February 8th, 2016

I Surprised Myself at the Last Second: My Japan Gear Bag. And the 2017 Japan in Winter IPT Announced.

What’s Up?

I began this blog post on Thursday past and am finishing it on my MCO to LAX flight on the way to my connecting flight to Tokyo. It is an amazing world that we live in: I am online on a jetliner at 30,000 feet via free GoGoInFlight passes from my Platinum AMEX card. Man, you gotta love it.

My last-ever Japan in Winter Tour is announced below. Please e-mail with questions and for couple and IPT repeat customer discount information. This trip has sold out well in advance in three of the past four years. The missing year? I did not go. This will be my last Japan in Winter IPT. I do hope that you can join me.

Used Photo Gear News

The sale of Phil Frigon’s Canon 200-400 f/4L IS with Internal Extender for $8995 is pending. Carl Zanoni’s three Series III TCs sold instantly for $279 each and I learned on Monday that the sale of one of his 1D X bodies is pending. Man, the place is hopping!

Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS II Zoom Lens with Internal 1.4X Extender

A New Lowest-ever BAA Price: $8799!
Price Reduced $651 on FEB 8, 2015.

Good friend and IPT veteran George Golumbeski is offering a used Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS zoom lens with Internal 1.4X Extender in excellent plus to near-mint condition with several extras, was $9450.00, now $8799. The sale includes all of the original items supplied by Canon including the lens trunk, the lens strap, the Canon E-145C Lens Cap (actually a lens hood made of tough synthetic fabric), the rear lens cap, the ET-120 Lens Hood, a 4th Generation Design CRX-5 replacement foot, the the original Canon foot and screws, a LensCoat (in digital camo), a Don Zeck front lens cover, and insured shipping via UPS Ground. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact George via e-mail or by phone at 1-973 216 3832 (Eastern time zone).

The 200-400 is a killer lens when you are working with tame birds or large mammals; can you say the Galapagos, Africa, South Georgia and the rest of the great Southern Ocean locations, Florida, or La Jolla? I have owned and used this lens since its release. artie

My Japan Gear Bag

I knew all along that the big decision for this trip would be whether to bring the lighter, smaller 500mm f/4L IS II or the bulkier, heavier, and longer 600 II. By the narrowest of margins I surprised myself by opting for the 600 II. Keep reading to learn why and more.

Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens. I went with the 600 II for several reasons (and very much despite my right shoulder). Perhaps the great ART treatment I got from chiropractor/friend TJ McKeon on Thursday afternoon made me do it. In any case, we do not walk any great distances on the Japan IPT, at least in the spots were I will need the 600 for reach. That will be the case at the two crane sanctuaries, primarily Tsurui-Itoh where the extra reach really helps in the morning when the Red-crowned Cranes are flying in. I will also bring it onto the eagle boat along with my Induro tripod topped by a Mongoose M3.6. There is not much walking there either. :) And I will likely use it for the Whooper Swans at times and for the ducks in the harbor at Rausu.

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens. This lens will be on my shoulder for most of the trip either with a 5DS R OR A 1D X via a Black Rapid strap. The 100-400 focal length fits beautifully with the 600 II. I will be using it as I always do for just about everything. That will include catch-as-catch-can flight and action, portraits, and as my main lens on a tripod for the Snow Monkeys. The close-focus there will be amazingly valuable… It was a pretty easy decision to leave the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at home as I can cover the missing 70-100 with the 24-105.

I am also bringing the Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens. Many would think that it counterfeits the 100-400 II to some degree and it obviously does but there are lots of advantages that come along with its lighter weight (as compared to the 600 II) and its wider f/4 aperture (as compared to the 100-400II). I will use it for hand held flight for the two species of sea-eagles that we will likely get to photograph, for the Whooper Swans in flight, and for the Red-Crowned Cranes when they are landing close to us. I will likely bring up the hill for the Snow Monkeys so that I can enjoy 800mm of full frame reach if I need it. It’s light weight will be greatly appreciated on that hike. In addition, the 400 DO II offers a good measure of insurance should fate claim my 600 II.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens. This all-purpose B-roll lens will be in my Vested Interest Xtrahand vest where it can be grabbed whenever it is needed or used on a tripod for scenic photography.

