South Plaza Island. And the SONY a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body Makes the Impossible Possible … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

South Plaza Island. And the SONY a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body Makes the Impossible Possible ...

What’s Up?

Thursday morning dawned cold and grey — at 9:00am the sky looked like snow (depsite the fact that it was 58 degrees). The pool is down five degrees in just a few days but swimming still feels balmy as compared to the air temps. It is looking like mostly cloudy here this morning, Friday November 15 so it is likely that I still will not have a chance to play with my a9 II.

I fly to Bosque in one week and have begun thinking about packing. There is still time for you to join the small IPT group.

If you have long-dreamed of visiting the Galapagos, please scroll down.

IPT Updates

  • The Return to Bosque Reduced Rate Scouting IPT. NOV 26-28, 2019 — 3 FULL DAYS: $1199.00. Limit: 8/Openings: 3. 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 and details.

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 EOS-1DX, 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.

The Used Gear page has been hot for the past two months with the continuing price drops on Canon and Nikon gear. There are still lots of great buys right now on the Used Gear Page. In addition to the recent sales below, there are many pending sales.

Recent Sales

BAA friend and multiple IPT veteran Paul Reinstein sold his Canon EOS-1D X Mark II body with a shutter count of 40,759 in near-mint condition for $3,599.00 in mid-November 2019.
I sold my SONY a9 in near-mint condition for $2,597.00 on November 11, 2019.
Jerry Barrack sold his Canon Extender EF 1.4X III teleconverter in near-mint condition and his Canon Extender EF 2X III teleconverter also in near-mint condition, both for a very low $224.00 in early Novemeber.
Jerry Barrack also sold a Wimberley WH-101 Gimbal Head w/QR C-30 clamp (the original) and a heavy-duty Gitzo 410 tripod for the silly low price of $399.00.
Peter Noyes sold his Sony Alpha A7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera body in like-new condition with a shutter count of less than 1,000 for $1998.00 the first day it was listed in early November.
Top Used Gear page seller Anthony Ardito sold his gripped Nikon D850 in like-new condition for only $2,399.00, his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens in like-new condition for only $3,396.95, his Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens in like-new condition for $1,796.95, and his Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED-IF lens in like-new condition for only $1,196.95, all during October 2019.
I sold my lightly used Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens in Excellent condition for the BAA record-low price of $9796.95 in late October, 2019.
John Nelson sold his Canon 500mm f/4 IS USM lens (the “old five”) in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $2749.00 in mid-October 2019.
Multiple IPT participant Larry Master sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4.0L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for a BAA record-low $5,989.00 and his Canon EOS 5D Mark IV in like-new condition for $2099.00.
BAA friend and multiple IPT veteran Paul Reinstein sold a Canon Extender EF 2X III teleconverter in excellent condition for only $229.00 the first day it was listed in mid-October.
Top BAA Used Gear page seller Jim Keener sold his Canon mount Zeiss Distagon T 15mm f/2.8 ZE lens in like-new condition for the crazy low price of $799.00 (was $949.00) in early October 2019.
Allen Dale sold a Canon 300mm f2.8L IS II USM lens in excellent condition for $3399.00 in early October,2019.
IPT veteran and dear friend Patrick Sparkman sold his SONY FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens in like-new condition for $10,698.00.
Sheldon Goldstein sold his Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens in like-new condition for $750.00 in September 2019.
BIRDS AS ART friend Don Carter sold his a7r III in near-mint condition for $2099.00 in early October.
I sold my SONY a7r III in excellent plus condition for $1974.00 in early October.
I sold my gripped Nikon D850 in excellent condition for $2,186.96 and my Nikon 500PF lens for $3,246.95, both in early October 2019.
Multiple IPT participant Larry Master sold a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for the BAA record-low price of $899.00 the first day it was listed in mid-October 2019.

Sony Alpha a9 (ILCE 9) Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

Ken Siegel is offering a Sony A9 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body in mint condition for $2698.00. Photos are available upon request. The sale includes the original product box and everything that came in it, a SONY A9 Modular Plate (L-bracket — a $200 value), and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only.
Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ken via e-mail e-mail or by phone at 1-(864) 680-5921 (Eastern time zone).

Simply put, the SONY a9 has the best AF system of any camera that I have ever used. And Patrick Sparkman agrees 100%. SONY is getting hotter every day. The a9 sells for $3,498.00 and the new a9 II sells for $4498.00. Either way, you can do the math as far as how much you will be saving. artie

Sony Alpha a7r III Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

Ken Siegel is also offering a Sony a7r III in mint condition for only $2049.00. Photos are available upon request. The sale includes the original product box and everything that came in it, a SONY A7r III Modular Plate (L-bracket — a $200 value), and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only.
Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ken via e-mail e-mail or by phone at 1-(864) 680-5921 (Eastern time zone).

