September 19th, 2014

The Canon EOS-7D Mark II: Wading Through the Morass & DPP 4.0 Camera Compatibility Issues and Info

The Streak Continues: 293

I am having a great time being at home and taking good care of myself. Eating just two meals a day, breakfast and lunches of protein and vegetables only, I have lost more than five pounds slowly. My left knee and my right shoulder are both improving a lot. I spent yesterday meditating and doing breathing exercises and taking a nice easy 2/3 mile swim. I enjoyed a short nap, a 44 minute ice bath, and answered another zillion e-mails. All that followed by another good night’s sleep. This blog post, the 293rd in a row, was published just after 7:30am from my home in Indian Lake Estates, FL.

As always, I would appreciate your using the BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases, using our Amazon logo-link for all of your household purchases, and visiting the BAA Online Store for your tripod, tripod head, LensCoat, miscellaneous, accessories, and eGuide purchases as well. Please remember, web orders only. :)

EOS-7D Mark II Thanks!

Thanks a stack to the 20 folks who pre-ordered their EOS 7D Mark II bodies (and lots of accessories) using a BAA affiliate link. If you missed all of yesterday’s excitement, click here. And best of luck to Geoffrey Cuff of the Cayman Islands with the Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM Lens that he ordered in similar fashion.

Convinced? Click on the logo-link immediately below to pre-order yours. This will be one hot-ticket item; the sooner you get your name on the pre-order list, the sooner you will have a 7D II in your hands.

Not convinced? Click here and be sure to see tomorrow’s blog post.

Selling Your Used Photo 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. Click here to see all the current listings.

Used Gear Cautions

Though I am not in a position to post images of gear for sale here or elsewhere, prospective buyers are encouraged to request for photos of the gear that they are interested in purchasing via e-mail. Doing so will help to avoid any misunderstandings as to the condition of the gear. Sellers are advised to take care to photograph their used gear with care against clean backgrounds so that the stuff is represented accurately and in the best light; please pardon the pun :).

New Listing: Canon 400mm EF f/5.6 L IS UMS Lens

Bob Bass is offering a used Canon 400mm EF f/5.6 L IS UMS in excellent condition for $999. The sale includes the original box, the tough fabric case, the front and rear lens caps, the instruction CD, and insured shipping via UPS Ground to US addresses only. Your new gear will be shipped only after your check clears unless other arrangements are made. You can contact Bob via e-mail or by phone at 781-275-5230 EST.

Original owner. The lens was purchased in 2012 and used infrequently. It was recently returned from Canon Professional Services where it received a clean and checked. Images of the lens are available upon request as are images made with the lens.

The 400 f/5.6, my old “toy lens” is an ideal flight or starter lens for younger folks with a steady hand. It will AF with a 1.4X TC with the new 7D II….

The Canon EOS-7D Mark II: Wading Through the Morass

If you type the words “Canon EOS-7D Mark II” into a Google search box it finds about 4,130,000 results in 1/3 of once second. And I have a very slow internet connection. I have spent the last three days reading each and every one of the more than four million articles and watching hundreds of 7D II videos. Actually not. But I have been doing lots of surfing, lots of reading, and watched more than a few videos from either trusted or interesting sources.

Below, each under a separate heading, I share just a fraction of what I have learned about this new camera.

Rudy Winston on the 7D II

Rudy Winston been with Canon USA’s Pro Products team for more than 17 years. He has been responsible for training Canon’s staff on new products, creating presentations for customers and dealers, numerous writing projects, and providing technical assistance to professional and amateur photographers including yours truly. Often. Currently, he’s a key figure in Canon’s Education department and contributes many on-line articles to Canon USA’s Digital Learning Center. Best of all he is a hell of a nice guy.

The 7D Mark II’s Intelligent Viewfinder

Rudy’s latest article is entitled “New Intelligent Viewfinder feature on EOS-7D Mark II.” You can read the whole thing here. I did, and here are my highlights.

