Photographing Los Pinnípedos de Galápagos. And Four More SONY a7r iii Galapagos Workhorse Images … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Photographing Los Pinnípedos de Galápagos. And Four More SONY a7r iii Galapagos Workhorse Images ...

What’s Up?

In an effort to reduce my use of insulin or eliminate it completely, I have just begun a new eating plan: intermittent fasting. I am eating one meal at 10am and my second meal at 3pm. So I am fasting from about 4pm till 10am the next day. No snacking then, only water. The first day was easy. We (Dr. Cliff Oliver) and I are hoping to make my cells less insulin resistant. If you are interested, you can learn more by clicking here.

I enjoyed an excellent morning of photography on Wednesday and will be headed down to the lake for my walk and for more Sandhill Crane and vulture photography as soon as I finish this blog post. As noted below, there was a problem getting the balls for the new Minis anodized properly so our first shipment will be delayed several weeks.

I was glad to learn that multiple IPT veteran Larry Master will be joining us at Bosque in late November. The BIRDS AS ART Gallery is nearing completion.

Your Favorite?

Please leave a comment and let us know which of today’s featured images is your favorite and why you liked it the best. Folks have been very lazy recently as far as making the blog interactive …

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.

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: 5. 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 properly, 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 two FlexShooter Pro heads in stock here. All BigFeet are in stock in the BAA Online Store here. 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.

What-is-it-_A7R3803-Santa-Fe-Galapagos-1

This image was created on August 3, on the 2019 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime IPT. While hand holding and pointing the lens straight down, I used the Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens (at 238mm) 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: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:46am on a drizzly morning.

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

Image #1: What is it? Sante Fe, Galapagos

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

The close focusing capability (.98 meters (3′ 2.4″) of the Sony 100-400mm GM allowed me to stand at full height and shoot straight down at the subject. Without a ladder, it would not have been possible to make this image with the Nikon 80-400 VR as the minimum focusing distance is 1.75 meters (5.74 feet) …

What is It?

Please leave a comment.

Aperture Question

Why was 1/1000 sec at f/5.6 a serious error? What should I have done assuming that I stayed at ISO 1000?

I-DONT-LIKE-ARTIES-TRIPOD-WEB

This image was created by multiple IPT veteran Luis Alberto Grunauer on the 2019 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime IPT. He used the handheld Canon 100-400mm and the 1DX Mark II.

Image #2: Galapagos Sea Lion barking at Induro GIT 204L and FlexShooter Mini, Sante Fe,Galapagos

Photo courtesy of and copyright 2019: Luis Alberto Grunauer/Silvia’s Jovial Photography

The Induro GIT 204/FlexShooter Mini Combo

Whenever I was not handholding on this IPT, I used the Induro GIT 204 paired with the FlexShooter Mini. This combo is smaller, lighter (by almost one full pound), and easier to travel with than the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro that I use with my big lenses.

It served me quite well in low light and as mentioned here previously, the 204/Mini combo is perfect for all intermediate telephoto primes and zooms like the 70-200s, the 80- and 100-400s, the Canon 400 DO II, the Nikon 500 PF, and the like. Our first order of Minis has been delayed due to a problem with the anodization process. To ensure getting one from our first shipment it is best to place a phone order by calling Jim in the office at 863-692-0906; we will not charge your credit card until your head is shipped.

Pinnipeds

Pinnipeds, commonly known as seals, are a widely distributed and diverse clan of carnivorous, fin-footed, semi-aquatic marine mammals. They comprise the families Odobenidae (whose only living member is the walrus), Otariidae (the eared seals: sea lions and fur seals), and Phocidae (the earless seals, or true seals). There are 33 extant species of pinnipeds, and more than 50 extinct species have been described from fossils. While seals were historically thought to have descended from two ancestral lines, molecular evidence supports them as a monophyletic lineage (descended from one ancestral line). Pinnipeds belong to the order Carnivora and their closest living relatives are believed to be bears and the superfamily of musteloids (weasels, raccoons, skunks, and red pandas), having diverged about 50 million years ago.

The above was adapted from the Wikipedia article here.

Galapagos-Fur-Seal-female-yawning-A-_A7R5103-James-Bay-Puerto-Egas-Santiago-Galapagos-1

This image was created at James Bay, Puerto Egas, Santiago, Galapagos on August 5 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 294mm) with the high mega-pixel Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 800. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/500 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 9:49am on a sunny morning with he subject in a shaded grotto.