I am bringing the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens for scenic photography even though I am not very good with this lens…

Camera Bodies

I brought two of the mega-high megapixel Canon EOS 5DS R DSLR bodies and will be using them often with all of the lenses above including on the 600 II either alone or with either TC.

EOS-1D X. I will use my rugged pro body in very low light as it offers better high ISO control of noise and may use it for photographing action with the 600 II and the 2X III TC as the more powerful 1D X battery makes it better choice when I am working at 1200mm and need the fastest possible AF.

Teleconverters

I am making this trip with the usual complement of TCs: three Canon 1.4X III TCs and two 2X III TCs. With my style of bird photography–tight, clean, and graphic–I cannot afford to be without both TCs in the event of an accident or malfunction–or loss. :) Most common in the malfunction category would be that the locking pin sticks; when that happens, there is a risk of having your camera body hit the ground.

Questions Welcome

If you have a question about any of my gear choices above please feel free to leave a comment. Do you disagree with any of my choices? What would you be brining to Japan. And why?

Think Tank Rolling Bags

I will be using the larger of my two Think Tank rolling bags, the Airport Security™ V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag. Everything above fit easily into my Airport Security™ V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag on Saturday afternoon. It tipped the scales at 45 1/2 pounds for this trip; the legal limit for US flights is 40 pounds. Nearly all countries in the world give you slack as far as the 40 pounds goes on the way back to the US. As far as the extra 5 1/2 pounds, I have only been hassled for weight once in more than three decades of flying around the world. And never in Japan. I hope that I do not give myself a kine-ahora.

Please click on my Think Tank affiliate link here or on the Think Tank logo-link in the right column of each blog post page to earn a free gift when you purchase any Think Tank product.

Think Tank Urban Disguise Laptop Shoulder Bag

Both Denise Ippolito and I use and love this amazing bag as it has tons of room and enables us to bring tons of extra stuff. If you are forced to gate check your roller you can get more than a few items in this bag, especially if you are not a diabetic.

Please click on my Think Tank affiliate link here or on the Think Tank logo-link in the right column of each blog post page to earn a free gift when you purchase any Think Tank product.

Delkin Flash Cards

As always, I will have a 64gb Delkin e-Film Pro Flash Card in each camera body so that I never have to change cards in the field thus reducing the risk of losing a card…. Please note the new lower prices here. I do have a few extra 32 and 64gb cards in a Delkin CF Memory Card Tote, mostly to protect against operator error.

Vested Interest Xtrahand Vest

I use a custom-designed Vested Interest Xtrahand Magnum vest that John Storrie knows as the BIRDS AS ART Big Lens Vest. It is based on their Magnum vest and then customized to best fit my needs. In addition to carrying a ton of stuff comfortably in the field, it gives you a measure of protection should your roll aboard be gate-checked on puddle jumper or other flights.

If you do a search for “vest’ or “vested interest” on the blog it will take you to many mentions in both the blog and the Bulletins with lots of additional information. See especially here and here.

Click here to learn more about Xtrahand Vests. You can always call John at 940 484 2222 to discuss customizing your vest. If you think that you might order, be sure to have a tape measure in hand. Please let him know that we sent you.


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Consider joining me in Japan in February, 2017, for the world’s best Japan in Winter workshop. Click on the card to enjoy the spectacular larger version.

Japan In Winter IPT. February 9-24, 2017: $13,999/double occupancy.

All lodging including the Tokyo hotel on 9 FEB, all breakfasts & dinners, ground transport and transfers including bus to the monkey park hotel, and all entrance fees and in-country flights are included. Not included: international flights, all lunches–most are on the run, and alcoholic beverages.

Please e-mail for couple and IPT repeat customer discount information.