Canon has packed a ton of potential info into the viewfinder via a clear, transmissive LCD overlay above the focusing screen. You can customize your 7D II so that it shows every feature–warning, it will be crowded in there. Or, you can customize it to show nothing. You choice. I was most excited to learn that you can turn on the new Viewfinder Electronic Level so that it is displayed in the camera’s viewfinder. It is in addition to and completely independent of the level display that can be programmed to appear on the large, rear LCD monitor. The one in the viewfinder is a dual-axis Electronic Level that shows any tilt (in 1-degree increments) from side-to-side, as well as up-and-down. It will be a dream feature for those like me who do lots of hand held scenic photography with wide angle or fish eye lenses.

You can opt to see a ton of shooting information across the bottom of the viewfinder if you choose. These are included, each with independent on/off control: Exposure Mode, White Balance, Drive, AF setting (One-Shot AF/AI Focus AF/AI Servo AF), Metering mode, Image quality (RAW or JPEG), and the Flicker! icon. And there are about a zillion options for displaying a great variety of AF info.

The Flicker icon? This is an amazing feature for those who photograph indoors or in other locations where unseen to the human eye, the lighting flicker or pulses thus causing mega-exposure problems for those who work in Manual exposure mode. Rudy explains the new Anti-Flicker technology in quite succinctly in a different article here.

Rudy sums up the 7D viewfinder article in part as follows:

There’s more extensive information in the EOS 7D Mark II viewfinder than any previous Canon EOS digital SLR but, again, the cool thing is you can display as much or as little as you like. With as sophisticated an AF system as this camera has, it understandably gives numerous options for how AF points (and even AF Operation Settings, One-Shot AF, AI Focus AF, and AI Servo AF) are displayed in the viewfinder. The viewfinder is the nerve center of any SLR camera and the EOS 7D Mark II provides options that make it almost like a heads-up display in a plane or automobile, figuratively speaking.

Tidbits and Gems from the Manufacturer’s Hype

In-camera lens aberration corrections

To help photographers with achieving high quality images, the EOS 7D Mark II corrects image distortions like peripheral illumination, chromatic aberration and distortion, in-camera, as the image is recorded. When shooting in Live View mode, the results of distortion can even be monitored in real time through the EOS 7D Mark II’s Image Simulation Function.

As far as I can figure, this feature will simplify the RAW conversions by eliminating a somewhat time-consuming step.

Speed and Accuracy with Intelligent Subject Recognition and Analysis.

The EOS-7D Mark II has an amazing iSA Intelligent Subject Analysis system that employs an independent RGB light sensor with approximately 150,000-pixel resolution. This sensor enables Canon’s intelligent Tracking and Recognition system (iTR AF) that detects and tracks subjects, automatically switching the AF point to optimize tracking. With new tracking algorithms tailored to recognize faces and colors, this system serves as a brilliant foundation to the EOS 7D Mark II’s AF system.

This sounds as if it might be great for photographing birds in flight or in action. The big questions are, truth or fiction? Fact or hype? The proof will eventually be in the pudding.

Specialty Controls, Built Right In

An EOS first, the EOS 7D Mark II offers time-lapse fixed-point shooting and long exposures without the need for a remote control. The EOS 7D Mark II’s interval timer takes from 1 to 99 shots at preselected intervals, ideal for shooting flowers as they bloom or clouds drifting through the sky. Its built-in bulb timer keeps the shutter open for a designated amount of time, perfect for night photography.

These two will be perfect for lazy folks like me….When the massive clouds are rolling by, it will be time lapse time. And there will be no more excuses for when it comes to trying my hand at night sky photography.

Full HD recording at 60p in MOV and MP4 Formats

Stunning full HD video with custom Movie Servo AF and multiple frame rates. While offering performance improvements across the board for still photography, the EOS 7D Mark II is also an incredibly capable HD movie camera. Taking advantage of its Dual Pixel CMOS AF capabilities, the EOS 7D Mark II has customizable Movie Servo AF options: not only can AF location be defined, AF speed and tracking intervals can be specified too, for fluid, smooth focus transitions. The EOS 7D Mark II delivers refined and detailed image quality with Full HD 60p recording at ISO values up to 16000, has an HDMI output and records to both SD and CF cards for versatility and security during important shoots.

