Lens Too Long — Birds Too Close? And More on WHITEs. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Lens Too Long -- Birds Too Close? And More on WHITEs.

What’s Up?

I spent Sunday morning on Lake Kissimmee with good friend and many multiple IPT veteran Clemens Van der Werf. It was a beautiful day on the water but with an at-first gentle breeze out of the northwest, conditions for flight photography were less than ideal. We saw lots of Snail Kites and had some decent chances. We also enjoyed lots of Osprey flight photography. For the kites I used my Nikon stuff, the hand held 500 PF and the tripod mounted 600 VR with the TC-E14, both of those with my back-up D850 with the grip. My main D850 is in the shop as the rear LCD pretty much quit last week. If you read the repost from NPS repairs you would think that I ran over the body with a tractor trailer truck. Normally the images with my Nikon stuff is razor sharp. Heck, I used the 500 PF with the back-up D850 on Sunday in Lakeland with and without the TC-E14 and everything was razor …

In any case, none of my Nikon images were sharp even though my back-up D850 was Focus Fine-tuned with both combos. The image files were very strange, looking almost as if there is was VR problem. But that does not make sense as the VR is in the lens and I used two different lenses … Maybe I had a really bad day. 🙂 I will be re-Fine-tuning both of the aforementioned rigs today and will advise of the results. I went with my SONY gear for the Ospreys and got many sharp, fine images.

I was glad to learn that Dick Bernard’s 100-400 II sold immediately as did John Bowden’s SONY 24-105 and that the sale of John’s a7R III is pending.

IPT Updates

Despite lots of recent interest I still need three folks for the Galapagos trip. Please shoot me an e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount on the Galapagos trip.

  • The 2019 Fort DeSoto Spring IPT/THURS 18 APRIL through the morning session on SUNDAY APRIL 21, 2019: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 2. Meet and greet at 7PM on the evening of WED 17 APRIL. Free morning session on WED 17 APRIL.
  • 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 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: 8. This trip is a go. Co-leader with more than 6 participants: 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: 13 photographers/Openings: 3. Please e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount for this trip.


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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. Most recently the price of used Canon 600mm f/L IS II lenses have been dropping like a rock with the introduction of the 600 III. You can always see the current listings by clicking here or on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

Important Used Gear Note

All sales include insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only.

Recent Used Gear Sales Rocking!

Dick Bernard sold his Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM zoom lens (the new 1-4) in excellent condition (with an original 1.4X TC) for a BAA record-low-by-far $1,198.00 about 30 seconds after it was listed.
John Bowden sold his Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS lens in like-new condition for $998.00 the first day it was listed.
I sold my barely used (shutter count 16,263) Nikon D5 in excellent to near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $4,496.95 (was $5,496.95) and my Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens in excellent plus condition for only $1,499.00 (was $1799.00), both in late February 2019.
John M Wright also sold his Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS lens in near mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $488.00and his Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR body in near-mint condition with 28,567 shutter actuations for $1999.00 in mid-February.
I sold my Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 lens in pretty close to near-mint condition along with the the RRS Collar Foot Package for a silly low $1099.00.
Multiple IPT veteran and good friend Paul Reinstein sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM in excellent plus condition for the BAA record-low price of $6,599.00 in mid-February.
Multiple IPT veteran, dear friend, and BAA technical advisor Patrick Sparkman sold his Nikon D850 DSLR for $2699.00 just days after listing it in early February.
I sold my Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II in near-mint condition for a BAA record low price of $299.00 in mid-February.
Multiple IPT veteran, dear friend, and BAA technical advisor Patrick Sparkman sold his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens in like-new condition for $10,996.95 his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens in like-new condition for $475.00, his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR Lens in like-new condition for $910.00, and his Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III in excellent condition for $385.00 all within a day of listing them in early February.
John Svendsen sold a Nikon AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G IF ED lens (the original version) in near-mint condition for the BAA

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens

Hussein Aliyu is offering a Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens in near-mint to like-new condition for the BAA record-low price of $3999.00. The sale of this gem-of–a-lens includes the original box and everything that came in it including the rear cap, the front cover, the lens strap, the lens trunk, a LensCoat (an $80.00 value), an off-brand low foot (a $99.00 value), and insured Worldwide shipping via DHL to all US lower 48 addresses. Most will want to make this purchase via wire transfer. If by check, your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Hussein via e-mail.

This one is a gem; super-sharp, hand holdable for almost everyone, great for flight and action photography, and great as well with both teleconverters for portraits and for flight. It has long been the favorite focal length of the world’s best hawk photographers. As it sells new for $5,496.95, Hussein’s near-mint, latest-greatest Nikon version of this lens is priced to sell. Save almost $1500.00! artie

Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III

Price Reduced $50 on January 18, 2019.
Price Reduced another $50 on February 24, 2019.