This trip is one day longer than the great 2014 trip to allow for more flexibility, more time with the cranes, and most importantly, more time for landscape photography. Hokkaido is gorgeous. You will enjoy tons of pre-trip planning and gear advice, in-the-field instruction and guidance, at-the-lodge Photoshop and image review sessions in addition to short introductory slide programs for each of the amazing locations. Skilled photographer Paul McKenzie handles the logistics and we enjoy the services of Japan’s best wildlife photography guide whom I affectionately call “Hokkaido Bear.” His network of local contacts and his knowledge of the weather, the area, and the birds enables him to have us in the best location every day.


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Amazing subjects. Beautiful settings. Nonstop action and unlimited opportunities. Join me.

The Logistics

Arrive Tokyo: 9 FEB 2016 the latest. 8 FEB is safer and gives you a day to get acclimated to the time change. Your hotel room for the night of the 9th is covered.

Travel to Monkey Park Hotel: 10 FEB: Short 1/2 DAY of monkey photography is remotely possible depending on our travel time….

Full Day snow monkeys: FEB 11.

Full Day snow monkeys: FEB 12.

13 FEB: Full travel day to Hokkaido/arrive at our lodge in the late afternoon. The lodge is wonderful. All the rooms at the lodge have beds. Bring your warm pajamas. Local onsen (hot springs bath and tubs) is available for $5 each day before dinner–when you are cold, it is the best thing since sliced bread. The home-cooked Japanese styles meals at the lodge are to die for, and the traditional and sumptuous Japanese-style meals at the Snow Monkey Park will astound you and delight your taste buds. What’s the best news? Only a small stand of woods separates us from the very best crane sanctuary. During one big snowstorm we were the only photo group to be able to get to Tsurui Ito; we had the whole place to ourselves in perfect conditions for crane photography!

FEB 14-23: Red-crowned Crane, raptors in flight, Whooper Swans, and scenic photography. Ural Owl possible. One 2-night trip to Rausu for Steller’s and White Tailed Sea Eagles on the tourists boats is 100% dependent weather, road, and sea ice conditions. Only our trip offers complete flexibility in this area. It has saved us on more than once occasion. An afternoon of duck photography in the harbor at Rausu is a strong possibility. The cost of 3 eagle-boat trips is included. If the group would like to do more than three boat trips and we all agree, there will be an additional charge for the extra trip or trips. Do understand that few if any tours offer at least one afternoon boat trip….

Lodging notes: bring your long johns for sleeping in the lodge. In Rausu and at the Snow Monkey Park, the hotel the rooms are Japanese-style. You sleep on comfortable mats on the floor. Wi-fi is available every day of the trip.

FEB 24. Fly back to Tokyo for transfer to your airport if you are flying home that night, or, to your hotel if you are overnighting. If you need to overnight, the cost of that room is on you.


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Life is short. Hop on the merry-go-round.

To Sign Up

To save your spot, please send your $5,000 non-refundable deposit check made out to “Birds as Art” to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. I do hope that you can join me for this trip of a lifetime. Do e-mail with any questions or give me a buzz at 863-692-0906.

Purchasing travel insurance within 2 weeks of our cashing your deposit check is strongly recommended. On two fairly recent Galapagos cruises a total of 5 folks were forced to cancel less than one week prior to the trip. My family and I use Travel Insurance Services and strongly recommend that you do the same.

February 7th, 2016

A Hundred Bucks for a PDF? You Gotta Be Nuts! And two more Used 1D X bodies and more...

What’s Up?

I worked on this and other upcoming blog posts over the course of several days. I am putting the finishing touches on it at 4:15am Sunday morning, February, 7, 2016. I am at a hotel just outside the airport and will be on their 5:30am shuttle. I fly to Los Angeles this morning and will enjoy an 8-hour layover at LAX before my flight to Tokyo. I could have left later with a much tighter connection but I wanted to get my United miles worth and sit up front the whole way. I did not even know that I had any United miles in my MileagePlus account but when I checked I had just enough for the round trip Business/First ticket. Whoohooo. I meet Donna and Bev in LA for the long flight. We get into Tokyo at 10:50pm on Monday night.

