Confirming Focus Fine-tune Values in the Field. And the First Nikon 500mm PF Lens Images. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Confirming Focus Fine-tune Values in the Field. And the First Nikon 500mm PF Lens Images.

Stuff

As I am traveling in the Southern Ocean, I will be without internet access from the afternoon of October 19 until November 1. When I left, there were only two people signed up for the Early Winter DeSoto IPT; do consider joining us.

Like spoonbills? Do consider joining me on the Hooptie Deux Spoonbill IPT next February; scroll down for the details.

Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime/Limit 12/Openings: 3

Right now I have nine folks committed to the 2019 Galapagos Photo Cruise. A friend who had committed to the trip learned that he and his wife might not be able to attend. Thus, I have room for a couple or for two same-sex roommates, and for a male single. If the archipelago is on your bucket list, please get in touch via e-mail asap with questions. If you might be registering with a friend or a spouse do ask about the two at a time discount. See the complete details here.

BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.



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.

Airbnb

For the past few months, I have been hearing folks use the word Airbnb, most notably, Amy Novotny. Out of curiosity I asked a few questions. What I learned amazed me. Join Airbnb and become part of a community that connects global travelers with local hosts across the world. Find a place to stay and discover things to do. Airbnb lists more than 4.5 million homes across 200 countries; you’ll find spacious, affordable options for every occasion. With Airbnb you will travel with confidence as reviews from past guests help you find the right fit. Once you do, our secure messaging makes it easy to coordinate with your host. And Airbnb support teams are available 24/7. Last night I made a reservation for an Airbnb apartment for my upcoming January San Diego visit: 13 nights with a full kitchen and two bedrooms.

Yikes. I almost forgot the best part: Airbnb rates average less than half of even the least expensive chain hotels and motels. If you would like to save $40 on your first booking sign up by using this link: Airbnb. Airbnb does charge clean-up and service fees that make short stays less attractive bargains than long stays.

Those who prefer to stay in a motel or hotel are invited to use the Booking.com link below to save $25.00.

Booking.Com

Several folks on the UK IPT used the Booking.Com link below for their 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.

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. Steve currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.

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.

Dolphin-Gull-with-mussel-_MAI0570Ushuaia,-Argentina

This image was created in Ushuaia, Argentina on the afternoon of October 18, 2018. I used the tiny, hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. ISO 400. Matrix metering +1/3 stop: 1/3200 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AUTO1 WB at 4:45pm on a clear afternoon.

I used a single AF point two up and two to the left of the center AF point with Shutter Button/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon) AF. AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the bird’s neck right on the same plane as its eye.

Phase detection AF Fine-tune value: +2. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #1: Dolphin Gull, adult in breeding plumage with mussel

The First Nikon 500mm PF Lens Images

On Wednesday afternoon, I headed down to the waterfront in Ushuaia to create a few images before we board the ship on the afternoon of Friday, October 19. It was wind against sun and there was not much around but I did make some decent images of the Dolphin Gulls. Image #1, above, was my fourth keeper with the new lens. I found hand holding the lens to be an amazing pleasure; I quickly got used to the small size and the light weight. When you raise the camera you are surprised at how large the bird is in the frame; it is hard to believe that it is a 500mm lens.

500-PF-EYE-close-up-_MAI0610Ushuaia,-Argentina

This image was also created in Ushuaia, Argentina on the afternoon of October 18, 2018. I used the tiny, hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and my souped-up mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. ISO 800. Matrix metering +1/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AUTO1 WB at 5:02pm on a clear afternoon.

I used the center AF point with Shutter Button/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon) AF. AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was placed on the bird’s face just below and slightly in front of the bird’s eye.

Phase detection AF Fine-tune value: -2. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #2: Dolphin Gull: unsharpened 100% crop of a head portrait

The 500 PF With the TC-E14

I was looking forward to trying the new lens with the TC-E14. I was very happy with the the speed of initial AF acquisition, the sharpness, and the incredible fine feather detail — the latter in part due to the fabulous image quality of the D-850 files. That said, the 500 PF is one very sharp lens. With the 1.4X TC, this combination will serve as my long telephoto lens on the (possible) Emperor Penguin hikes and on the Antarctica zodiac landings if we have bad luck with emperors.

Hooptie-card-2017-images

From left to to right clockwise back to the center: Brown Pelican, Roseate Spoonbill downstroke, Brown Pelican sunrise silhouette, Double-crested Cormorant pre-dawn blur, Roseate Spoonbill flapping after bath, Brown Pelican taking flight, Roseate Spoonbill taking flight, Reddish Egret white morph breeding plumage in flight, and Reddish Egret dark morph breeding plumage in flight.

All images on this card were created by me on the Hooptie Deux at Alafia Banks on the February 2018 trip.

You can click on each card to enjoy a larger version.

