Two Florida IPTs coming soon. Old Canon Favorites. A Serious Depth-of-Field Mistake ??? And DeSoto in April! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Two Florida IPTs coming soon. Old Canon Favorites. A Serious Depth-of-Field Mistake ??? And DeSoto in April!

Your Favorite?

Which of today’s two featured images is your favorite? Please leave a comment and let us know why you made your choice.


There is lots of great news. The American White Pelicans have returned to my favorite morning spot in Lakeland. I will soon be announcing two IPTS — a first-ever Merritt Island NWR IPT in March, and the traditional Fort DeSoto Spring IPT. Dates and rates coming soon. In addition, I am and will be available for small group or private In-the-Field Instruction sessions at all of the above locations.

What’s Up?

It was dreary and heavily overcast on Tuesday morning. I had a ton of fun creating funky, foggy, in-camera HDR flight images; I kept a record-high 13 jpegs from that single session. I will be sharing some of them with you here soon. After my walk, I took a ride around looking for a second crane nest and instead found a pair with two tiny chicks on the same territory formerly used by Old Gnarly, the crane with the deformed bill. It seems as if he is now among the dearly departed as he nested — not always successfully — in the same area at the north end of the North Field, for about a decade.

A link to the final update of the BAA R5/R6 AF e-Guide was sent yesterday. The AF guide will continue to be available here in the BAA Online Store. If you should have received your link but did not, please let me know via e-mail.

I put in several hours of work on the Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide and hope to get even more done today. The complete guide will sell for $75.00. Folks who purchased their Canon gear using my links will receive a $65.00 discount; the guide will cost them a nominal $10.00. Folks who spent more than $7500.00 on Canon mirrorless gear using either of my affiliate links (B&H or Bedfords) will receive the User’s Guide for free. Folks who purchased the R5/R6 AF e-Guide will receive a $10.00 discount on the User’s e-Guide.

It was sunny with blue skies when I swam yesterday afternoon, but things turned totally grey by 5:00pm. Today is Wednesday 17 February 2021. The forecast for this morning is for early drizzle turning partly cloudy. I will likely get down to the lake at some point this morning even if only for a pier walk.

This post took about 1 1/2 hours to prepare and makes fifty-nine days in a row with a new one. Please remember…

Please Remember

With income from IPTs now at zero, please, if you enjoy and learn from the blog, remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so just might make it possible for me to avoid having to try to get a job as a Walmart greeter and will not cost you a single penny more. And if you use Bedfords and remember to enter the BIRDSASART code at checkout, you will save 3% on every order and enjoy free second-day air shipping. In these crazy times — I am out at least forty to sixty thousand dollars so far due to COVID 19 (with lots more to come) — remembering to use my B&H link or to shop at Bedfords will help me out a ton and be greatly appreciated. Overseas folks who cannot order from the US because of import fees, duties, and taxes, are invited to help out by clicking here to leave a blog thank you gift if they see fit.

New and Better Bedfords Discount Policy!

You can now save 3% on all of your Bedfords photo gear purchases by entering the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. Your discount will be applied to your pre-tax total. In addition, by using the code you will get 2nd day air shipping via Fed Ex.

Grab a Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and save $14.99. Purchase a Canon EOS R5 and your discount will be $116.97. Purchase a Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and save a remarkable $389.94! Your Bedford’s purchase no longer needs to be greater than $1,000.00 for you to receive a discount. The more you spend, the more you save.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would enjoy free second-day air shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Central time). Be sure to mention the BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order to save 3% and enjoy free 2nd-day air shipping. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H and everywhere else. The wait lists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard to get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a9 ii, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and eager to please.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs (remember those?) 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 22 April 2017 at Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL. I used the handheld Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 348mm) and my favorite-ever Canon dSLR, the EOS 5D Mark IV . ISO 800. Exposure determined via test image/histogram evaluation. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/9 (stopped down 1 1/3 stops) in Aperture Priority (Av) mode. RawDigger showed that I could have gone 1/3 stop lighter. AWB at 8:50am on a cloudy-bright morning.