Yours truly know zip about video so I will leave reviews of the 7D II’s video capabilities to others. You can see a 3 minute, 50 second sample video here. “Cello”is the second of the five videos. It was created at ISO 3200 in a great variety of lighting conditions using a great variety of Canon EF lenses.

Achieve Impressive AF During Video Capture

The EOS 7D Mark II features Canon’s revolutionary Dual Pixel CMOS AF, a milestone in AF speed and accuracy that unlocks the potential of Live View shooting. This advanced technology has truly changed what is possible with a DSLR camera. Dual Pixel CMOS AF involves a sophisticated rethinking of the CMOS sensor. Traditionally, image sensors have one photodiode per pixel for recording, but the CMOS sensor on the EOS 7D Mark II has two photodiodes per pixel, 40 million in total, enabling each pixel on the sensor to both perform phase-difference detection autofocus and capture light. With phase-difference detection AF, autofocus is achieved quickly and easily on the camera. This unique AF system enables autofocus on approximately 80% of the image plane, vertically and horizontally, and helps ensure virtually no loss in image quality.

The benefits of Dual Pixel CMOS AF are clearly evident in Live View and video shooting, where the EOS 7D Mark II achieves natural, precise focus very quickly, even when switching between subjects. And, combined with the predictive power of Movie Servo AF, subjects in motion are smoothly and consistently tracked – once focus is locked, the EOS 7D Mark II holds on! Plus, with the shallow depth-of-field afforded by EOS optics, video gains a brilliant, cinematic ambience lacking when shooting video with many other Digital SLRs.

Though I do not understand everything above, it seems pretty clear that the 7D II will offer AI servo AF with video…. That will surely tempt me. And it seems pretty clear as well that the new technology promises great improvement in the autofocus system when shooting stills of birds in flight or birds or animals in action. Again, we need to see how promised theoretical improvements pan out against reality.

More Great Stuff or Hollow Promises?

You can learn more about the features of the 7D IIby clicking here. In addition to those above these include the new 20.2 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor that promise gorgeous images, ten frames per second, a new mirror vibration control system, and brilliant, speedy AF tracking.

My Conclusions

I will sum things up here with two of my responses to questions left as comments on the blog.

The first was asked by Sandra Corless who wrote:

It would be very helpful Artie to know if the new features offered in the way of auto-focus require the use of the newer Canon telephoto lenses or if it will work just as well on some of the older lenses and converters.

Here is my response:

I am sure that the 7D II will focus better than the 7D on any lens. I am sure that the 7D II will AF just fine with the older EF lenses. And I am sure that it will AF faster and more accurately with the Series II super-telephotos than with the older lenses. Not because of anything to do with the camera, simply because the Series II lenses feature better AF than the older lenses.

To be sure that I was not stepping out of bounds with the statement above, I ran it by Chuck Westfall. He responded by e-mail: “Looks good to me.”

Next was a question asked by David Policansky who was kind enough to pre-order his 7D II and accessories using a BAA B&H affiliate link:

Do you plan to get a 7DII?

I answered:

Since I can say for sure that I am getting older every day I can say for sure that I would welcome a light weight 1.6X crop factor camera with very good to excellent image quality and very good high ISO performance. The crop factor would allow me to work with shorter, lighter lenses….

As I have been saying all along, the proof will be in the pudding. artie

Right now there are two chances that I might get my hands on a 7D II some time in mid- to late October or early November. If I do, and if I am permitted to share the images before the camera begins shipping, I will do so.

The two biggest promised and potential 7D II improvements for bird, wildlife, and nature photographers have to do with the all new AF system and with image quality. To get a handle on those, we need to have a 7D II in our hands in the field….


dpp-4-1d-iv-image

DPP 4.0 screen capture

DPP 4.0 Camera Compatibility Issues and Info

Thanks to Jim Simon who asked in a blog comment:

I have the Canon 1D Mk IV and the updater on the Canon site only shows the latest update as DPP 3.14.15. There is no explanation about why I should not update to DPP 4. Does anyone know whether the camera is just an orphan now or if there is a reason that DDP 4 should not be used for files from the Mk IV?

