SONY Rig for Sale. Lots of Nature Photography Lessons. And Six More SONY a7r iii Galapagos Workhorse Images … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

SONY Rig for Sale. Lots of Nature Photography Lessons. And Six More SONY a7r iii Galapagos Workhorse Images ...

What’s Up?

A strong east wind on Sunday evening made things difficult, but on Monday morning that same east wind led to a ton of great flight photography. There were about a zillion Sandwich Tern fishing just offshore of the sandbar. The flocks were moving quickly as they followed the schools of bait. I spent a lot of time and energy running up and down the beach slogging through a foot of water with my SONY 600. Those who stayed in one spot enjoyed as much action as those like me who got lots of exercise. On Monday evening the east northeast wind persisted but by concentrating on Marbled Godwit and American Oystercatcher rather than the terns and gulls that were all facing into the wind and away from us, we had some excellent chances and lots of fun.

Only Shonagh is staying for the free morning. I hope to meet old-friend and BPN co-founder James Shadle for lunch in St. Pete today, Tuesday, October 1, and then meet my accountant on the way home to review my 2018 return.

If you have a favorite from among today’s featured images please leave a comment and let us know why it was your choice.

Galapagos 2020?

If you are interested in learning about a possible Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime, September 29-October 13 on the boat (travel dates: 27 SEPT to Guayaquil and fly home on 14 OCT) please get in touch via e-mail. I will need at least eight deposits by December 1, 2019. Details will be announced here soon.

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 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.

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 Rig for Sale

Great Buy!

I am offering a slightly used SONY a7r iii Mirrorless Digital camera body — the very one that made all of the great images in the last few blog posts as well as those presented here today — and, a brand-new-in-the-unopened-box SONY 100-400 for the very low price of $4396.00. The camera is in excellent plus condition. But for some tiny nicks and scratches on the base of the camera, it is in pristine shape; it has less than 12,000 actuations. The sale includes the original box and everything that came in it. And as it says above, the 100-400 is brand-new in the box. I bought the lens in case I did not get my 100-400 back from Precision Camera Repair in time for the IPT. I was able to have UPS hold it at the station in Lake Wales and I picked it up last Thursday on the way over to St. Pete. Your purchase includes insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Others are invited to e-mail for shipping surcharge info. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact me via e-mail or leave a message on my cell phone at 863-221-2372 (Eastern time zone).

You’ve seen the images … Both items are selling new right now for $2498.00 for a total of $4996.00. You can save a handsome $600 by grabbing the pair now. All that you will need to complete your SONY kit is a Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter and one or two Delkin UHS-II 128GB SD Memory Cards. Even with the fastest and most dependable cards on the planet, it is wise to have a back-up card available … artie

IPT Updates

  • 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)

BIRDS AS ART

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

BigFoot-COMPAT

FlexShooter Pro News

All FlexShooter Pro BigFeet are now in stock in the BAA Online Store. You can click on the chart above or here for more information.

Coming Soon

The FlexShooter Mini

Several months ago I had a FlexShooter Mini to test on both the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT and the Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime. It is a smaller, lighter (one pound!) version of the amazing FlexShooter Pro. I used it often with both the Nikon 500 PF and the SONY 100-400 GM with great success and in a pinch, I was able to make sharper images with the Nikon 600 and the TC-E14. All with the Mini mounted on the lighter Induro GIT 204. I suggested to developer/manufacturer Csaba Karai that the Mini needed a bit more spring tension. As there was a problem getting the balls for the new Minis anodized, delivery will be delayed several weeks. 🙁 When we do receive our first shipment, the Minis will have my suggested changes.

The FlexShooter Mini with the lighter Induro GIT 204 is dead-solid-perfect for those whose intermediate telephoto or telephoto zoom is their workhorse lens for bird and nature photography. It will sell for $579 plus shipping. Folks who wish to be assured of getting one from our first shipment can order theirs by phone by calling Jim at 863-692-0906 asap. Your card will not be charged until your Mini is shipped. We already have five orders to ship from our first shipment.