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

Image #3: Galapagos Fur Seal yawning

Galapagos Fur Seal

Both the Galapagos Fur Seal and the far more widespread Galapagos Sea Lion are eared seals of the same family: Otariidae. which means “eared seal”. The Galapagos Fur Seal belongs to a genus of fur seals called Arctocephalus (or Arctophoca), meaning bear-headed. The Galapagos Sea Lion belongs to the genus Zalophus and is closely related to the California Sea Lion. Galapagos Fur Seals are smaller across the board than the Galapagos Sea Lions. On my trips, we see and photograph the fur seals at James Bay, Puerto Egas, Santiago. Galapagos Sea Lions are widespread and are commonly seen everywhere within the Archipelago, whereas fur seals are most likely to be seen by tourists around Isabela and Fernandina islands. The male fur seals are more vagrant than the females and can regularly be seen on Santiago and Bartholome islands, as well as on the southern parts of Floreana.

You can learn more about telling the two species apart in the article from the Galapagos Conservation Trust website here.

Galapagos-SeaLion-head-and-neck-_A7R5521-Rabida-Galapagos-1

This image was created at Rabida, Galapagos on August 5 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 300mm) with the high mega-pixel Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 800. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/640 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 4:18pm on a cloudy afternoon.

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

Image #4: Galapagos Sea Lion with red sand background

The Red Sands of Rabida

Rábida is one of the Galápagos Islands. Five km², the island has also been known as Jervis Island named in honor of the 18th-century British admiral John Jervis. In Ecuador it is officially known as Isla Rábida. There is lots of wildlife on Rabida including Galapagos Flamingo and White-cheeked Pintail. Rabida is well known for the color of its deep red sands and earth. The color is the result of the high content of iron in the volcanic material found on the island. The sea lion in the image above was resting in the shade of a tiny cave; the lighting enhanced the color of the rear wall of the sea lion’s tiny shelter.

Galapagos-Sea-Lion-pup-stretching-A-_A7R2018-Gardner-Bay-Espanola-Hood-Island-Galapagos-1

This image was created at Gardner Bay, Espanola (Hood Island), Galapagos on August 5 on the 2019 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime IPT. I used the handheld Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens (at 358mm) with the high mega-pixel Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 3200. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/250 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 6:27am on a cloudy very dark morning.

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

Image #5: Galapagos Sea Lion pup on white sand beach

The Knee-Pod Technique

As we all know, hand holding an intermediate telephoto lens is far more fun than lugging around a big lens on a tripod. When doing so, we are much more mobile and thus can get ourselves into position quickly. And of course, getting low is a great way to make your images more intimate and to soften the background as well. So that I can work at lower ISOs and slower shutter speeds, I will often use the knee-pod technique; I sit with my left leg bent at the knee and rest the back of my left forearm on my knee and/or the distal part of my left thigh.

I just love tooling around with bare feet on the pristine white sands of Gardner Bay photographing the plentiful sea lions playing and fighting and nursing and resting. It is one of the highlights of my Galapagos trips.

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

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12 comments to Photographing Los Pinnípedos de Galápagos. And Four More SONY a7r iii Galapagos Workhorse Images …

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    Image #4 is my favourite, I like the posture of the Sea Lion, I like the way the whiskers show, I like the grains of red sand on the Sea Lion’s fur, and of course I like the red coloured background.

  • What is it? – My guess is a sea lion flipper on sea lion body (both covered in sand).
    I love image #5 – really stunning; the colours and the simplicity are perfect and the great pose from the sea lion really is the cherry on the cake!
    Thanks as always,
    Jake

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. The first image looks like the wing of a moth to me. But your blog post is about los pinnipedos, and so my official guess is that it’s the right flipper (forelimb) of un pinnipedo, probably a fur seal. But if it is, I don’t know how you could have got so close unless the animal was dead or unless you were photographing from above with a long lens, but you say you were 238 mm. My favorite of the others is the head shot of the bull sea lion.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Good thinking David. The sea lions are very tame. If you approach them slowly you can practically stand over them. So that’s what I did.

      with love, artie

      ps: have you been?

  • avatar Warren Robb

    I think image #1 is the remains of a marine sea creature, jellyfish perhaps, washed up on a beach. Interesting pattern for certain.
    Since the subject was likely not moving, a much lower shutter speed could have been used resulting in a lower ISO when set with zebra’s. But in reality I don’t know if I could detect noise in a sand background image. So if it were mine, I would call it good.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Warren. Thanks for commenting. There is no noise. Nobody has zeroed in on the answer I was looking for …

      I love it.

      with love, a

  • avatar Marr Miller

    My guess is Sea Lion front right flipper and sand.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for leaving a comment, Marr. I believe that that you are wrong — I think that it is a left front flipper …

      with love, artie

  • avatar Adam

    The sea lion pup on the sand is my pick for the super clean background. Simply wonderful. Artie, care to comment and describe how you manage to navigate the Sony menus? After borrowing one for a weekend, I was simply flummoxed by the difficulty navigating settings and making changes. It really made me appreciate my Canon bodies and Sony really needs to add photographers to its design team. Shana Tova and best wishes with the new diabetes approach.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks and ditto Adam. Doing Gardner Bay in the morning allows you to find some very clean sand that has been flattened by the overnight high tide 🙂

      with love, artie

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