Patrick Sparkman’s SONY 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens visits the Pribilofs and is then put up for sale! Why? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Patrick Sparkman's SONY 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens visits the Pribilofs and is then put up for sale! Why?

What’s Up?

Well, not Dorian, at least not here in central Florida. We are thankful for that. Jim’s home near Canaveral is also fine.

I took my first day off from swimming in almost a month but did the rest of my exercise routine including my walk. I was glad to learn of the sale of multiple IPT veteran Phil Frigon’s Canon 600mm f/4L IS II, of the saLe of Doug Rogers’Canon EOS 7D and his Canon Extender EF 2X II (2X teleconverter) in late-July, and of Don Carter’s Canon 100-400 II, the latter on the first day of listing.

I have begun working on my 2018 taxes again and will continue with that chore today, Thursday, September 5, 2019.

IPT News!

I learned early this week that Mary van Deusen and her friend Patti Romano will be driving down from South Carolina to join UK Puffins and Gannets veteran Shonagh Adelman on the 2019 Fall Sandbar Secrets Fort DeSoto IPT at the end of this month. Then things got even better when DeSoto IPT veteran Jim Miller e-mailed letting me know that he would also be joining us. Everyone is excited. There are still two spots left on this great workshop.

IPT Updates

  • The 2019 Fall Sandbar Secrets Fort DeSoto IPT/September 27-30, 2019: One-half and three FULL DAYS: $1499.00. Free Morning Session on Tuesday, October 1. Limit 6/Openings 2. Afternoon session on Friday, September 25 at 4pm, followed by three full days. We photograph till sunset on Monday, September 30
  • The Return to Bosque Reduced Rate Scouting IPT. NOV 26-28, 2019 — 3 FULL DAYS: $1199.00. Limit: 8/Openings: 6. Extra Day Options: Join me for one to three extra In-the-Field Days at the end of the IPT as follows: FRI 29 NOV, SAT 30 NOV, and SUN 1 DEC for only $300.00/day.
  • 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: 5)

Click here for complete. IPT info. Couples, IPT veterans, and folks wishing to sign up with a friend or with a partner are asked to contact me via e-mail

FlexShooter Pro News

All FlexShooter Pro BigFeet are now in the BAA Online Store here. They should all be in stock in a day or two at most.

FlexShooter Pro Update

We currently have FlexShooter Pro heads in stock here. We have all but one of the BigFeet in stock (phone orders only for now: 863-692-0906) but are sold out of the new FLN-60 BigFoot that was recently re-designed for the Nikon 600 VR. Click here to access the pretty much complete FlexShooter Pro story with videos.

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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 the 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 since 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.

As used gear sales have slowed a bit in recent months — especially with dSLR bodies, there are lots of great buys right now on the Used Gear Page

Sony FE 400 mm F2.8 GM OSS

Sale Pending first day of listing!

IPT veteran and dear friend Patrick Sparkman is offering an FE 400 mm F2.8 GM OSS Lens in like-new condition for $10,698.00. This immaculate lens is only four months old and has seen little use. The sale includes the lens hood, original product box, the lens trunk, the front lens cover, the rear lens cap, the lens strap, and insured shipping via Fed Ex Ground. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Patrick via e-mail.

This super-fast lens is amazingly light at 6.4 lbs, the same weight as the Nikon 300mm f/2.8. Patrick made lots of great images at St. Paul in the Pribilof Islands last July with the lens alone and with either the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters. He really enjoys the 8.86 ft close-focusing capability and the beautiful bokeh that the lens produces. Now that he owns the new SONY 600mm f/4GM OSS lens, he cannot justify owning both. As this lens sells new right now for $11,998.00, you can save a cool $1,300.00 by grabbing his virtually new lens asap. artie

ps: at the time of publication this lens is very hard to get; it is not in stock at B&H or at Bedfords.

