Nikon 500 PF for Birds in Flight (from the Icebreaker!) « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Nikon 500 PF for Birds in Flight (from the Icebreaker!)

Stuff

I will be away for almost a month while leading the 2018/2019 Falklands land-based IPT. I should be back in the office (and back in the pool) on the afternoon of Monday, January 14, 2019. Happy new year! I should have good internet access until Friday December 21 and then again on the weekend of January 12/13. I will surely not be online from December 23-27 and then again from January 4-7. I may or may not have limited internet access at other times.

Jim and Jen will be in the office weekdays to help you with your online orders and with IPT registrations.

I was thrilled recently to learn that first-timer Shonagh Adelman of Chattanooga, TN signed up for the 2019 Puffins and Gannets and Red Kites IPT. As he is the first registrant, we need three more for the trip to go. I am counting on it and hope for a sellout with ten plus the two leaders; there are lots of puffins and gannets. 🙂

I still need three or four folks for the Galapagos trip. If you would like to explore the possibilities, please get in touch via e-mail. No reasonable offer will be turned down.

  • 2019 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) SUN JAN 20, 2019 thru and including the morning session on THURS JAN 24: 4 1/2 days: $2099. (Limit: 10/Openings: 4) Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins: THURS, 6 DEC.
  • The 2019 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT — FEB 16 thru 19, 2019: $2599.00. Limit: 5 photographers/Openings: 2.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers/Openings: 9. This trip needs four to run. Co-leader: Peter Kes.
  • The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 23 to August 6, 2019 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 12 photographers/Openings: 4.


BIRDS AS ART

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

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.


Southern-Fulmar-light-phase-in-flight-_MAI3480--Drake-Passage,-Southern-Ocean

This image was created at about midship from the third deck of the Kapitan Khlebnikov. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my main (#1) Nikon D850. ISO 1250. At about +2/3 as originally framed — this is fairly large crop — the RAW (NEF) file was still underexposed about one stop.

Center Group (grp)/Shutter Button/Continuous (AI Servo with Canon) AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the far wing.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune: +2. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #1: Southern Fulmar in flight

The Situation

Unless you were photographing one of the helicopters, flight photography from anywhere on the Kapitan Khlebnikov was difficult as best (as it is on most Southern Ocean voyages regardless of the configuration of the ship). Even when the seas are calm, the ships are rolling and pitching and simply keeping your balance is a big challenge. With the rough weather for three days on the way south through the Drake Passage, the outer decks were closed. On the way back up north to Ushuaia, we had two days with (barely) suitable conditions.The fulmar image was created on the first of those days when the seemingly best location for flight photography — adjacent too and slightly below the helicopter deck, was still roped off. As is usual, the birds were consistently on one side of the ship. On this day that was the port side. I found a spot two decks above Deck 1 where I could stand somewhat behind the main cabin superstructure and be a bit sheltered from the still howling wind. Any port in a storm as they say.

I stood there — completely alone — for about an hour watching a decent flock of Cape Petrels along with a Giant Petrel or two and a single Southern Fulmar dancing above the waves that were smashing the port side of the KK with fury. Considering the conditions, the image above can only be deemed as miraculous.

Cape (Pintado) Petrel _MAI4339  southeast of Cape Horn, Southern Ocean

This image was created from a lower deck on the stern of the Kapitan Khlebnikov. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my main (#1) Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering at about +1/3 stop as originally framed was a bit of an overexposure. AUTO1 WB on a very partly sunny morning.

Center Group (grp)/Shutter Button/Continuous (AI Servo with Canon) AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the bird’s lower (right) wing.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune: +2. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #2: Cape (Pintado) Petrel in flight

Day Two of Flight Photography

On our second day heading north the weather was a bit better with mostly cloudy skies. The deck below the helicopter deck was open and fairly spacious. With the somewhat improved conditions there were many photographers on the rear deck not too high above the ocean. But the winds were all wrong. Few birds but for the speedy Cape Petrels came anywhere near the ship. I noticed the some of these small seabirds would fly at a low level right towards the stern and then swoop upwards and turn right as the flew past the rear port corner of the ship. Image #2 was my single success from that venture.

The image as presented was cropped from a horizontal original with canvas added at the top. No wingtips were clipped 🙂

The Stronger Image?

