

Gatorland-mini-MARCH-IPT

Great Egrets in breeding plumage are quite beautiful

Gatorland IPT #1. Sunrise: 7:25am, Sunset: 7:40pm

3 1/2 DAYs: THURS 22 March through and including the morning of SUN 25 MAR. $1599. Limit 5 photographers.

(2 1/2 DAY option) FRI 23 March through and including the morning of SUN 25 MAR. $1199.

Must purchase Gatorland Photographers Pass. Click here for details. All early entry. Late stays Friday and Saturday. Thursday late-stay is under discussion. Gatorland IPT #1 is best for killer breeding plumage Great Egrets. With chicks. Also Wood Stork and Cattle Egret. Surprisingly, there are already more than a few Snowy Egrets and Tricolored Herons in breeding plumage! Learn to get the right exposure, flight photography techniques, my secret Gatorland spots, how to see the best situations (nobody is better at that than me), and how to make great images in extremely cluttered situations.

Gatorland-Card

Tame birds in breeding plumage are great fun.

Gatorland IPT #2. Sunrise: 6:48am. Sunset: 7:58pm.

3 1/2 DAYs: THURS 26 APR through and including the morning of SUN 29 APR. $1599. Limit 5 photographers.

(2 1/2 DAY option) FRI 27 APR through and including the morning of SUN 29 APR. $1199.

Must purchase Gatorland Photographers Pass. Click here for details. All early entry. Late stays Friday and Saturday. Thursday late-stay is under discussion. Gatorland IPT #2 should have lots of chicks, and lots of birds in breeding plumage. We will get to photograph Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, and Wood Stork. The Cattle Egrets in full breeding plumage will be present in good numbers. Learn my Gatorland strategy, to get the right exposure, flight photography techniques, my secret Gatorland spots, how to see the best situations (nobody is better at that than me), and how to make great images in extremely cluttered situations.

GATORLAND-NEW-card-layers-1

Large Tricolored Heron chicks (lower left) are to die for!

Gatorland #3. Sunrise: 6:33am. Sunset: 8:10pm.

3 1/2 DAYs: THURS 17 MAY through and including the morning of SUN 20 MAY. $1599. Limit 5 photographers.

(2 1/2 DAY option) FRI 18 MAY through and including the morning of SUN 20 MAY. $1199.

Must purchase Gatorland Photographers Pass. Click here for details. All early entry. Late stays Friday and Saturday. Thursday late-stay is under discussion. Gatorland IPT #3 is best for medium sized chicks of the following species: Cattle Egret, Snowy Egret, and Tricolored Heron. Head portraits of handsome fledged Great Egrets are pretty much guaranteed. Learn to get the right exposure, flight photography techniques, my secret Gatorland spots, how to see the best situations (nobody is better at that than me), and how to make great images in extremely cluttered situations.

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If In Doubt …

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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.

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Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack.

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 :).

7 comments to The Under-appreciated Laughing Gull. Missing the 400 DO II. And Micro-adjusting …

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Beautiful image. You long ago taught me to appreciate gulls! And I’m so envious of the tame roadrunners. The ones I’ve seen always are spooky.

  • avatar Gary Bowers

    Hi Artie, the D500 does offer Automatic AF tuning. The procedure is on page 310 in the instruction manual.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Gary and thanks. That’s why I wrote this in today’s blog post 🙂

      I learned recently that the Nikon D500 DSLR does offer Automatic AF Fine-tune.

      with love, artie

  • avatar frank sheets

    Hi Artie – the image quality of your gull with the 5DIV, 400mmDOII, plus 2XIII, hand held is pretty GD tough to beat! I would have very tough time letting mine go.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      You want image quality? Wait till you see tomorrow’s blog post 🙂

      with love, artie

  • avatar Noel Heustis

    Artie – I love these laughing gulls as well. Today’s image is a beautiful head shot with a nice clean BG. I’ve been photographing a lot of these recently and haven’t been able to get the eyes as bright as you’ve gotten here. There is no shortage of entertainment when photographing these awesome subjects. Thanks for sharing this one today.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Noel. Here is a great lesson for you and the gang: we are always exposing for the WHITEs. That means that the middle tones will be one stop too dark and the dark tones will be 1 1 2/3 to 2 stops too dark … The solution is to do the Eye Doctor work using Tim Grey Dodge and burn as detailed in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) here. Furthermore, serious students who want to learn the exposure theory mentioned above are directed to the section on Exposure Theory in the original The Art of Bird Photography here.

      with love, artie