2019 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT — FEB 16 thru 19, 2019: $2599.00. Limit: 5 photographers/Openings: 4.

3 1/2 days on the boat including four morning photo sessions and three afternoon sessions via customized pontoon boat.

Price per day Reduced from the 2018 rates! Please e-mail for details on IPT veteran and couples’ discounts. Pro-rated options may be available …

We will be leaving the dock very early for the morning sessions (weather permitting) in hopes of photographing the pre-dawn American Crow and White Ibis blast-offs. All sessions are planned for the Alafia Banks Roseate Spoonbill Rookery. We might consider other options in the unlikely event of horrific weather. There will be lots of opportunities for flight photography of several species including and especially Roseate Spoonbill. Also likely for flight photography are nesting Brown Pelican, both morphs of Reddish Egret, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, White and Glossy Ibises, and Double Crested Cormorant. We should have some good chances with birds carrying nesting material. This IPT includes all boat and guide fees, in the field instruction, chest waders (feel free to bring your own of course to assure a perfect fit), and three working lunches on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. For the most part we will be standing in mid-calf to knee high water behind our tripods. We help you get in and out of the boat with your gear. This is likely not the best trip for folks with mobility or balance problems. Note however that some folks opt to stay on the boat to photograph. They usually have lots of chances for flight photography of spoonbills and other species but are almost always pretty far away from the spoonbills that land.

spoonbill-card

All images on this card were created by me on the Hooptie Deux at Alafia Banks

The Timing and Tides are Perfect!

I recently saw a similar trip advertised two months too late for breeding plumage spoonbills … The 2019 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT represents an incredible opportunity to photograph Florida’s most wanted species. I do hope that you can join us. There will be a meet and greet at 7:00pm sharp on the evening of Friday February 15, 2019. All of the images on the card were made on the Hooptie Duex during the last two weeks of February, prime time for the spoonies in mega-breeding plumage. Many folks have written expressing interest so please do not tarry.

Please e-mail to hold your spot. Then you may either secure your spot by calling Jim or Jennifer at the office at 863-692-0906 and leaving the $500 deposit on credit card or sending your check for payment in full to us as follows with the check made out to:

BIRDS AS ART and sent here via US mail:

BIRDS AS ART
PO BOX 7245
Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855

If you call to leave your deposit you will be asked to mail your check for the balance no later than December 15, 2018.


hooptie-card-shadle-aa

Images courtesy of our guide; copyright 2017 Captain James Shadle (aka Froggie). All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

Everybody Loves Spoonbills!

Roseate Spoonbill is one of if not the most sought after avian photographic subjects in Florida. They are generally hard to find and somewhat difficult to approach. They are relatively easy to find at Alafia Banks—heck, you can’t miss seeing them, but even there they can on some days be somewhat difficult to approach. On some days we may be able to get ridiculously close to them. The huge incentive to get out to Alafia Banks in mid-February is the chance to photograph this species at the height of its spectacular breeding plumage…. with long telephoto lenses. A 500 or 600 with a 1.4X TC is perfect for this trip.

Mornings to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and Brown Pelicans (with lots of flight photography often with the birds likely carrying nesting material), Double-crested Cormorants, ibises (both Glossy and White) in breeding plumage. Some of the White Ibises may be sporting their spectacular, distended, red, naked (un-feathered) throat pouches—typically larger in the females. In addition we may get to photograph egrets including Great and Reddish, both in full breeding plumage, shorebirds, and more. There will be lots of flight photography opportunities. Afternoon trips will most likely be back to Alafia Banks for the spoonbills with an option to visit a more sheltered inland rookery location for a variety of nesting birds. In the event of horrific weather artie will either take the group to Fort DeSoto or will conduct an extensive image review/Photoshop session. This IPT includes lunches on the full days with small group image sharing and review and some over-the-shoulder Photoshop instruction.

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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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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 :).

2 comments to Confirming Focus Fine-tune Values in the Field. And the First Nikon 500mm PF Lens Images.

  • avatar Anthony Ardito

    Winner, winner, chicken dinner with the 500pf images! That’s certainly an impressive eye shot at f9 (unsharpened).

    Would you say that +1/3 stop on a white bird shows how different the metering systems are between Canon and Nikon? At least I find that highlights are almost never blown on the Nikon, and I find myself exposing way, way more to the right with the D850 than I would with Canon gear.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Anthony. Lots more 500 PF images coming soon. Alone and with the 1.4X and the 1.7X TC-Es.

      While I tend to agree with your evaluation of Nikon vs. Canon images that +1/3 stop example is a poor one at best. I would sum up my feelings by saying that with Canon I liked the RGB values for my WHITEs to come in in the low to mid 230s while with Nikon I prefer them from the mid-230s to the low 240s. And keep in mind that I always kept Highlight Tone Priority enabled and used DPP 4 with my Canon RAW files.

      with love, artie