You’ve seen my great Galapagos images … I made tons of great stuff with the 7r III and the SONY 100-400 with and without the 1.4X TC. Simply put, the a7r iii is a great camera body. It is selling new right now at B&H for $2498.0 and the new a7r iv is going for $3,498.00! You can save a very cool $500.00 by grabbing Ken’s a7r III right now. artie

Please contact Ken via e-mail e-mail or by phone at 1-(864) 680-5921 (Eastern time zone).

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens

Ken Siegel is also offering a Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in near-mint condition for $3299.00. The sale includes the original product box and everything that came in it, a RRS replacement low-foot, the original Canon foot, a Realtree Max4LensCoat (without the adhesive sections), the lens trunk, the original tough front lens cover, the lens strap, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Photos are available upon request. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ken via e-mail e-mail or by phone at 1-(864) 680-5921 (Eastern time zone).

The 300mm f/2.8 autofocus lenses have long been the first choice of the world’s best hawks-in-flight photographers with and without a 1.4X TC. When teamed up with either the 1.4X or 2X TC, it makes a great hand holdable walk-around lens. For folks with a 7D Mark II, the 300 II would make a great workhorse lens for bird photogrpahy. Grabbing Ken’s lens will save you an incredible $2,100.00 as new ones are going for $6099.00 from B&H. I owned and used several versions of the 300 f/2.8 lens for many years until finally replacing my 300 f/2.8 II with the 400 DO II several years ago. That said, the 300 f/2.8 II represents a great value as the 400 DO II sells new for $6,899.00. artie

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens

BAA Record-low Price!
Price reduced $50.00 11-15-19

Regular Used Gear page seller John Bowden is offering a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lnes in excellent-plus condition for a BIRDS AS ART record-low $548.00 (was $598.00). The sale includes the rear lens cap, the front lens cap, the lens pouch, the lens shade (hood), the original product box, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US-addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact John Bowden via e-mail e-mail or by phone at 1-919-358-5717 EST.

The 24-105mm focal length is my all-time favorite for B-roll stuff: bird-scapes, quasi-macros, photographers and people, scenics, and just about everything else on the planet. Whenever I would decide to leave it in the car I would not get far before I was wishing that I had taken it along for the ride. artie

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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 over $1000.00, 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 has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.



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.

Galapagos-Shearwater-a-dorsal-view-in-flight-adult

This image was created on August 3, 2019 on the 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) and the beyond remarkable AF KIng, the Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera. ISO 1000: 1/3200 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. The exposure was determined using the Zebra feature with ISO on the rar wheel. AWB at 2:15pm on a cloudy afternoon.

Image #1: Galapagos Shearwater, dorsal view of adult in flight

The Tall Cliffs at South Plaza

Since 2005, I have made about 15 photographic trips to the Galapagos Archipelago. On every trip, I have made an afternoon landing at South Plaza. It’s a great stop loaded with handsome Land Iguanas, lots of Sally Lightfoot Crabs, and large numbers of handsome adult and young Swallow-tailed Gulls. There is some great flight phortography from the high cliffs. The most desirable subjects there have always been the Red-billed Tropicbirds. But there are lots of frigatebirds and the afore-mentioned Swallow-tailed Gulls flying by, along with an ocassional Nazca Booby. The trick for flight photography at this location is to study the patterns of the birds in flight so that you can anticipate the good chances. Always remember that the tropicbirds will be most active earlier in the afternoon rather than later.

Yikes, I almost forgot to mention that there are always hundreds if not thousands of Galapagos Shearwaters in flight …

Galapagos-Shearwater-a-dorsal-view-in-flight-juvenile

This image was created on August 3, 2019 on the 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) and the beyond remarkable AF KIng, the Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera. ISO 1250: 1/3200 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. The exposure was determined using the Zebra feature with ISO on the rar wheel. AWB at 2:21pm on a cloudy afternoon.

Image #2: Galapagos Shearwater, dorsal view of juvenile in flight

The SONY a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body Does the Impossible …

Though there are zillions of Galapagos Shearwaters flying right up to the top of the cliff edge, they had always been impossible to photograph. Nobody in my 15 years had ever been able to create a decent sharp image. Why? These little shearwaters are fast flyers, they turn and dart and rise and fall in an instant. Getting them anywhere in the frame is a hug challenge. Acuiring and holding focus with an ocean background had proven impossible over the years first with my Canon gear. I had my Nikon 500 PF/D850 with me on the 2019 trip but opted to go with the a9/100-400 because of faster initial focusing acquisition and surer AF.