Which of today’s two featured images do you think is the strongest. Do let us know why you made your choice.

seabird-flight-duo

The RAW (NEF( files for today’s featured images

D850 Image Quality

The superb image quality of a sharp D850 file allows for substantial cropping as you will note when viewing the two RAW files immediately above.

Amazingly …

BPN Avian Moderator Isaac Grant after staunchly defending Canon AF for months finally saw the light and switched to Nikon His reason: the superior image quality of D850 images files. Wait till he tries the AF for flight photography.

SD-2019-card

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects, including and especially the Pacific race of California Brown Pelican. With annual visits spanning more than four decades, I have lots of photographic experience there … Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

2019 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) SUN JAN 20, 2019 thru and including the morning session on THURS JAN 24: 4 1/2 days: $2099.

(Limit: 10/Openings: 5)

Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins; SAT JAN 19, 2019.

Please see the Dancing Grebe Morning Add-On Info below

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 (nesting with eggs and possibly chicks) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heermann’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others are possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seals (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lions; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the IPT cards, there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Not to mention a ton of excellent flight photography opportunities and instruction.

Please note: where permitted and on occasion, ducks and gulls will be attracted (or re-located) with offerings of grains and healthy breads.

Learning Exposure, Whether You Like It Or Not

Whether you like it or not, we will be beating the subject of exposure like a dead horse. In every new situation you will hear my thoughts on the exposure situation along with my thoughts on both Nikon and Canon histograms and the subject of blinkies. Whether you like it or not, you will learn to work in manual mode and to get the right exposure every time as long as a bird gives you ten seconds with the light constant.And you will learn what to do when the light is changing constantly. What you learn about exposure will be one of the great take-aways on every IPT.

San-Diego-card-B-2019

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. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

It Ain’t Just Pelicans

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 as well. 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 will be guided as to how to make the best of all of those opportunities. And depending on the weather and local conditions and tides, there are a variety of fabulous photo chances available in and around San Diego.


san-diego-card-neesie

Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter? Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

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. An so that we can get some sleep, dinners will be on your own.

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, 3385, 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 10/11//2018. 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.


san-diego-card-b

Variety is surely the spice of life in San Diego. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Getting Up Early and Staying Out Late

On all BIRDS AS ART IPTS including and especially the San Diego IPT, we get into the field early to take advantage of unique and often spectacular lighting conditions and we stay out late to maximize the chances of killer light and glorious sunset silhouette situations. We often arrive at the cliffs a full hour before anyone else shows up to check out the land/sea-scape opportunities.


clarkes-x-western-grebe-hybrid-courtship-rush-_r7a3968-lake-hodges-san-deigo-ca

This image was created in San Diego, CA with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the simply amazing, astounding, mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 500. Evaluative metering -2/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/6.3 in Av mode. AWB.

61-Point (Automatic selection)/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when photographing moving subjects). Though the optimized image above was a healthy crop from the original the result was a high quality 148+ MB 16-bit file. Click on the image to see a larger version. The AF system selected two AF points, one above the other, between the two birds;the eye of the bird on our right is razor sharp.

Clarke’s X Western Grebe courtship rush

The Dancing Grebes Add-On. FRI JAN 25, 2019: $399.

Those registering for the 2019 San Diego IPT might wish to join me for the Dancing Grebe Add-On Morning as above. Please read the details carefully. You will need to wade at least mid-thigh deep with your tripod over an uneven bottom. Lightweight chest waders are advised. Long lenses are needed; a 100-400 will not cut it at this spot, even with a TC. Chances at this location (easily accessible from the IPT hotel), vary from day to day so there will be no guarantees. But when those grebes dance, it can be an amazing rush. We may also enjoy chances to photograph both species, Western and Clarke’s Grebes, at fairly close range.

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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

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4 comments to Nikon 500 PF for Birds in Flight (from the Icebreaker!)

  • avatar Steve Wampler

    Merry Christmas, Art.

    I prefer the second image for both the coloration on this bird and that it stands out from the background better.

  • avatar Steve

    I like the first image because of the more interesting background.

  • Hello Artie and Jim:

    First of all… Happy Holidays to you and your families!

    When you get a chance, please confirm the second installment for the San Diego IPT was received. USPS tracking website showed it was delivered on the 22nd.

    Thanks so much and we’ll see you in San Diego!

    Sincerely,

    Luis Alberto Grunauer, Jr.