I wrote in response:

DPP 4.0 currently supports images from the following camera bodies: 1D X, 5D III, and 6D. Images from all other Canon digital cameras bodies including the EOS-1D Mark IV need to rely on DPP V 3 point whatever is the latest version.

It is not that DPP 4 shouldn’t be used for 1D IV images. It cannot be used to convert them. You need a serial # for a 1D X, 5D III, or a 6D to download DPP 4.0, but even if a friend gives you a valid serial number a 1D IV image will show in DPP 4.0 with a symbol that leaves no doubt that the image is incompatible: a pencil (indicating “edit”) and a circle with a diagonal line through it (indicating “sorry, Jack.”) I will try to remember to include a screen capture in tomorrow’s blog post. In addition I have the current news on DPP 4.0 and the 7D II.

Well, obviously I did remember :). In the screen capture above you can see the symbol that indicates that DPP 4.0 is not compatible with a given camera.

Here is some disappointing news: right now indications from Japan are that DPP 4.0 will not support 7D Mark II images…. I for one am hoping that this will change at some point, the sooner the better.

September 18th, 2014

Canon EOS-7D Mark II AF at f/8 & Mode Dial Info/ DPP 4.0 Before and After Magic

The Streak Continues: 292

I am almost finished with the first edit of the DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion eGuide that I am doing with Arash Hazeghi. We spoke on the phone yesterday for a bit so I have some re-writing to do today. We will spend an hour or two on the phone on Saturday morning; I should be sending Arash the MS Word file that afternoon. The price of this extensive guide will be $40. The PDF will be sent via e-mail or via Hightail.

The rest of my day was made up of meditating and breathing exercises, a nice easy swim, healthy eating, a short nap, a 44 minute ice bath, and answering about a zillion e-mails. All that followed by another good night’s sleep.This blog post, the 292nd in a row, was published at about 6:45am from my home in Indian Lake Estates, FL.

As always, I would appreciate your using the BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases, using our Amazon logo-link for all of your household purchases, and visiting the BAA Online Store for your tripod, tripod head, LensCoat, miscellaneous, accessories, and eGuide purchases as well. Please remember, web orders only. :)

EOS-7D Mark II Thanks!

Thanks a stack to the 18 folks who pre-ordered their EOS 7D Mark II bodies (and lots of accessories) using a BAA affiliate link. If you missed all of yesterday’s excitement, click here. And best of luck to Geoffrey Cuff of the Cayman Islands with the Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM Lens that he ordered in similar fashion.

Convinced? Click on the logo-link immediately below to pre-order yours. This will be one hot-ticket item; the sooner you get your name on the pre-order list, the sooner you will have a 7D II in your hands.

Not convinced? Click here and be sure to see tomorrow’s blog post.

Canon EOS-7D Mark II AF at f/8 Info

Though it seemed likely from the 7D II info on several websites that the new camera would focus to f/8, it was great to have that confirmed via e-mail by Canon USA’s top tech guru, Chuck Westfall, Advisor, Technical Information, ITCG Prof Bus Strategy Plan Division, Canon U.S.A., Inc.

He wrote:

The 7D Mark II is the same as 1D X re: autofocus at f/8. Central point is fully supported for cross-type focusing, and focusing point expansion around the central point is also supported.

My Comments on the 7D II AF

I responded to a 7D AF question as follows:

I am sure that the 7D II will focus better than the 7D on any lens. I am sure that the 7D II will AF just fine with the older EF lenses. And I am sure that it will AF faster and more accurately with the Series II super-telephotos than with the older lenses. Not because of anything to do with the camera, simply because the Series II lenses feature better AF than the older lenses.

To be sure that I was not stepping out of bounds with the statement above, I ran it by Chuck Westfall. He responded by e-mail: “Looks good to me.