Arthur Morris is offering a rarely used Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III in near-mint condition for a money saving of $249.00 (was $349.00). The sale includes the original product box and everything that came in it including the front and rear caps, and insured ground shipping via United Parcel Service.

Please contact artie via e-mail or on his cell at 863-221-2372 (please leave a message if no answer).

I successfully used this 2X TC with the 600 VR. It will go perfectly with Hussein’s 300 f/2.8 immediately above. It sells new for $496.95 artie

Lakeland American White Pelican In-the-Field Morning Sessions

If you would like to join me in Lakeland for a morning in-the-field session during the next ten days or so before the tame White Pelicans head north, please get in touch via e-mail or call my cell at 863-221-2372. Limit three photographers/session. The weather looks a bit iffy at times and I am busy for a few of those days.

Morning Session — 7-10am: $250.00
Morning Session with a working lunch including image review and Photoshop: $350.00

Via e-mail from Bob Matyas

Thank you for the session in Lakeland today. I enjoyed the opportunity to photograph the White Pelicans and other birds and enjoyed our time together. It was enlightening and gave me some pointers and ideas to pursue. I was also pleased that so many of my pictures were sharp. Best regards, Bob

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.

This image was created on the Saturday-past Lakeland in-the-field session. I used the 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 back-up Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering at about zero: 1/2000 sec. at f/9 was perfect. NATURAL AUTO WB at 9:05am on a clear day.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: +1. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

One up from the center Group (grp)/Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the near-edge of the bird’s lower mandible right on the same plane as the birds eye.

Image #1: American White Pelican head throw

Lens Too Long — Birds Too Close

The American White Pelicans in Lakeland are extremely tame; this species is usually quite skittish. You simply need to approach slowly. With today’s two featured images I was very close and thus very tight. For each of the photos I followed my own advice: when unexpected action happens push the shutter button! You might be pleasantly surprised. Yes, a zoom lens might have been better but then I would have missed out on the incredible detail in both images. Image #1 immediately above was a small crop from above and from the left as it is better to cut than clip (which I did in the original capture).

The bill pouch cleaning image (#2 below) is often a sign that the pelican is about to do a head throw (as in #1 above). Today’s two featured images were of different birds made more than an hour apart.

Your Call

Which if either do you like best? And why? If you do not like either image, let us know why.

This image was also created on the Saturday-past Lakeland in-the-field session. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped up back-up Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering at about zero: 1/4000 sec. at f/5.6 seemed perfect. NATURAL AUTO WB at 10:16am on a still clear day.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: +1. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

One up from the center Group (grp)/Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the near-edge of the bird’s lower mandible right on the same plane as the birds eye.

Image #2: American White Pelican cleaning bill pouch

Still More on WHITEs

Do you prefer the WHITEs in Image #1 or the WHITEs in Image #2? Which image has more detail in the WHITEs? Which image has the cleanest WHITEs? Note the time that each image was created … Since I got my new laptop I have been having some problems optimizing images with bright WHITEs made in full sun. Why? My old laptop was a bit on the dark side; now I can (once again) differentiate all the tones on the Calibration Strip at the bottom of each BPN page …

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All of the images on this card were created on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets 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. Co-leader: Peter Kes.

Join me in the UK in late June and early July 2019 to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet, Red Kite, and more both in flight and at close range. We will also have great chances with Arctic and Sandwich Terns, both with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many of those chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks; plus Grey Seal. There will be tons of great flight photography. As on all IPTs, if you pay attention, you will learn a ton, especially about sky conditions and the relationship between light angle and wind direction and their effects on flight photography.

Why go all the way to Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine, endure a two-hour boat ride, and have to photograph Atlantic Puffins from a cramped blind usually in bright sun (and well off sun angle) when you can hop a red-eye flight from Newark, NJ and be in Edinburgh, Scotland early the next morning. First we drive down to Bridlington for easy access to Bempton Cliffs where our primary targets will be Northern Gannet in flight. We will also get to photograph Razorbill, Northern Fulmar, Herring Gull, and Black-legged Kittiwake. While in Bridlington we will spend one afternoon visiting a Red Kite feeding station that should provide lots of flight photography action.

While in Bridlington we will staying at the Lobster Pot by Marston’s Inn, just fifteen minutes from Bempton Cliffs. After 3 1/2 days of photography at there, we drive down to Seahouses in Northumberland to the two lodges that will be our home base for a week. After a short boat ride each day we will have hundreds of puffins posing at close range all day, every day — usually in ideal cloudy-bright conditions. While we are in Seahouses we will do six puffin/seabird trips, all weather permitting of course; last year we did not miss a single landing. In five years we have averaged losing less than one half day per year to bad weather. We land at Staple Island in the mornings and then sail over to Inner Farnes for our afternoon sessions. In addition, we may enjoy a session or two photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level from a rocky beach in Seahouses.

