Flex Shooter PRO Fine Points, BigFeet Info, and Lots More « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Flex Shooter PRO Fine Points, BigFeet Info, and Lots More

What’s Up?

I am on the way to the airport, Chicago, and Edinburgh, Scotland as I type. No worries, right-hand man Jim Lizenburg is driving. If all goes as planned, I will meet the group and our driver at EDI at 9:15am on Thursday.

I have spent much of the last 24-hours overdosing on America’s/Britain’s Got Talent YouTube videos … Much of that time in tears. If you check out some of the Golden Buzzers here, you too might become addicted.

Though many, many US photo retailers in the U.S., including and especially B&H, are clamoring to add the FlexShooter Pro to their product line, the only place that you can get this amazing head right now is here in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store.

In the Brown Pelican Pan-Blur blog post here, the correct answer to the ISO quiz was indeed IS0 2500. We started at ISO 640 but the image was two full stops underexposed. So raising the ISO two stop like this: 640 > 1250 > 2500 is the ticket.

In the Painted Turtle image design quiz here (where I began the quiz by screwing up left and right), Elinor Osborn came up with the answer I was looking for when she wrote, Reframe to right to get the tip of the left claw from touching the frame?. It was not quite touching the frame edge but it was much too close for comfort. As always, If something is worth including in the frame, be sure to leave a decent border around it.

Flex Shooter PRO Fine Points

Click the Play arrow on the 8-minute video to learn some FlexShooter Pro Fine points. Included are tips on photographing bird nest on high, and on pointing the lens down. The trick for both of those is to place the stem of the black ball in the large notch on the silver ball. You can move the notch around by tightening the Silver Bullet Knob and loosening the black lever. Then we show you how to mount a camera body with a small lens (via a Wimberley P-5 camera body plate) on your FlexShooter Pro. Next, we talk about the fact — and show you — that fore and aft balance with short lenses and intermediate telephotos and telephoto zoom lenses is pretty much a non-issue. With the super-telephotos, however, perfect fore and aft balance is a necessity. We demonstrate this with the SONY 100-400 GM lens/a7R iii combo (mounted on a reversed Wimberley P-10) plate. I recommend the same for folks using the great Canon 100-400 II. Last I share a new technique where I put the notch on my right, flop the macro lens down — again with the stem of the black ball in the notch, and rotate the lens in the tripod collar while using only the black lever to move the lens and to frame the image. Once I have my basic framing complete, I fine-tune things by rotating the lens in the tripod collar while using the in-camera level. Be sure to tighten both the black lever and the tripod collar before making your images. The Sigma 150mm macro is — unfortunately — no longer in production. I use a Wimberley P-20 plate with this lens.

Bigfeet

BigFeet Compatibilty Chart

BigFeet

Above, we mentioned the fact that perfect balance when using a super telephoto lens on the FlexShooter Pro is mandatory; it allows you to take full advantage of the amazing spring-loaded counterbalance feature that sets the FL SH Pro head and shoulders above all ball- and gimbal heads. If you are using a super-telephoto lens, it is entirely possible that the plate or low foot you are using now will be long enough to balance your big lens perfectly on your FlexShooter Pro. You may, therefore, wish to order only the FlexShooter at first, test your lens for perfect balance with all your camera body/teleconverter combinations, and then order the BigFoot you need if one or all of your combinations do not balance perfectly with your current setup. Others may wish to avoid the hassle and save on shipping by ordering the correct BigFoot when they order their FlexShooter Pro. By phone, for now, as below.

Please note that we are currently sold out of the FLN-60; we should have them in stock in 2-3 weeks. We hope to have the BigFeet in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store in about one week; until then, phone orders only please: 863-692-0906.

gripper-shelf-liner

Non-slip Shelf-liner for scratch prevention

Test-driving a FlexShooter Pro

Folks often ask, Can I order aFlexShooter Pro head and return it if I do not like it? I reply, Sure. Simply return the head at your cost in its original new condition and we will refund your purchase less the cost of shipping. Be careful not to scratch the head. We reduce your refund by $50 for each scratch.

You can avoid scratching the base of the head by cutting a small hole (for the mounting bolt) in the center of a 5-inch square of non-slip shelf liner. Be sure to fully open clamp jaws before carefully mounting the plate. As all BigFeet come with safety stop-studs, you will need to place the plate in the jaws from one side to the other rather than sliding it in the long way. You must do that with any plate or low foot with the stop-studs.

For those who like me tend to over-tighten the clamp jaws, a square of non-slip shelf liner can be used to loosen them. I keep a square in my vest, my pocket, and/or my fanny pack so that it is there when I need it.

If you would like a free square of non-slip shelf liner, you can order your FlexShooter Pro head by phone by calling Jim at 863-692-0906 and letting him know that you would like a free non-slip square, or by order your head through the BIRDS AS ART Online Store here and then shooting Jim an e-mail here requesting the same.

Note: I remove the stop studs from my BigFoot because with the amazing counterbalance there is little to no chance of the lens hitting the floor. As I emphasize in all the videos, be sure to confirm visually that the BigFoot or plate is within the tightened clamp jaws before letting go of the lens. The manufacturer recommends that you use the stop-studs. If you opt to remove them as I do, understand that you do so at your own risk. I consider the use of stop studs with a Wimberley head to be mandatory; with a side-mounting gimbal head like the Mongoose M3.6, stop-studs are irrelevant.

More On FlexShooter Pro

If you have been living in a cave for the past few weeks, be sure to check out each of the links below.

For more on the FlexShooter Pro including complete instructions on how to use it, click here.

To learn about working off a FlexShooter on a tripod set up in the vehicle, see the blog post here.

To learn about using your FlexShooter Pro for birds in flight, click here.

See the first FlexShooter Pro how-to video in the blog post here.

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.

The 2020 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) WED JAN 8, 2020 thru and including the morning session on SUN JAN 12: 4 1/2 days: $2099.(Limit: 8/Openings: 7)

Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins; WED JAN 7, 2020.

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 may be attracted (or relocated) with offerings of grains or healthy bread.

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 takeaways 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 lots 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. And 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.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for both big international trips and US-based IPTs is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality travel 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.


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 landscape and seascape opportunities.

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.





Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the 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.

Facebook

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

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 :).

3 comments to Flex Shooter PRO Fine Points, BigFeet Info, and Lots More

  • Hey Arthur, Solid information in the video. “Our neighbor got a rooster in case we wanted to sleep late, that won’t be happening anymore”, “Shut up rooster”. That was my favorite part lol.

  • Artie, Very nice video. I am thinking of replacing my Mongoose with the flex head. I was thinking of visiting your place to say hi and also to look at the Flex shooter when I was in florida. But I missed out.

    What options do we have for mounting Flash with big / short telephoto lenses ?

    Thanks
    Krishna

  • avatar Matt

    EXCELLENT!!! Super useful video, Artie! I am loving the heck out of my Flexshooter.

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