EOS-7D Mark II Mode Dial Info

Here is another 7D II plus,adapted from a Ken Shelton e-mail:

A Mode dial that can be locked is now standard; you have to push the center lock button to be able to rotate the dial. As the original 7D came out of the box, it was easy to inadvertently rotate the Mode dial. Fixing the problem was a $125 factory add-on. This change is important to me.

Ken surely got is money’s worth with his original EOS-7D; the shutter failed 638,444 actuations!


q8r3650-fort-desoto-park-st-petersburg-fl

This image was created at Fort DeSoto Park on the cloudy afternoon of September 14, 2012 at 6:37pm with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X). ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop as framed: 1/1250 sec. at f/8. Should have been +2 2/3 stops….

Central sensor/AI Servo/Surround Rear Focus AF on the front center of the curve of he neck as framed above was active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version. This is the full frame original (well under-exposed) image capture.

Great Blue Heron with Small Pipefish

Sometimes we simply screw up the exposure. It happens to me on occasion when I am in too much of a hurry. When we do, dealing with the noise caused by underexposure has always been a problem. As you can see by taking a close look at the optimized image below, DPP 4.0 does a great job with handling the noise caused by underexposures, even relatively severe underexposures. Arash spent many days and countless hours coming up with his suggested values for both luminance and chrominance noise reduction. The two charts in the new eGuide–coming fairly soon, include his recommended values for the 5D Mark III/6D and for the 1D X for each ISO from 400 to 6400. In every case that I have encountered Arash’s values out-performed the values that were automatically suggested by DPP 4.0 in terms of reducing noise while maintaining fine feather detail.


great-blue-heron-with-small-pipefish_q8r3650-fort-desoto-park-st-petersburg-fl

This is the optimized image that was created from the underexposed original image that opened this blog post.

DPP 4.0 Before and After Magic

After opening this image in DPP 4.0 the first thing that I did was move the Brightness slider one full stop to the right to 1.00. Then I moved the Shadow slider to the right to +2.2 to bring up the darker tones a bit more. Then I increased both the Contrast and the Saturation one click to 1.0. Next, on the Adjust image detail tab, I applied Arash’s brilliant noise reduction values for the 1D X at ISO 800 as described above. In the new guide we teach you how to easily compare before and after magnified views. Unfortunately the Lens data for the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens is not and never has been available for any version of DPP. As a result, I had to deal with the vignetting in Photoshop after the RAW file was converted. I used both the Crop Tool and the Clone Stamp Tool (that latter at 80%). That was followed by a bit of water surface clean-up, NIK 50-50 on the face and neck, dust spotting, and selective sharpening of the face and neck via a Contrast Mask. Then I saved my master file, duplicated the image for safety, cropped the copy to 1200 pixels wide, sharpened it, and used Save for Web optimized to < 395kb for both the blog and for posting on BPN. Done deal.

The DPP RAW Conversion Guide

To learn why I use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) to convert every image that I work on, click here. Coming soon: The DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris. The more that I use DPP 4.0 for my RAW conversions the more I am impressed with it. Today, I will be finishing up my edit of our new DPP RAW Conversion eGuide. Note: at present, DPP 4.0 supports only 1D X, 5D Mark III, and 6D images.

Digital Basics

Everything that I did to optimize today’s image is covered in detail in my Digital Basics File–written in my easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand style. Are you tired of making your images look worse in Photoshop? Digital Basics File is an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, details on using all of my killer image clean-up tools, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro basics, Digital Eye Doctor, Tim Grey Dodge and Burn, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.


desoto-fall-card-b

Fort DeSoto in fall is rich with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or early October. I hope that you can join me there this October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

First-ever BIRDS AS ART In-the-Field/Meetup Workshop Session (ITF/MWS): $50

Join me on the afternoon of October 10, 2014 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive afternoon workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tours. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal registration fee. Your registration fee is non-refundable. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place at least two weeks before the event.


desoto-fall-card-a-layers

Obviously folks attending the IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are relatively short in October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Fort DeSoto Fall IPT/October 11-13, 2014. 3 FULL DAYs: $1099. Limit 8/Openings 5.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds in fall. There they join hundreds of egrets, herons, night-herons, gulls, and terns who winter on the T-shaped peninsula that serves as their wintering grounds. With any luck, we should get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher likely. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Tricolored Heron are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. And Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork would not be unexpected.