I am feeling quite calm and at peace and plan on hanging at the United first class lounge at LAX doing what I love to do second best :) Working on images and the blog on my great Apple 15.4″ MacBook Pro Notebook Computer with Retina Display. Lord how glad I am that I switched to Mac. As for the long flight, I will take that one breath at a time.

Yesterday was packing, packing, and more packing. I made a big gear bag decision that I will share with y’all in tomorrow blog post.

This Just In!

Got to the airport and went to check in only to be told that United does not have a morning direct flight to LAX… Checked the laptop and saw that it was all on Delta with Delta SkyMiles :) Whew!


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The Southern Ocean Photography Guide: $100, via download link

The Southern Ocean Photography Guide (SOPG) e-book is complete and is available for purchase here for $100.00. Or, you can call us at 863-692-0906 Mondays through Fridays with your credit card in hand. A link to your PDF will be sent ASAP (Monday through Friday). This guide is one hundred twenty-eight pages, 21,500 words, and contains 158 inspirational photographs each accompanied by an educational caption.

Why a Photography Guide rather than a Site Guide? The SOPG includes a ton of information on the complex logistics of a voyage to South Georgia and/or Antarctica. The information in this guide will help you select the right trip, to prepare for your trip properly in terms of clothing and photography gear, and will teach you about the various forms of photographic opportunities that you will have including landings, zodiac cruises, photographing from the ship while underway, and ship cruising. The logistics of getting your gear and yourself safely ashore are covered in detail. For those considering such an expedition, there is a frank discussion about the physical demands of a Southern Ocean voyage.

The new guide does include specific tips for many of the popular landings. In South Georgia these include the landings at Elsehul, Fortuna Bay, Right Whale Bay, Hercules Bay, Grytviken, Stromness Harbor, Godthul, Undine Harbor, and Cooper Bay, as well as the famed landing sites at Salisbury Plain, Gold Harbor, and the mind-boggling St. Andrews Bay. In Antarctica you will–weather permitting–likely land at Brown Bluff, Jougla Point, Petermann Island, Neko Harbor, Danco Harbor, Hannah Point, and for the extremely lucky, Bailey Head. There is lots of zodiac cruising down by the continent at locations that include the ice- and Humpback Whale-filled Cierva Cove, Paulet Island (where landings are possible but not likely), Hope Bay, and lots more. You will learn what to expect on a zodiac cruise and how best to maximize your opportunities while protecting your gear.

Why So Expensive?

Actually, if you consider the value of the information in the PDF that you will receive, the SOPG is cheap. I have spent well more than $70,000 out of pocket on my five Southern Ocean trips. You will likely be spending $10 to $20K on your trip. $100? A huge bargain.

As above, the info in this guide will prove invaluable. It will keep you off the wrong ship with the wrong company; it will help you be prepared, to dress properly so that you can stay warm and as dry as possible; it will help you to maximize your photographic opportunities. And, if you follow the safety tips, it might even save your life.

From Ted Cheeseman

Ted Cheeseman was the Expedition Leader on two of my three Cheesemans’ Ecology Safari voyages. He is skillful, dedicated, and extremely knowledgeable. He is as passionate about ice and penguins as I am about bird photography. I recently sent him a review copy of the SOPG. Here is what he had to say:

Thank you for sharing this. I had no idea you were putting so much work into this. It was really fun to see your images. I have, of course, seen many of them, but many more I had not. I read a lot of it, not comprehensively but spent about an hour. Great stuff Artie. Your introduction is solid, honest, appropriate, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the experience from your perspective. Ted

Get a Totally Free Copy!

Sign up for one of the few remaining spots on the OCT/NOV 2016 South Georgia/Falklands Expedition as part of the BIRDS AS ART group and you will receive a free copy of the Southern Ocean Photography Guide. Click here for complete details including other benefits.


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The info on page 11 might very well help you to prevent serious injury.


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The info on page 12 might very well help you to prevent serious injury or a nasty fur seal bite.


