October 21st, 2014

Alone at DeSoto with the Beta Canon EOS-7D Mark II

The Streak Continues: 325

Yesterday was a full day of photography for me alone at Fort DeSoto with lots of image processing during my midday break. And answering a few e-mails. But I am still miles behind. This blog post, the 325th in a row, took me about 2 1/2 hours to prepare including the time spent on the four image optimizations. It was published at about 5:15am from my motel room in St. Pete Beach. I am meeting repeat client Bill Eaton at DeSoto early this morning. And then drive back to ILE.

To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we ask that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. B&H Is recommended for you major photography gear purchases, Amazon for your household, entertainment, and general purpose stuff. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, 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.


brown-pelican-squadron-at-sunrise-_36a1537-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This image was created pre-dawn on the clear morning of October 20, 2014 at Fort DeSoto Park. I used the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, with the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 500 (via ISO Safety Shift). Evaluative metering +1 stop as framed: 1/15 sec. at f/4 in Tv mode. Color temperature: 8000K.

Central Zone AF/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF activated two sensors in near the lower right of the grid that were 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.

Image #1: Brown Pelican squadron on dawn patrol

Dealing With So-so Sunrise or Sunset Colors

With somewhat blah sky colors it can be fun to raise the Color Temperature. I did that with the image above by setting it to 8000 Kelvin. Anywhere from 7500 and up can work well. I used my standard blur set-up: 1/15 sec at +1 stop of exposure compensation. And yes, you can do the same thing in post processing but it is more fun to do it in the field and there are supposed to be some advantages of doing it at the time of capture.

I did remove a single bird that merged with two others; I used a series of Quick Masks that were refined by adding Regular Layer Masks.


great-blue-heron-with-long-skinny-fish-_36a1675-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This image was created in the shade of a big stand of trees on the clear morning of October 20, 2014 at Fort DeSoto Park. I used the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 640 (via ISO Safety Shift). Evaluative metering +2 stops as framed: 1/1000 sec. at f/2.8 in Tv mode. AWB.

Central Sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF on the bend of the bird’s upper neck 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.

Image #2: High Key Great Blue Heron with fish–possibly a needlefish

Well…

Well, at least the fish angle is perfect. I tried my best but could just not get ahead of the bird but it kept angling ahead of me….


sandwich-tern-with-baitfish-_36a1927-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This image was created on the clear morning of October 20, 2014 at Fort DeSoto Park. Again I used the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop off the sky: 1/6400 sec. at f/5 in Manual mode. AWB.

Central Sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF barely caught the top of the tern’s head as originally framed and 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.

Image #3: Sandwich Tern with greenback

The Situation

The tide was coming in at the spit. I had been trying for flight with the 300 II/1.4X III/7D II combo for a while without much success. To change things up I took off the TC and got closer. Then I got lucky.


green-heron-juvenal-plumage-_36a2010-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This image was created on the clear morning of October 20, 2014 at Fort DeSoto Park. Again I used the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, with the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/1600 sec. at f/8 in Av mode. AWB.

Upper Central Zone/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF selected four sensors, the one just above the central sensor and the three directly above that one. This array nailed the eye and the face and 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.

Image #4: Juvenile Green Heron

Atypical…

When a Green Heron flew by the spit and disappeared to the east I said to a new acquaintance, “Good luck photographing that species here. I am not ever sure that I have seen one in the park before.” In a few minutes I took a walk down the beach and was amazed to see the bird in the Gulf. As I approached, the bird flew but it went only a short distance and landed on tree stump with the top sawed off. In other words, not very attractive. I added the 2X III TC to the mix to eliminate the stump and got as close as possible. I am starting to figure out when and how to use the new wider Zone AF.

Which is the best image?

Please take a moment to leave a comment and let us now which is your favorite and why you like it.


san-diego-ipt-card-layers

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….

2015 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT): FEB 1 thru the morning of FEB 5, 2015: $1799 (Limit: 8/Openings: 3)

Meet and Greet after dinner on your own at 7:00pm on JAN 31

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red bill pouches; Brandt’s and Double-crested Cormorants in breeding plumage with their amazing crests; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Duck; other 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 likely; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice landscape opportunities as well.

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

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, four 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo sessions, five lunches, after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions, and two fine dinners. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility.