Folks who sign up for the IPT are welcome to join us on the ITF/MWS on Friday afternoon as my guest. See above for details on that.

On the IPT you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

At lunch (included) we will review my images–folks learn a ton watching me edit–why keep this one and delete that one. If you opt to bring your laptop, we will take a look at five of your best images from the morning session. We will process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time.

If you decide to register and are traveling to attend this IPT, please make your reservations at the Beachcomber Beach Resort, 6200 Gulf Blvd, St. Petersburg (St. Pete Beach), FL 33706 (727-367-1902) as soon as possible as rooms for the weekend days are scarce: ARR: 10 OCT/DEP 14 OCT. I stayed there on my last DeSoto visit and was quite happy with it. Lodging is tough in Florida at this season…. The best airport is Tampa (TPA). It is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel so if you are interested it would be a good idea to register now and make your hotel reservations as well. We can, however, coordinate easily with local folks who opt to stay at home either by cell phone or e-mail.

Because of the relatively late date, payment is full is due upon registration either by check or credit card. If the former, please e-mail us immediately so that we can save you a spot. If the latter, please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand to register . Your registration fee is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with eight so please check your plans carefully before committing. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, gear advice, and first morning meeting place about one month before this IPT.


fort-desoto-card

BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT.

Fort DeSoto Site Guide

Can’t make the IPT? Get yourself a copy of the Fort DeSoto Site Guide. Learn the best spots, where to be when in what season in what weather. Learn the best wind directions for the various locations. BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. You can see all of them here.

Facebook

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

Support the BAA Blog. Support the BAA Bulletins: Shop B&H here!

We want and need to keep providing you with the latest free information, photography and Photoshop lessons, and all manner of related information. Show your appreciation by making your purchases immediately after clicking on any of our B&H or Amazon Affiliate links in this blog post. Remember, B&H ain’t just photography!

…..

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use this link:

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, ay, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here. Many thanks to those who have written.

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. :)

September 17th, 2014

Difficult Questions

EOS-7D Mark II Thanks!

Thanks a stack to the 15 folks who pre-ordered their EOS 7D Mark II bodies (and lots of accessories) using a BAA affiliate link. If you missed all of yesterday’s excitement, click here. And best of luck to Geoffrey Cuff of the Cayman Islands with the Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM Lens that he ordered in similar fashion.

Convinced? Click on the logo-link immediately below to pre-order yours. This will be one hot-ticket item; the sooner you get your name on the pre-order list, the sooner you will have a 7D II in your hands.

The Streak Continues: 291

I spent a great deal of time on Tuesday doing additional research on the new EOS-7D Mark II. I will share what I have learned with you here soon. The rest of the day was made up of meditating, a nice easy swim, healthy eating, a short nap, a 44 minute ice bath, and answering about a zillion e-mails. All that followed by a rare-for-me 8 full hours of sleep. I will be hard working on editing the first draft of the DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion eGuide that I am doing with Arash Hazeghi. I am getting very close…. This blog post, the 291st in a row, was published at about 6:30am from my home in Indian Lake Estates, FL.

As always, I would appreciate your using the BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases, using our Amazon logo-link for all of your household purchases, and visiting the BAA Online Store for your tripod, tripod head, LensCoat, miscellaneous, accessories, and eGuide purchases as well. Please remember, web orders only. :)


marbled-godwit-preening-2-willets-slepping-_q8r4800-fort-desoto-park-st-petersburg-fl

This image was created on the morning of September 16, 2012 at Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL, southwest of St. Petersburg, FL. I used the hand held Canon 500mm f/4L EF IS II lens, the Canon 1.4x EF tele-extender III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 2/3 stops off the light grey sky: 1/1600 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor Surround/AI Servo Rear Focus AF on the gowit’s face and recompose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Be sure to click on the image for a larger version.

