Short Mid-range Zoom Lenses for Gannets in Flight and Diving? And a Great ACR Tip for Converting Under-exposed RAW Files « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Short Mid-range Zoom Lenses for Gannets in Flight and Diving? And a Great ACR Tip for Converting Under-exposed RAW Files

Stuff

Amy and I flew from Edinburgh to Orlando on Wednesday with a 4 1/2 hour layover in Toronto. Everything went smoothly. MCO was a zoo; Jim picked us up just before 7pm. We were home at 8:30pm (1:30am Scotland time the next day …) I slept in my own bed for the first time since June 27th.

Lots of jet lag on Thursday but it was good to be home. Aside from walking 6.3 miles in all (and getting on the StairMaster for a bit for the first time in forever), I did not get much accomplished. On the UK portion of our trip WiFi problems led to recent portions of my Inbox disappearing. I will be catching up on e-mails in the next few days. If you sent something important and you do not hear from me on Friday (the 13th!), please re-send.

PHOTOEXPO 2018

If you missed the PHOTOEXPO 2018 announcement and live anywhere within driving or flying distance of Memphis, TN, click here for the info. I have rides to Beale Street for both nights. If you are attending, please stop by the BAA table for a handshake and a hug.

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Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog 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 went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can always see the current listings by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

Recent Sales

Jim Keener sold his Canon EOS-1DX Mark II in near-mint condition for $3,999.00 the first day it was listed
Ray Maynard sold his Canon 1.4X III teleconverter in near-mint condition for the low price of $299.00 in late June, 2018.
Randall Ennis sold his Canon EOS-1D Mark IV in excellent condition for $849.00 in late June.
Joel Williams sold his Sony Vario-Tessar T FE 16-35 f/4 ZA OSS lens in like-new condition for $629 (was $749) in late June, 2018.
Joel Williams also sold his Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR lens in like-new condition for $749 (was $949) in April 2018.
Pierre Williot sold his Canon EOS 7D Mark II in like-new condition for a very fair $848.00 in late June, 2018.
Top BAA used gear seller Jim Keener sold his Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens in like-new condition for the BAA record low price of $1349.00 the first day it was listed in late June.
Jim Keener sold a Canon EOS 5D Mark III body in excellent condition for the BAA record-low price of $999.00 (was $1149.00) in mid-June.
Jim Keener sold a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for the BAA record low price of $1099.00 in Early June.
Steve Traudt sold an Xtrahand Vest, the Khumbu model, size XL, in very good condition for the BAA record-low price of $179.
Jim Brennan sold a used Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens in good condition for $249.00 in late May.
Larry Padgett sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III body in excellent condition for $1160 soon after it was listed in late May.
Charlie Curry sold his Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens in mint condition for a BAA record-low price of $750.00 on the first day of listing in late May, 2018.

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Patrick Sparkman saved $350 on a recent purchase!

Via e-mail from Gary Meyer

Thanks for posting instructions on where to get the Nikon D850 quickly. Bedford shipped mine the same day. Wow, you sure got good connections!



Booking.Com

Several folks on the UK IPT used the Booking.Com link below for there Edinburgh hotels, 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 photographers 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.

Northern-Gannet-braking-to-land-105mm-_MAI2126Bass-Rock,-Scotland,-UK

This image was created on the Fisher Lassie with Captain Gordon near Bass Rock, Scotland on the morning of July 10,, 2018. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens (at 105mm) with the Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering plus 1/3 stop as framed: 1/6400 sec. at f/6.3. NATURAL AUTO WB at 9:03am on a mostly sunny day.

Center Group (grp)/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the bird’s wings. Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #1: Northern Gannet braking in flight

Short Mid-range Zoom Lenses for Gannets in Flight and Diving?

I think that it was IPT veteran Billie Snell, a pediatrician from L.A. (lower Alabama as here husband Brian says), who first began using her Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II not for wide angles showing lots of birds but to create images of single gannets diving. At first I thought that it was foolish — who ever heard of using a short mid-range zoom lens to photograph single birds in flight? But I and several others followed her lead and it turned out to be a great technique. The short zooms are lighter and smaller even than the 70-200 f/4s that I love for the gannet boat and are thus easier to handle, the birds are often so close that even 120mm is too long (as with the image above), and using a short mid-range zoom makes it far easier to track the birds that dive close to the boat. Thanks Bille for opening my eyes.

Oil Tanker

The smudge on the horizon on the right side of the frame was a distant oil tanker. I decided to leave it. What would you have done? Why?

DivGANNet-under-PhMech-scrn-cap

This image was created on the Fisher Lassie with Captain Gordon near Bass Rock, Scotland on the morning of July 10,, 2018. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens (at 120mm) with the Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering plus 1/3 stop as framed: 1/6400 sec. at f/6.3 in Av mode. NATURAL AUTO WB at 9:03am on a mostly sunny day.

