SONY Flight Photography at 1200mm! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

SONY Flight Photography at 1200mm!

What’s Up?

The Book of Mormon was energy-filled and as superb and as wildly irreverent as advertised. I just love great musicals. Cody Jamison Strand in the role of Elder Cunningham totally stole the show. The Book of Arnold indeed … Sunday was the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the morning and Hamilton at 3pm.

Please …

Please consider leaving a comment and letting us know which of today’s four featured images is your favorites, and why.

IPT Updates

    Do check out the San Diego Gallery here.

  • 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.

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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.

This image was created on September 28, 2019 on the Fort DeSoto Fall IPT. I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the 61 megapixel monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 1600. Exposure determined by Zebras: 1/1000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. AWB at 7:17pm just before sunset on a partly cloudy afternoon.

Image #1:Brown Pelican diving at sunset

Click on the image to see a larger, inexplicably sharper version.

My First Attempt at 1200mm Flight (with the a7R IV)

We were on the sandbar at DeSoto and I was working with the a7r IV and the 600 GM. There were some relatively distant pelicans diving in front of the sunset so I added the 2X TC. As I had set the exposure for a bird diving right next to the sun in the brightest part of the sky, this one was somewhat underexposed. A much higher ISO and a somewhat faster shutter speed would have resulted in better image quality. But I was pretty impressed.

This image was created on November 26, 2019. I used the Induro GIT 404/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the blazingly fast Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body) that features incredibly accurate AF. ISO 640. Exposure determined by Zebras: 1/5000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. AWB at 5:09 pm after sunset.

Image #2: Sandhill Cranes parachuting down

Click on the image to see a larger, inexplicably sharper version.

Experimenting at 1200mm

On the evening of November 26th, I decided to experiment with the 2X TC on the 600 GM with the a9 II. I took lots of images of cranes floating down to earth against a clear but colorful sky. I was pretty much stunned by the consistent sharpness; in most of the images the nares were sharply defined and you could see light through them if the angle was right. So the next morning I used the same gear for more traditional flight photography and was again amazed …

This image was created on November 27, 2019. Again I used the Induro GIT 404/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the blazingly fast Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body) that features incredibly accurate AF. ISO 2000. Exposure determined by Zebras: 1/2000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:43am on a cloudy morning.

Image #3: Sandhill Crane angled flat flight

Click on the image to see a larger, inexplicably sharper version.

Loving Cloudy-bright for Flight

I just love cloudy-bright days to clear sunny days for flight photography. The former yields superb underwing detail and absolutely no shadows. And most current dSLRs and mirrorless bodies handle noise at ISOs from 800 to 5000 fairly well.

This image was also created on November 27, 2019 with the Induro GIT 404/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the blazingly fast Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body) that features incredibly accurate AF. ISO 640. Exposure determined by Zebras: 1/1600 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. AWB at 11:32am on a cloudy morning.

Image #4: Ross’s Goose in flat flight

Click on the image to see a larger, inexplicably sharper version.

11:32 am?

Yes, on IPTs when the conditions are perfect we do not worry about scheduled meals. Heck, I never even have a schedule. We photograph when the photography is good and worry about the rest whenever.

Even Ounces Count

The SONY 600 GM is a single ounce lighter than the Canon 600 III (but is better balanced for those who handhold). The. big weight savings are with the camera bodies; the a7R III & IV and the a9 and the a9 II weigh significantly less than Canon and Nikon dSLRs. And there is no need at all for a vertical grip with extra batteries to get to actual 15 fps with the a9 II. And the SONY teleconverters are significantly lighter and significantly smaller than their dSLR equivalents (especially the 2X TC).

Speaking of Batteries

The word on the street has been that SONY camera batteries suck. For me, that has not been the case. In Florida, working in relatively warm temperatures, I have never once had to replace a SONY battery even during 1000-image plus sessions. While at Bosque, working in much colder temps, often in the mid-twenties, I had to change batteries exactly twice in thirteen days. And both of those occasions were at the very end of long shooting sessions.

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: 5)

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.

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 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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