FlexShooter Pro Update

We currently have only four 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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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.

Large-billed-Ground-Finch-OPT-_A7R8244-Prince-Phillips-Steps-Tower-Island-Galapagos-1-1-1

This image was created on July 24 on the 2019 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime IPT. While lying flat on the rocky ground, I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens (at 400mm) with the high mega-pixel Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 1000. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/400 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 5:12pm on a cloudy-bright afternoon.

Flexible Spot (S) Continuous/tracking AF was active at the moment of exposure. The AF point was placed on the bird’s eye. Click on the image to enjoy a larger, inexplicably sharper version.

Image #1: Large-billed Ground-finch. Prince Phillip’s Steps, Genovesa (Tower Island), Galapagos

The Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS Lens Close Focusing Capabilities!

As with the Canon 100-400mm L IS II lens, the close focusing capabilities of the Sony 100-400mm GM are a huge plus to nature photographers. The minimum focusing distance of .98 meters (3′ 2.4″) is a huge plus to nature photographers allowing the lens to become a quasi-macro lens. As you will see with the “leaf with water droplets” image below, adding the SONY 1.4X teleconverter further enhances this feature. Compare those with the Nikon 80-400 VR; the minimum focusing distance is 1.75 meters (5.74 feet) …

Galapagps-Tortoise-eating-guava-fruit-A-_A7R1172-Puerto-Ayora-Santas-Cruz-Galapagos-1

This image was created in the highlands of Puerto Ayora on July 29 on the 2019 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime IPT. I used the Induro GIT 204/FlexShooter Pro Mini-mounted Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (at 560mm) and the high mega-pixel Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 500. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/125 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB at 11:42am on drizzly morning.

Flexible Spot (S) Continuous/tracking AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was placed on the front corner of the tortoise’s eye. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #2: Galapagos Tortoise eating passion flower fruit

How Slow a Shutter Speed is Fast Enough?

When photographing relatively slow-moving (or slow chewing, as here) subjects, relatively slow shutter speeds are often fast enough to freeze the motion. That said, raising the ISO to 800 and the shutter speed to 1/200 sec. would have been a very good idea.

Depth of Field Question

Why did I stop down from wide open (f/5.6) to f/9 in this situation?

water-droplets-on-leaf-A-_A7R0544-Puerto-Ayora-Santas-Cruz-Galapagos-1

This image was created in the highlands of Puerto Ayora on July 29 on the 2019 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime IPT. I used the Induro GIT 204/FlexShooter Pro Mini-mounted Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (at 560mm) and the high mega-pixel Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 800. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/60 sec. at f/16 in Manual mode. AWB at 10:12am on a drizzly morning.

Flexible Spot (S: small) C (Continuos/tracking) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was placed on a vein intersection just below the lower-left rule of thirds spot, that after getting as parallel to the leaf as possible. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image # 3: Leaf with water droplets

The FlexShooter Mini

Both the FlexShooter Pro and the FlexShooter Mini can be set up so that the lens points straight down so that you can parallel a flat subject lying on the ground. Simply loosen the silver bullet knob and place the stem of the black ball into the large notch … No for sure here that I moved the tripod around just a bit several times so as to best parallel the leaf. I saw many droplet-covered leaves while photographing the tortoises and after a while, I could not resist. Again, the close-focusing capabilities of the SONY 100-400 made the day. And the image.

Galapagos-Penguin-A-double-overhead-wing-stretch-_A7R0179-Punta-Moreno-Isabela-Galapagos-1

This image was created at Punta Moreno, Isabela, Galapagos on August 3 on the 2019 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime IPT. Working from a panga (zodiac), I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens (at 400mm) with the high mega-pixel Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 400. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB at 11:01am on a cloudy morning.

Flexible Spot (S) Continuous/tracking AF was active at the moment of exposure. The AF point was placed on the penguin’s neck. Click on the image to enjoy a larger, inexplicably sharper version.