On my 2019 trip, armed with my SONY a9, I felt for the first time that I had a chance. I studied the bird’s flight patterns very carefully and was able to anticipate when they would circle and fly up toward the top of the cliff. At times, they actually land near the top of the cliff where they make their nests but only on rare ocassion do you get even a glimpse of them on a rock.

I worked very hard for more than an hour and was pleased to come up with today’s two featured images. It is important, however, to remember that I am not a very good flight photographer, often succeeding more as a result of relentless determination than skill. But last August I had the advantage of the SONY a9 …

1_GALAP-2019-composite

Galapagos 2019 Highlights

Bucket List Decision Time …

In the same vein, I am betting that most folks reading this have either dreamed about photographing in the Galapagos or have been there already. I had such an amazing time on the last Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime IPT last July/August, that I decided to see if I could round up some folks for a trip as follows: September 29-October 13, 2020 on the boat. The travel dates would be September 27 to Guayaquil and fly home on 14 October 14. Do note that late SEPT/early OCT is part of the cloudy season in the archipelago, just what you want for great photography. And as always, only my trips visit the three best landings twice each.

Depsite an increase in the cost of the charter, the price of this trip will remain the same: $14,449.00 all inclusive to and from Guayaquil. You will need to bring $700 in US cash for the crew and guide tip, and you will be responsible for your meals in Guayaquil. Everything else — including two hotel nights in Guayaquil — is included. If you would like to commit at this time plesqe contact me via immediately e-mail or call my cell at 863-221-2372 (Eastern time Zone).

Here’s the Rub!

I will need at least eight commitments/deposits by December 8, 2019 in order to confirm the charter while not risking losing my home. I have two folks already committed. If you are considering this trip, please remember, you only live once …

The 2020 GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience

September 29-October 13, 2020. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 12 or 13 photographers plus the leader. I need ten committments by December 8, 2019. This trip needs ten clients to run. No deposit checks will be cashed until early Decemeber. All deposits and payments will be returned if the trip does not run.

This trip is THE best Galapagos Photo-Cruise in the world. By far. No one else offers a trip that visits the top three world-class landings twice each. What does this trip offer? The world’s best Galapagos guide, a killer itinerary, a great boat (the Samba), a great crew, and me, with ten Galapagos Photo-cruises under my belt. Pre-trip gear suggestions and advice and twice-daily, pre-landing, location-specific briefings. In-the-field photo instruction and guidance. Jeez, I almost forgot: fine dining at sea! Do know that there are one-week Galapagos trips (six full and two half- days on the boat “from $9995”! (If you think I am exaggerating, click here.) Thus, this trip represents a tremendous value; why go all that way and miss half of the great photographic locations? And why not visit the three very best spots twice each?

The great spots that we will visit include Tower Island — including Darwin Bay (almost surely twice!) and Prince Phillips Steps, Hood Island (including Punta Suarez, the world’s only nesting site of Waved Albatross (almost surely twice!), and Gardner Bay — each of the preceding are world class wildlife photography designations that rank right up there with Antarctica, Africa, and Midway. We will also visit Fernandina, Puerto Ayora for the tortoises and Darwin’s Finches, Puerto Egas—James Bay, and North Seymour (almost surely twice) for nesting Blue-footed Boobies and both frigatebird species in most years, South Plaza for Land Iguanas and seabirds, Floreana for Greater Flamingoes, and Urbina Bay, all spectacular in their own right. We visit every great spot on a single trip. Plus lots more.

There will be lots of opportunities to snorkel on sunny middays for those like me who wish to partake. (The park service does not approve our second visits to the same great locations until right before the trip; we have never been turned down. We will be the first boat on each island in the morning and the last boat to leave each island every afternoon. If we are blessed with overcast skies, we will often spend 5+ hours at the best sites. And as noted above, mid-day snorkeling is an option on most sunny days depending on location and conditions. On the 2015 trip most snorkeled with many thousands dolphins. I eased off the zodiac to find hundreds of dolphins swimming just below me.

Note that some of the walks are on the difficult side. Great images are possible on all landings with either a hand held 70-200mm lens and a 1.4X teleconverter or an 80- or 100-400mm lens. In the past, I have taken a longer lens ashore on most landings as they better fit my style. In 2017 I took the then brand-new Canon 400mm DO lens and the Canon 500mm f/4 L IS II lens (with both teleconverters). In 2019 I took my Nikon 500 PF and my SONY 100-400 GM lens. I only rarely used my Nikon rig …

The Logistics

September 27 to Guayaquil and fly home on 14 October 14.