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #1: Laughing Gulls copulating

The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens

I really loved my 100-400 II. While the SONY 100-400 focuses just as close and is just as versatile, the zoom on the Canon 1-4 II was much smoother (than on the SONY 1-4). When selling used copies of this lens on the Used Gear Page, I have often written something like this:

The incredibly versatile 100-400 II was my favorite Canon lens. I loved the .98 meter close focus — tall folks can focus on their own toes! And it was a great flight lens with birds at close range. And I did well with it with the 1.4X III teleconverter. The 1-4 II currently sells new for $2,399.00 so you can save a very handsome $xxx by grabbing Joe Blow’s lens asap.

It wasn’t just hype! Today, the 100-400 II will kill with either an R5 or and R6 and the Standard RF to EF Adapter.

A Serious Depth-of-Field Mistake ???

Was f/9 (stopped down 1 1/3 stops) a good choice for Image #1? Why or why not?

This image was created on 20 April 2017 at Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and my favorite-ever Canon dSLR, the EOS 5D Mark IV . Exposure determined via test image/histogram evaluation. ISO 400: 1/1250 sec. at f/9 (stopped down 1/3 stop). AWB at 9:14am on a nearly sunny morning.

Image #2: Breeding plumage Royal Tern displaying

The EOS 5D Mark IV

Near the end of my time using Canon gear, three 30.4MP 5D IVs served as my workhorse bodies for about four years. When selling used copies of this body on the Used Gear Page, I have often written something to this effect:

What can I say? The 5D IV was my favorite-ever Canon digital dSLR. I owned and used three of them while my 1DX II sat on the shelf in my garage for the most part. I routinely used the 5D IV with the 1.4X III or the 2X III teleconverters with both my 500 II and my 600 II super-telephoto lenses. The 5D IV sells new today for $2,499.00; if you have been dreaming of a 5D IV, grab Dumb Don’s camera body right now and save a cool xxxx.xx! artie

Again, it wasn’t just hype!

DeSoto in April

The huge attractions at DeSoto in April are the Royal and Sandwich Terns and the Laughing Gulls in full breeding plumage. Breeding behaviors such as courtship displays, courtship feeding, and copulations are seen often and in many cases, easily photographed. I can teach you to look for the behavioral clues that signal what will likely happen next. In addition, many of the wading birds are also in full breeding plumage.


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors.

8 comments to Two Florida IPTs coming soon. Old Canon Favorites. A Serious Depth-of-Field Mistake ??? And DeSoto in April!

  • avatar James Saxon

    I like the second image. Image 1 at f9 is fine to get both birds sharp in the frame. f9 allows more depth of field for the wings on the back bird.

  • avatar Jeff Walters

    I like ’em both equally. Great shots. Great happy male. Great Hair. Per your comment Raw Digger says you you could have stopped down 1 stop instead of 1 and a 1/3 stops on 1st pic. Good tip about lightening the eye skin. I’ve felt the same frustration as Jay. Most say to get a catchlight in the eye and sometimes no can do. Your tip and your pic without much catch light says to work with what you have and you may still catch magic with that shutter click. Really cool shots. Thank-you.

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    I love the first shot, with the pair copulating. I never understood how anything is accomplished since it’s over so quickly!

  • avatar ilene

    i love the second one just amazed by the hairdo
    lmiss you love ilene

  • avatar Jordan Cait

    typo? “and save a cool xxxx.xx!”

  • avatar Jay

    Both are great shots, and I hesitate to pick a “favorite.” Different birds, different types of shots (animal behavior versus a portrait). The laughing gulls photo leads me anthropomorphize the birds. The female has a look on her face the implies, “yeah, ok, but really I’m a bit bored with this.” The male, on the other hand, seems a bit excited. The royal tern is a great shot, but reminds me of my problem whenever shooting a bird with black feathers around the eye. That is, the eye doesn’t stand out. I notice this especially when I’m shooting black-capped chickadees. The eye almost gets lost in the surrounding black feathers. That said, I love how you got the bird to pose so nicely for the portrait.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Jay. The eye on the tern looks pretty good from here. One trick is to lighten the eye skin just a bit, maybe with a 5 or 10% Opacity brush with Tim Grey Dodge and Burn.

      I get the birds to pose for me by knowing their habits well and approaching with great care. That works especially well when the are doing something (as with both of today’s images).

      with love, a

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>