Image #4: Galapagos Penguin double overhead wing stretch

Exposure With SONY

With SONY, I simply set the shutter speed and aperture that I want and then raise or lower the ISO using the rear dial until am looking at faint Zebras. I learned from Patrick to set the Zebras to Lower Limit 105+. That is a very valuable free tidbit since it is taking Patrick so long to get the SONY video guide re-done. It is the fastest, bestest way on the planet of getting a perfect exposure every time quickly and easily. It does take a bit of practice to master this technique.

Marine-Iguanas-tight-A-_A7R2802-Punta-Suarez-Espanola-Hood-Island-Galapagos-1

This image was created at Punta Suarez, Espanola (Hood Island), Galapagos on August 1 on the 2019 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime IPT. I used the Induro GIT 204/FlexShooter Pro Mini-mounted Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens (at 274mm) with the high mega-pixel Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 640. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/20 sec. at f/16 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:06am on a slightly overcast morning. With 5-second self timer.

Flexible Spot (S) Continuous/tracking AF was active at the moment of exposure. The AF point was placed on the eye of the iguana. Click on the image to enjoy a larger, inexplicably sharper version.

Image #5: Marine Iguana resting on another

Generosity Plus Good Technique Along With Some Dumbass Luck Pays Off …

The far turnaround on the trail at Punta Suarez is one of my favorite photographic locations on the planet. We get to shoot the nesting and flying Waved Albatrosses (often with chicks small and large) and lots more including Swallow-tailed Gull, Red-billed Tropicbird, Nazca Booby, and Swallow-tailed Gull. In addition, the cliff-side ocean scenery is mega. As there was a lull in the flight photography, I began checking out the red Marine Iguanas. I noticed the foot of the animal on the right side of the image above and carefully set up the Induro GIT 204 tripod without disturbing the iguanas. I made some images that I liked. When I showed the shot toi Mark Hardymon he liked it. I asked if he wanted to use my rig and my body while I experimented with his SONY 70-200mm f/2.8 GM lens with his a9 and my 1.4X teleconverter. He said “yes” and we both got to work.

When he was done he removed his flash card from my a7r iii and I gave him back his gear. I decided to re-visit the Marine Iguanas and was amazed to see that a second iguana had gone to sleep on the leg of my original subject. I spent a good 30 minutes working the scene above. It was so much sweet that I wound up deleting all of the images from my first session, the ones where the foot of the first iguana was the main subject. You gotta love that!

Nazca-Boobies-courting-A-_A7R4387-Prince-Phillips-Steps-Genovesa-Tower-Island-Galapagos-1

This image was created at Prince Phillip’s Steps, Genovesa (Tower Island), Galapagos on August 4 on the 2019 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime IPT. I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens (at 400mm) with the high mega-pixel Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 4000. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/400 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 5:26pm on a cloudy afternoon.

Flexible Spot (S) Continuous/tracking AF was active at the moment of exposure. The AF point was placed on the eye of the bird on our right. Click on the image to enjoy a larger, inexplicably sharper version.

Image #6: Nazca Booby pair interacting

How High Will You Go on ISO?

One of the more commonly asked questions that I get is “What is the highest ISO that you will use?” My answer is, “If I want a sharp image, I will use an ISO that will allow me to get the shutter speed that I need while providing a good exposure, that is one with data in the right-most box of the histogram. As the two birds in this image were actively courting and sparring, I decided that I needed a minimum shutter speed of 1/400 second. So I set that shutter speed and the aperture and then spun the rear dial to raise the ISO until I saw faint Zebras on the brightest whites of the boobies. I did not realize that I had gotten all the way up to ISO 4000. But that is what I needed to get to 1/400 sec. along with a good exposure. As it turned out, there was zero high-ISO noise evident. That due in part to the excellent high ISO performance of the a7r iii and in part due to the fact that the birds’ white plumage dominated the frame. Light tones will always show a lot less noise than dark tones.