Center Group (grp)/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the bird’s wings. Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #2: the Photo Mechanic screen capture for Image #3/the original

A Small-in-the-frame Underexposure

With the wind against sun conditions and the sun going in and out almost constantly, getting the right exposure exposure was a nightmare. Once I switched to the 24-120mm I decided to shoot everything in Av mode at plus one or two thirds and live with some underexposures and some over-exposures. As you can see above, the original image on this diving shot was well under-exposed (as was the RAW file for Image #1). But …

Norhtern-Gannet-entering-water-on-dive----baited-_MAI2121Bass-Rock,-Scotland,-UK

This image was created on the Fisher Lassie with Captain Gordon near Bass Rock, Scotland on the morning of July 10,, 2018. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens (at 120mm) with the Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering plus 1/3 stop as framed: 1/6400 sec. at f/6.3 in Av mode. NATURAL AUTO WB at 9:03am on a mostly sunny day.

Center Group (grp)/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the bird’s wings. Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Northern Gannet hitting the water/optimized

D850 Image Quality

The superb quality and dynamic range of D850 image files made opening up this image and executing a relatively large (for me) crop a breeze. I ran Neat Image noise reduction on Image #1 to eliminate the small pixel noise but did not need to do so with Image #3.

A Great ACR Tip for Converting Under-exposed RAW Files

With properly exposed RAW files I advise starting with the White slider when converting images in Adobe Camera RAW. ACR in Photoshop is nearly identical to the RAW converter in Lightroom. But with underexposed RAW files, a much better approach is to begin by moving the Exposure slider to the right to taste. Try it; you will find your results far superior by opening up the image first and then setting the White and Black points as detailed in BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II).

DBII-cover

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

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)

The tip above and dozens more are covered in detail in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. This e-Guide details my complete digital workflow and is written in my easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand style. Consider it a cookbook for your images.

Your Favorite?

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

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13 comments to Short Mid-range Zoom Lenses for Gannets in Flight and Diving? And a Great ACR Tip for Converting Under-exposed RAW Files

  • avatar Geoff

    I like the inclusion of the tanker…both are nice shots.
    I have to ask, have you tried the Nikon 300 f/4 PF lens yet (PF is Nikon’s DO equivalent)?…I have owned a lot of nice lenses over the years including the Canon 400DOII, Canon 300/2.8II, Canon 600II and I own the Nikon 500E FL….but despite all of those my favourite lens I’ve ever owned is my Nikon 300PF especially for handheld BIF. I use mine with all three Nikon TCs as needed for the situation but using it with the 1.4TCIII most of the time…it is a phenomenal lens for BIF and walking around birding. I started in Nikon land with D500 and 200-500E but now have a D850 also. I always value a zoom but I value lightweight and maneuverability more so (why I went for the 500/4 instead of another 600 as I moved further to Nikon) and that is where the 300PF shines. With the 1.4TC at 420/5.6 and given the 200-500’s focus breathing making it more like a 450-480 lens as you get closer to things, you don’t give up much focal length but you gain a lot of agility.

    Anyways, after all that blabbering I just wanted to highly recommend you try this out for BIF.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I tried it with my D850. And I think with the 1.4XTC. It was too long for the gannet boat and with a full frame body, too short of the rest 🙂

      with love, artie

      ps: what is focus breathing?

      • avatar Steve Wampler

        Focus breathing is where magnification changes as focus distance changes. You can see the effect by focusing on something at a distance and observing the framing. Then as you move the focus closer to you, watch the framing change. Some lenses are worse than others, but you basically don’t get the full “reach” of some lenses at closer distances.

        Hope that helps.

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Thanks Steve, I was familiar with the concept but not with the term “focus breathing.” If you think about it, that is a pretty poor choice of words … “Framing breathing” might make more sense.

          with love, artie

          ps: the Canon 100-400 II did the same thing but I never held that against it 🙂

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Welcome home. I much prefer the first image; like Therese Scheller, it made me smile. I spent a lot of time photographing diving gannets from a beach on Nantucket this past May. I never could get close enough to get really pleasing images, but my favorites always were of birds just before they hit the water. Your image benefits because you can see the bird’s head underneath the surface in the clear water, but I remember an image of yours from a year or two ago that I think showed the whole bird under water that just blew me away. In any case, both are terrific but my favorite is the first; perfect wing and head position and the feet sticking out are great as well.

  • avatar Jordan Cait

    I prefer the first image. The eyes are the windows to the soul. Dive shots are interesting but I prefer seeing eyes over the bird’s tooches.

  • avatar Therese Scheller

    That first image immediately put a smile on my face – gorgeous!

  • I really like the first image. Very Nice wing position indeed. I suspect you had wonderful Trip. Thanks for sharing the images and other info.

  • avatar Chip Gross

    Artie: I’ve heard you refer to a “throw-over blind” several times. Would you please explain what it is and show us a photo? Thanks!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      A throw-over blind is a large piece of camouflage cloth with some mesh that you can see through and an opening for your lens. You throw it over yourself or get under it and then sit very still. There are lightweight and heavyweight models.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Welcome back!
    I don’t mind the North Sea horizon and the oil tanker is barely visible.
    As for the diving Gannet – I really like the optimized version and the way you cropped it.
    The symmetry in the wings is beautiful.
    The ring of water and droplets around the bird is very nice!

  • Hey Arthur, Sounds like it was a blast. The diving gannet is my favorite. Your timing was excellent love the water splashing and the neat pose on the bird. What’s with that white bar across the bottom of the first image?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi John, Thanks. That is the North Sea. The oil tanker is on the horizon on the right side of the image.

      with love, artie

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