SUN SEPT 27, 2020: Arrive in Guayaquil a day early to ensure that you do not miss the boat.

MON SEPT 28, 2020: Introductory session at the Iguana Park.

TUES SEPT 29, 2020. We fly to the archipelago and board the Samba. Heck, on the 2019 trip some folks made great images at the dock in Baltra while our luggage was being loaded!

TUES OCT 14, 2020. We disembark the Samba in mid-morning and fly back to Guayaquil midday; some will overnight there. Others will continue homeward on a red-eye flight.

$14,499 includes just about everything: all transfers, guide and park fees, all food on the boat, transfers and ground transportation, your flights to the archipelago, and two or three nights (double occupancy) in a top notch hotel in Guayaquil. If you are good to go, a non-refundable deposit of $5,000 per person is due immediately. Please e-mail before mailing your deposit check. The second payment of $5,000 will be due on March 1, 2020. The final payment of $4,499 per person will be due on June 1, 2020.

Again, this trip needs ten participants to run so please do not book your flights until you learn that we are good to go: I will commit to the trip once I have eight deposits. Purchasing travel insurance within two weeks of our cashing your deposit check is strongly recommended. On the last trip, two couples were forced to cancel less than ten days prior to departure. My family and I use Travel Insurance Services and strongly recommend that you do the same. One couple used a discount outfit; they are still tryng to get remimbursed …

Not included: your round trip airfare from your home to and from Guayaquil, beverages on the boat, phone calls, your meals in Guayaquil, personal items, and an $700/person cash tip for the crew and the guide to be shared by our guide and the 7 folks who will be waiting on us hand and foot every day for two weeks. The service is so wonderful that many folks choose to tip extra.

The Itinerary

Sunday, September 27, 2020: Fly to Guayaquil arriving a day early to ensure that you do not miss the boat.

Monday, September 28, 2020: Introductory session at the Iguana Park.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020: We fly to the archipelago and board the Samba. Heck, on the 2019 trip some folks made great images at the dock in Baltra while our luggage was being loaded!

On the Boat

Day 1: Tuesday, September 29: PM North Seymour

Day 2: Wednesday, Septmber 30: Genovesa: AM Darwin Bay, PM Prince Phillips´ Steps

Day 3: Thursday, October 1: Marchena: AM Playa Negra, PM Navigation to Isabela

Day 4: Friday, October 2: Isabela: AM Punta Albemarle, PM Punta Vicente Roca

Day 5: Saturday, October 3: AM Fernandina: Punta Espinoza, PM Isabela: Bahía Urbina

Day 6: Sunday, October 4: Isabela: AM Elizabeth Bay, PM Punta Moreno

Day 7: Monday, October 5: Floreana: AM Post Office Bay, PM Punta Cormorant

Day 8: Tuesday, October 6: Santa Cruz: AM Highlands and Lunch, PM free time in the city with internet access.

Day 9: Wednesday, October 7: Española: AM Gardner Bay, PM Punta Suárez

Day 10: Thursday, October 8: Española: AM Punta Suarez, PM Navigation to San Cristóbal

Day 11: Friday, October 9: San Cristóbal. AM Isa Lobos (only until 9 am), PM Punta Pitt

Day 12: Saturday, October 10: AM Santa Fe, PM South Plaza

Day 13: Sunday, October 11: Genovesa: AM Darwin Bay, Navigation to Santiago

Day 14: Monday, October 12: AM James Bay, PM Rábida

Day 15: Tuesday, October 13: North Seymour from 6 to 9am. Everyone must make this landing. We disembark late morning and fly back to Guayaquil midday; some wil will overnight there. Others will catch a redeye and fly home.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020: The folks who stayed in Guayaquil will fly home most likely very early in the day.

The itinerary above is subject to National Park apporoval.

I hope that you can join me on what will surely be a rich and rewarding photographic experience.


If In Doubt …

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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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1 comment to South Plaza Island. And the SONY a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body Makes the Impossible Possible …

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: I loved photographing from the cliffs at South Plaza Island. I did notice the shearwaters and tried half-heartedly to photograph them, but I was so obsessed with the red-billed tropic birds that I couldn’t keep away from them for long. Even with my Canon 7DII, I managed to get some images that pleased me (and friends and relatives) quite a lot. For all your readers that haven’t been there, I urge them to go with you.

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