The a7r iii AF Array

On the SONY a9, a7r iii, and the a7r iv, AF points are available across more than 90% of the frame. That means that AF points are available virtually everywhere but for the extreme edges of the frame. And the great news is that all of the AF points are fast to acquire focus and sure to hold it. Even with a TC … All of that much unlike Nikon where AF performance suffers the father you get from the center AF point. And with TC-Es, the situation becomes noticeably worse. With the 500 PF and the TC-E 14 for example, once you get to the AF points farthest from the center the system simply will not focus.

The huge challenge to making this image was to be able to quickly acquire (and hold) sharp focus on the right eye of the bird on our right. First I had to choose an AF point way in the upper right corner of the frame and then pleasingly frame the image while getting it sharp on the only visible eye. Bingo!

The ease of moving the Flexible Spot AF point around the frame with the joystick is remarkable; the process is far better than with Nikon or Canon, but only by one hundred miles …

Bosque-2019-big-card

Bosque del Apache 2019 IPT

Notice the incredible variety of images that you can learn to make by developing your skills and your creative vision on a BAA IPT.

2019 Bosque del Apache IPT

Return to Bosque Reduced Rate Scouting IPT #1. NOV 26-28, 2019 — 3 FULL DAYS: $1199.00. Limit: 8/Openings: 6. Introductory Meet and greet at 7pm on MON 25 NOV.

Extra Day Options: Join me for one to three In-the-Field Days as follows: FRI 29 NOV, SAT 30 NOV, and SUN 1 DEC for only $300.00/day.

I quit going to Bosque several years ago as conditions had worsened each year for several seasons running. My understanding is that things have improved dramatically in recent years. Photography-wise, I know Bosque better than anyone. Join me to learn how wind and sky conditions influence bird photography, how to create dramatic sunrise and sunset silhouettes, how to be in the right place at the right time, and how to create contest-winning blurs. As usual, you will learn to get the right exposure every time, to use your camera’s AF system to create pleasing, balanced image designs, and to improve your flight photography skills.

We should get to photograph many thousands of Snow Geese, more than a few blast-offs, some Ross’s Geese, and lots of Sandhill Cranes in the water, taking flight and flying. Depending on local conditions we may get to shoot some ducks: point-blank American Wigeon and Wood Duck. With any luck, we might enjoy sunrises and sunsets that leave you in tears. Live, eat, and breathe photography with one of (if not the) world’s premier photographic educators at one of his very favorite locations on the planet. Top-notch Photoshop instruction. Join me to learn to think like a pro and to recognize situations and to anticipate them based on the weather. Every time we make a move, I will let you know why. When you get home, applying what you learned will prove to be invaluable.

Lunch is included.

To Register

To register, send your non-refundable $500 deposit — check made out to BIRDS AS ART — via US Mail to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Or call Jim weekdays at 863-692-0906 to put your non-refundable deposit on a credit card. Balances must be paid in full by check no later than two months before the IPT. If you cancel, all but your deposit will be refunded only if the IPT sells out.

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.


If In Doubt …

If you are 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 or Bedfords, 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 or Bedfords 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 :).

6 comments to SONY Rig for Sale. Lots of Nature Photography Lessons. And Six More SONY a7r iii Galapagos Workhorse Images …

  • avatar Paul Burdett

    Hi Artie. Any thoughts on the Sony 200-600 f5.6-6.3?
    Paul

  • Hi Artie,

    Nice shot of the turtle. In regard to your depth of field question I should like to comment that F 9 was needed to have sufficient depth to have the eye, the rest of the head and the fruit sharp enough. However, I believe that wide open would have been F 8 because with the 1.4 converter you would get there from F 5.6 without the converter.

    Regards,

    Dietmar

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Dietmar,

      My bad. I thought that I had been working at 400mm so yes, wide open was f/8. So actually, it was the distance to a relatively large subject that gave me the extra depth of field that was needed to cover the face.

      I will re-craft my faux pas above.

      with love, a

  • avatar Michael Hankes

    That sony a7r iv working out for ya? Didn’t take long to sell your mark iii 🙂

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