Difficult Questions

Though I did not process this image until just before my ice bath on Tuesday evening, I have always liked it. I especially like the soft light. I like how the brown tones of the godwit pick up the brown tones in the distant background. And y’all know that I love shorebirds, especially Marbled Godwits. When I saw one just after sunrise on the South Flats of the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens, NY probably 36 years ago, I had no idea that that experience would change the remainder of my adult life. But it did just that.

I was lying flat down in wet sand when I created this image. A bit later the sun was coming in and out and I had a great time photographing the flying Sandwich, Royal, and Caspian Terns that were landing right in front of me. You gotta love winds with an easterly component in the morning.

#1: Should I have tried to get higher by sitting up? y standing up? Why or why not?

#2: What do you think of the placement of the three birds in the frame? Would you have done anything differently as far as the image design is concerned?

#3: Why is it OK to use rear focus and recompose (which is effectively one-shot AF) when you are lying down but not OK to use rear focus and recompose (effectively one-shot AF) when you are sitting or standing? (In those cases you are much better off using AI Servo AF and keeping it active at the moment of exposure.) Why? What difference does it make if you are lying down as opposed to sitting or standing?


desoto-fall-card-b

Fort DeSoto in fall is rich with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or early October. I hope that you can join me there this October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

First-ever BIRDS AS ART In-the-Field/Meetup Workshop Session (ITF/MWS): $50

Join me on the afternoon of October 10, 2014 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive afternoon workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tours. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal registration fee. Your registration fee is non-refundable. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place at least two weeks before the event.


desoto-fall-card-a-layers

Obviously folks attending the IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are relatively short in October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Fort DeSoto Fall IPT/October 11-13, 2014. 3 FULL DAYs: $1099. Limit 8.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds in fall. There they join hundreds of egrets, herons, night-herons, gulls, and terns who winter on the T-shaped peninsula that serves as their wintering grounds. With any luck, we should get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher likely. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Tricolored Heron are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. And Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork would not be unexpected.

Folks who sign up for the IPT are welcome to join us on the ITF/MWS on Friday afternoon as my guest. See above for details on that.

On the IPT you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

At lunch (included) we will review my images–folks learn a ton watching me edit–why keep this one and delete that one. If you opt to bring your laptop, we will take a look at five of your best images from the morning session. We will process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time.

If you decide to register and are traveling to attend this IPT, please make your reservations at the Beachcomber Beach Resort, 6200 Gulf Blvd, St. Petersburg (St. Pete Beach), FL 33706 (727-367-1902) as soon as possible as rooms for the weekend days are scarce: ARR: 10 OCT/DEP 14 OCT. I stayed there on my last DeSoto visit and was quite happy with it. Lodging is tough in Florida at this season…. The best airport is Tampa (TPA). It is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel so if you are interested it would be a good idea to register now and make your hotel reservations as well. We can, however, coordinate easily with local folks who opt to stay at home either by cell phone or e-mail.

Because of the relatively late date, payment is full is due upon registration either by check or credit card. If the former, please e-mail us immediately so that we can save you a spot. If the latter, please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand to register . Your registration fee is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with eight so please check your plans carefully before committing. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, gear advice, and first morning meeting place about one month before this IPT.


fort-desoto-card

BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT.

Fort DeSoto Site Guide

Can’t make the IPT? Get yourself a copy of the Fort DeSoto Site Guide. Learn the best spots, where to be when in what season in what weather. Learn the best wind directions for the various locations. BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. You can see all of them here.

Facebook

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

Support the BAA Blog. Support the BAA Bulletins: Shop B&H here!

We want and need to keep providing you with the latest free information, photography and Photoshop lessons, and all manner of related information. Show your appreciation by making your purchases immediately after clicking on any of our B&H or Amazon Affiliate links in this blog post. Remember, B&H ain’t just photography!

…..

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use this link:

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, ay, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here. Many thanks to those who have written.

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. :)