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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 getting folks the hot new SONY stuff: the 200-600, the 600 f/4 GM, and the 7R iv. And the wait-list is short for the Nikon 500 P.



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.

PSP-Park-AUKL_A711010-1

This image was in St. Paul, AK by good friend Patrick Sparkman. He used the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 2.0x teleconverter and the Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless digital camera body. ISO: 400. Multi-metering. Exposure determined via the Zebra feature: 1/400 sec. at f/5.6.

Image #1: Parakeet Auklet head portrait

Image courtesy of and copyright 2019: Patrick Sparkman. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Head Angle

Parakeet Auklet is one of about a half-dozen Pribilof specialty species. I visited several times in the 1990s with film. With Patrick’s fine image above, note the perfect head angle for a side head portrait with the bird’s head turned two to three degrees toward us. Do understand that the perfect head angle varies with the pose and the orientation of the bird to the back of the camera.

PSP-RL-KITT_A713230-1

This image also created at St. Paul, AK by Patrick with the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 2.0x teleconverter and the Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless digital camera body. ISO: 500. Multi-metering. Exposure determined via the Zebra feature: 1/800 sec. at f/6.3.

Image #2: Red-legged Kittiwake head portrait

Image courtesy of and copyright 2019: Patrick Sparkman. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Red-legged Kittiwake

Red-legged Kittiwake is a mega-rare bird breeding only in the Pribilofs with the world epicenter of that population breeding on St. Paul and nearby St. George. The less than 9-foot minimum focusing distance is deadly at 800mm. You have AF points available for more than 93% of the frame, and AF is fast and deadly accurate even with the 2X. When I visited the only images of this species were of young birds at a distance …

PSP-TUFT-PU-_A9A6834-1

This image also was in St. Paul, AK by good friend Patrick Sparkman. For this flight image, he used the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens and the Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless digital camera body.. ISO: 800. Multi-metering. Exposure determined via the Zebra feature: 1/800 sec. at f/2.8.

Image #3: Tufted Puffin incoming flight

Image courtesy of and copyright 2019: Patrick Sparkman. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Tufted Puffin

Tufted is the largest of the world’s three puffin species and for me, the most beautiful by far. For incoming birds in flight at high speed, the SONY a9 is without peer. Period. While I usually use center ZONE for flight, Patrick sticks with WIDE which offers almost full frame-AF.

Your Favorite?

Please leave a comment letting all know which of Patrick’s three images is your favorite. And why.

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.

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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 :).

5 comments to Patrick Sparkman’s SONY 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens visits the Pribilofs and is then put up for sale! Why?

  • avatar Christian Davidson

    Arthur and Patrick,

    The Tufted Puffin in flight is fabulous and I agree with your comment about it being the most beautiful of the three Puffin species, however I agree with the previous comments about the Kittiwake portrait. It’s exceptional IMO, with fabulous color and detail.

  • avatar Matt

    I also like the Kittiwake most. Love the candy corn colors and the sharp, glassy black eye. Well framed and positioned, and it demonstrates critical sharpness best of the three (to my eyes, anyway). It appears eye-level, which is strong, too.

  • avatar Greg Asnis

    Hi Arthur, you refer to Patrick’s head shot with exposure determined using the ZEBRA technique. Can you please describe to the zebra technique? After ajusting the the zebra to 100plusgetting zebra marking showing blown out highlights, what do you do next to get the correct exposure? If you could share that with me, i’d be most appreciative.

    Thanks so much/Greg Asnis

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Greg,

      We will be covering that in detail in the SONY a9/a7r iii Video Guide that Patrick is working on. Its publication will be announced on the blog.

      with love, artie

  • The portrait of the red legged Kittiwake is awesome Mr. Sparkman….Looks like an A. Morris shot. The flight shot is nice as well, but I’m sold on the Kittiwake shot. Thanks for sharing with us & Art Thanks for being so humble to share photos of your friends and IPT participants.

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