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B&H

B&H contributed generously as the primary SDNHM exhibition sponsor. Thank them (and me for the blog) by clicking on the logo link above to shop.

Selling Your Used Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily. Even the prices on the new 600 II and the 200-400 with Internal Extender have been plummeting. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the right side of the yellow-orange menu bar above.

To say that sales during the last ten days weeks of January have been brisk, would be a big understatement:

  • I purchased Mark Hodgson’s 1.4X and 2X TCs in like-new condition in mid-January, 2016 for $279 each before they were even listed.
  • Multiple IPT veteran Steve Leimberg sold his 1D-X in excellent plus condition for the full asking price, $2999, on the first day it was listed.
  • Roberta Olenick sold her Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS USM lens in near-mint condition for $2950 USD in mid-January.
  • Erik Hagstrom sold his Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens in excellent condition for a ridiculously low $1275 in late January.
  • Patrick Sparkman also sold his Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens (in excellent condition) on Feb 2k 2016 for $849 two days after it was listed.
  • Multiple IPT veteran Patrick Sparkman sold his EOS 7D Mark II in like-new condition for the full asking price on day 1: $1149.
  • Don Mullaney sold his Canon 600mm f/4L IS II lens in mint condition for $9499, the full asking price, on February 1, 2016.
  • Gregg Hunt sold his 7D Mark II sold for $999, the full asking price, on January 31, 2016.
  • Mark Hodgson sold his Canon 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens in mint condition $7499 within days of listing at the end of January, 2016.
  • Mark Hodgson also sold his Canon 5D Mark III the Canon BG-E11 battery grip and two Canon batteries for $1899 in very late January, 2016.
  • And his mint Series III TC set to me for $558 before it was even listed.
  • Sash Dias sold his Nikon D4 body in excellent condition for $2399 the day after it was listed in late January, 2016.
  • Bill Fraser sold his 1D Mark IV body in excellent condition for $1299 at the end of January, 2016.
  • Multiple IPT veteran Brent Bridges sold his used Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in excellent condition for $4599 in late January, 2016.
  • Saul Pleeter sold his Sony Alpha a7R Mirrorless Digital Camera in near-new condition for $799 on the first day it was listed in late January 2016.
  • Mark Hodgson sold his Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens in very good plus condition for $599 within a day of listing in late January 2016.
  • Bill Condon sold his Canon 500mm f/4L IS USM lens in near-mint condition for $4199 on the first day it was listed in late January 2016.
  • Walt Thomas sold his used Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro lens in mint condition for $749 in late January.

There are still lots of great items listed. Again, you can see all of these great buys by clicking here.

New Listings

Canon EOS 1D-X Professional dSLR

Multiple IPT veteran Carl Zanoni is offering a used EOS 1D-X Professional dSLR in like-new condition for $3049. The sale includes an extra LP-E4N battery, the battery charger, the front cap, the original box, and insured shipping via major courier. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Carl via e-mail. or by phone at 860-306-9651 Eastern time zone.

Two 1D X bodies served me well as my workhorse dSLRs since their introduction in March 2012. I always appreciated their ruggedness, the great AF system, and the powerful battery that drove AF quickly even with the 2X III TC in place. artie

Canon EOS 1D-X Professional dSLR

Multiple IPT veteran Carl Zanoni is offering a second used EOS 1D-X Professional dSLR in like-new condition as above for $3099; this one also includes a Kirk BL-1DX L bracket in like-new condition. And, as above, an extra LP-E4N battery, the battery charger, the front cap, the original box, and insured shipping via major courier. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Carl via e-mail. or by phone at 860-306-9651 Eastern time zone.

Two 1D X bodies served me well as my workhorse dSLRs since their introduction in March 2012. I always appreciated their ruggedness, the great AF system, and the powerful battery that drove AF quickly even with the 2X III TC in place. artie

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens

Multiple IPT veteran Carl Zanoni is also offering a used Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens in near-mint condition (with one tiny chip on the finish) for the BAA record low price of $829; the glass is perfect. The sale includes the lens hood, the lens Cap E-67U, the lens Dust Cap E (Rear), the LP1424 lens case, the Canon Tripod Mount Ring C, the original packaging, and insured ground shipping via major courier. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Carl via e-mail. or by phone at 860-306-9651 Eastern time zone.