A $499 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to use 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 12/1//2014. If the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. 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. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance. 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.


san-diego-card-b

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.

San Diego Natural History Museum Program & The Birds of the World Exhibit

On Saturday morning, February 7, 2015 I will be presenting “A Bird Photographer’s Story” at the San Diego Natural History Museum to kick off the Birds of the World photographic exhibit that will feature the images of about a dozen of the world’s top avian photographers. This program,which is being generously sponsored by the Canon Explorers of Light program, will be free and open to the public. I am proud to say that both Denise Ippolito and I will have images hanging in the show. The exhibit opening is scheduled for later that same day, February 7, 2015. (Times TBA).

Folks on the IPT who wish to stay over and attend the program and the exhibit opening on Saturday are invited to join me for a photo session on Friday morning as follows:

Friday Morning Add-on Photo Session: February 6, 2015: $299.

This workshop includes 3 hours of in-the-field pelican photography instruction and brunch with image review and Photoshop instruction. For now, this session is open only to folks attending the IPT.

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…..

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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 or errors. Just be right :).

October 20th, 2014

Canon EOS-7D Mark II/An In-depth Look at ISO 1600

The Streak Continues: 324

Yesterday was more work, more swim, an ice bath, and NFL on the tube. Arash should be just about finishing the final PDF of the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide as I type on Sunday evening. We should have it for sale this coming week. This blog post, the 324th in a row–that’s a lot, no?, took me about 3 1/2 hours to prepare including the time for image optimizations. I completed it at 6:00pm on Sunday night and am publishing it from my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL, early on Monday–2:59 am to be exact. Next I finish packing the car and head over to Fort DeSoto for a short busman’s holiday.

To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we ask that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. B&H Is recommended for you major photography gear purchases, Amazon for your household, entertainment, and general purpose stuff. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, 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.

Super Short Notice Fort DeSoto In-the Field Tuesday Morning Offering

DeSoto has been great. I know where the birds and where and when the best opps are. I will be driving over to DeSoto very early on Monday morning. I will be photographing on Monday morning, Monday afternoon, and Tuesday morning and then heading back to ILE.

If you would like to join me and learn a ton, here are your remaining options:

Monday afternoon only, one 3+ hour photo session: $125.
Tuesday morning, one 3+ hour photo session: $150.

Both are quite a bargain. The limit is 6. I have one for Tuesday morning. If you would like to join me please call Jim or Jen at the office on Monday morning at 863-692-0906 to register. In addition, please shoot me an e-mail, and include a call back number. I hope that you can join me. If you are desperate at the last minute try my cell at 863-221-2372 and leave a message if I do not pick up.


american-oystercatcher-head-and-hood-7d-ii-iso-1600-_36a8884-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This American Oystercatcher image was created at 7:01pm on October 11 on DAY 1 of the recently concluded Fort DeSoto IPT with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 1600. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/60 sec. at f/10 in AV mode. AWB.

Central sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s eye and recompose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

This JPEG represents the optimized image.

A Note on the Three Image Optimizations

All of today’s images were converted in DPP v.3.14.41.0 using the recommended settings for both Chrominance and Luminance noise reduction. Looking at the noise in the large crops makes it hard to believe that the optimized images look so darned good. I am very proud of how I handled the BLACKs on the oystercatcher, the pink of godwit’s bill, and the cranes RED crown. All is detailed in Digital Basics. See below for info on DB.

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. The current guide will teach you how to best convert all of your Canon images in all 3 point something versions of Canon Digital Photo Professional including the current v.3.14.41.0.

Coming next week: The DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris. The more that I use DPP 4.0 for my 1D X and 5D III RAW conversions the more I learn about it. And the more I learn about it the more I am impressed with it. Note: at present, DPP 4.0 will work only with 1D X, 5D III, and 6D images. I am hoping against hope that at some point Canon will release a new version of DPP 4 that will support 7D II images.

Digital Basics

Everything that I did to optimize today’s images 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 (including Surface Blur settings), details on using all of my 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, using Surface and Gaussian Blurs, Tim Grey Dodge and Burn, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.

APTATS I & II

Learn the details of advanced Quick Masking techniques in APTATS I. Learn Advanced Layer Masking Techniques in APTATS II. Mention this blog post and apply a $5 discount to either with phone orders only. Buy both APTATS I and APTATS II and we will be glad to apply at $15 discount with phone orders only. Please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 weekdays to order.