In Seahouses, we stay 7 nights in gorgeous, modern, upscale lodges with Wi-fi. They are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The bedrooms are decent-sized. Each lodge has one double bedroom and two twin bedrooms. (See the single supplement info below.) At the lodges we cook our own breakfasts each morning and prepare our own lunches to be brought on the six puffin boat trips. For dinners we will alternate cooking in the lodges with fine dining at several excellent local restaurants. We stay two nights at the Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. We will enjoy a fine-dining Thank You dinner at the Dunbar Hotel on the Tuesday evening before we fly home.

On the morning of Monday, July 8, 2019, the plan is to sleep late, pack, and head up to Dunbar Harbor, Scotland for lunch and an afternoon gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. The next morning, Tuesday July 9, we will enjoy our second gannet boat chumming trip (both weather permitting). On both trips we will enjoy great views of the huge gannetry at Bass Rock. Included will be two nights lodging at the Pine Martin by Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. Very early on the morning of Wednesday, July 10, we will drive up to Edinburgh Airport so that everyone can make their flights home. No moaning please. You will need a flight that leaves at 8:30am or later. Not too much later is generally best. Note: this trip needs a minimum of four photographers to run.

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All images were created on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The Details

This IPT is all-inclusive except for your airfare and alcoholic beverages. All ground transportation, lodging costs, meals, your National Trust membership, and all boat, entry, and landing fees are included. Weather permitting, we will enjoy three and one-half days (at least six sessions in all) at Bempton Cliffs, an afternoon with the Red Kites, six full days on the puffin boats, one amazing afternoon gannet chumming trip, and one spectacular morning gannet chumming trip. The trip cannot be finalized until I have at least six deposits as we will be renting a lovely 15-passenger bus with our private professional driver who happens to be my web-master, Peter Kes, who is also a skilled photographer and my co-leader 🙂

IPT Details

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome, heck, we actually need two couples — please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on February 28, 2019. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Info

Single supplement rooms in Bridlington and Dunbar are available for those who register early. The cost of the single supplement for those six nights is $600.00. Single supplement rooms at the lodge may be available on a limited basis but only if the trip does not fill with ten photographers. The single supplement fee for those seven nights is $700. If you would like your own room in Bridlington and Dunbar, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement with your deposit: $2,600.00. The single supplement deposits are non-refundable as I will need to make the reservations well in advance.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check or running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

I truly hope that you can join me on this exciting venture.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

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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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10 comments to Lens Too Long — Birds Too Close? And More on WHITEs.

  • avatar Roger Mullins

    Hi Artie
    My comment is related to the subject, as against the exposure settings of the subject and why.
    If I were a veterinary student I could perhaps take some knowledge from shot 2. However, as I am not into Physiology I find that shot 1 is far more interesting as it beautifully shows the cavernous capacity of the bill. It would have been even better if all of the bill had been captured.
    Nevertheless two very good shots.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Roger. Perhaps better but surely with less detail.

      with love, artie

      ps: I will try tomorrow for a complete head throw with my SONY gear …

  • avatar Guido Bee

    Regarding the whites, I agree with Phil, more of the white in #2 seems to have detail in it; #1 has some areas with less detail in it (I’m picking nits here, they are both excellent). I think I like the #1 image for composition; the second image generates a negative response to me, as if the bird is about to be sick. Not sure why, as this is not common in my experience, but #1 seems less intrusive to my (delicate?) psyche than #2. Exposure is excellent in both and the sharpness is something I’d be proud of.
    All the best.

  • avatar Byron PRINZMETAL

    One of my photography goals is to show people things they normally never ever see. To me image two does this in spades. So, I pick image #2.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Brian, If you watch pelicans a lot, you see the pouch cleaning often 🙂

      Be sure to see tomorrow’s blog — I am quoting you on a prior comment.

      with love, artie

  • Artie:

    Amazing photos of the mighty White Pelican, razor sharp. Photo #1 with the head throw is just gorgeous, but Photo #2 is not only sharp but shows amazing detail!

    It is hard to choose…

    Take care and see you soon!!!


  • avatar Phil Thach

    Hi Artie,

    There seems to me to be more detail in the white areas of the second image. Both are great.

    I absolutely love American White Pelicans. Here in East Tennessee, at the confluence of the Hiwassee and Tennessee Rivers, we see them during the winter. The Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge is famous for Sandhill Cranes but I prefer the pelicans that are usually there around the same time. I’ve never gotten anywhere near close enough to get an image like these two. Congrats!


  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: Two questions (and one answer) come to mind from today’s blog post. 1. Why do you write “whites” in all caps? 2. And related, why do you write “raw,” which is a standard English word as used in photography and not an acronym, in all caps?

    The answer: I see nothing to criticize in the whites in either image. Both seem to have lots of detail and to be perfectly exposed. I would be very proud of both images if they were mine.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Both those images are terrific and I really can’t choose one over the other. Obviously your Nikon gear was focusing brilliantly on that day.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks David.

      Why all CAPs? Not sure, I just like em like that 🙂

      with love, artie