I used this lightweight intermediate telephoto lens in Norway for birds and for B-roll stuff. It is superbly sharp and extremely versatile. It would be a great buy either for a travel photographer or a beginning to intermediate bird photographer (who cannot at present afford the 100-400 II). artie

Series III Extenders (Teleconverters)

All three TCs sold in five minutes…

Multiple IPT veteran Carl Zanoni is also offering four (3) EF Series III Extenders (TCs or teleconverters) for $279 each. Each is in like-new condition. There are two (2) EF 1.4X III Extenders and one (1) EF 2X III Extender. The sale includes the soft pouches and the original boxes and the front and rear caps for each TC. Insured ground shipping via major courier is included and your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Carl via e-mail. or by phone at 860-306-9651 Eastern time zone.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links :)

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 for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod heads, Gitzo tripods, Wimberley heads and plates, LensCoats and accessories, and the like. 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 we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. I just learned that my account was suspended during my absence; it should be up and running by Monday at the latest.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above 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 visiting the BAA Online store as well.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!

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 :)

February 6th, 2016

A Two-Image Comparative Critique along with a tough exposure question and some 5DS R Image Quality

What’s Up?

Friday was a two-zillion e-mail day, a little bit busier in that regard than is usual. The air was quite chilly for my swim but the pool was only down one degree to 77 so I was fine until I got out.

I was pleased to learn that Steve Leimberg’s 1D X sold as predicted on Day 1 to Alan and Pat Lillich. The two couples had met on a back to back IPT to Holland, Tulips and birds in Texel.

I did not do any packing today… I leave for the airport hotel late on Saturday afternoon and begin the long journey to Japan on Sunday morning.


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B&H

B&H contributed generously as the primary SDNHM exhibition sponsor. Thank them (and me for the blog) by clicking on the logo link above to shop.


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This image was created at La Jolla, CA on the 2016 San Diego IPT with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (at 98mm) and the Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 100. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/8 sec. at f/13 in Tv mode. Color temperature 8,000K. I should have been about two stops brighter here as the RAW file was well under-exposed. I moved the Brightness slider to +1.66 and added a bit of extra noise reduction during the RAW conversion in DPP 4. See our DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide here to learn more.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF as framed on the center of the bright red triangle at the bottom, re-compose, and pan. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Beach at Sunset full frame

The Full Frame Image

The JPEG above was created from the full frame 144mb 8-bit file. As above, the RAW file was significantly under-exposed. To my eye, noise in the optimized 5DS R file was and is pretty much non-existent. I was experimenting with in-camera HDR pan blurs panning slowly from side to side for this frame. The frame above was one of the source images.

Exposure Question

So exactly how did Mr. Famous Bird Photographer wind up with an image that was nearly two stops underexposed?


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Image #2: Beach at Sunset panoramic crop

The Panoramic Crop

This image was created from the optimized TIFF. I cropped away 40% of the image, I was left with a quite respectable 86.5mb 8-bit file of extremely high quality.

The Big Question

Which is the more powerful image, the full frame or the pano? Be sure to let us know why.


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San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects. With annual visits spanning more than three decades I have lot of experience there….

2017 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) JAN 11 thru and including the morning session on JAN 15: 4 1/2 days: $1999.

(Limit: 10/openings 8)

Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins; Tuesday 1/10/17.

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 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 Heerman’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others 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 two IPT cards there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well.

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. 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.

Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter?


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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.

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.

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, 33855. 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 9/11//2016. 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.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links :)

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 for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod heads, Gitzo tripods, Wimberley heads and plates, LensCoats and accessories, and the like. 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 we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. I just learned that my account was suspended during my absence; it should be up and running by Monday at the latest.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above 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 visiting the BAA 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 :)