Use the BAA Affiliate logo link above to pre-order your 7D II, shoot me your receipt via e-mail,
and I will do my very best to have your order expedited once the camera begins shipping.


american-oystercatcher-7d-ii-iso-1600-100-pct-_36a8884-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This unsharpened JPEG represents a 100% crop of the TIFF created by converting the RAW file in DPP v3.14.41.

The 100% AMOY Crop

Everything looks pretty good here but for some Chrominance noise in the BLACKs DPP 4 does well with color noise; in DPP 3 point whatever it is terrible–it destroys fine detail. If you are familiar with viewing your images at 100%, please feel free to let us know what you think of the noise and the image quality here at ISO 1600.


american-oyster-200-pct-_36a8884-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This unsharpened JPEG represents a 200% crop of the TIFF created by converting the RAW file in DPP v3.14.41.

The 200% AMOY Crop

With the relatively huge crop here we are seeing some degradation of feather detail but all in all, not too bad. Do take a look at the optimized image above. If you are familiar with viewing your images at 200%, please feel free to let us know what you think of the noise and the image quality here at ISO 1600.


marbled-godwit-tight-portrait-7d-ii-iso-1600-_36a8868-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This Marbled Godwit image was created at 6:53pm on October 11 on DAY 1 of the recently concluded Fort DeSoto IPT with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/9 in AV mode. AWB.

Central sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the middle of the bird’s bill as framed 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 JPEG represents the optimized image.

Marbled Godwit

When I saw a young Marbled Godwit on the South Flats of the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge some 37 or 38 years ago I had no idea that the experience would change the course of the remainder of my adult life. But it did just that in many ways. All for the good.


marbled-godwit-100-pct-crop-_36a8868-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This unsharpened JPEG represents a 100% crop of the TIFF created by converting the RAW file in DPP v3.14.41.

The 100% MAGO Crop

Everything here looks great with some nice feather detail and a nice sharp eye. If you are familiar with viewing your images at 100%, please feel free to let us know what you think of the noise and the image quality here at ISO 1600.


marbled-godwit-200-_36a8868-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This unsharpened JPEG represents a 200% crop of the TIFF created by converting the RAW file in DPP v3.14.41.

The 200% MAGO Crop

With the relatively huge crop here we are seeing significant Luminance noise on the bill and in the background. But as others have noted the noise seems relatively smooth, much less harsh than with images from previous camera bodies. With all three images here a dose of Filter > Blur > Surface Blur applied to the backgrounds only does wonders. If you are familiar with viewing your images at 200%, please feel free to let us know what you think of the noise and the image quality here at ISO 1600.


sandhill-crane-optimized-7d-ii-iso-1600-layers-_36a1327-indian-lake-estates-fl

This image was created at 7:49am on the morning of 19 October down by the lake near my home. Working from my vehicle I used the BLUBB-supported/hand held Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (hand held with the internal extender in place at 436mm) and a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/800 sec. at f/5.6 in Av mode was a full half stop too dark.

65-point Automatic Selection Rear Focus/AI Servo AF selected two sensors in the upper right corner of the array. They were 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.

65-point Automatic Selection with iTR Face Detection

Here again we see how well the 65-point Automatic Selection AF Area Selection Mode works in conjunction with iTR Face Detection. I was somewhat remiss in the blog post here by not mentioning that iTR (( Intelligent Tracking and Recognition) ain’t just for faces. That it can detect shapes and colors and patterns and not just eyes and skin tones makes it relevant for bird and wildlife photography. After it detects what it detects it tells the AF system not to wander thus producing images like the one above that are sharp where you want them to be sharp. Is it perfect? No. But it is significantly improved from the iTR in the 1D X.


sandhill-crane-100-pct-crop-iso-1600-_36a1327-indian-lake-estates-fl

This unsharpened JPEG represents a 100% crop of the TIFF created by converting the RAW file in DPP v3.14.41.

The 100% SACR Crop

REDs are tough as they often come out of the camera either a bit over-saturated or a bit funky. They require special handling. DPP 4 has an HSL (Hue/Saturation/Luminance)tab that will make things easier. Everything else looks pretty good for ISO 1600. I will share my tips for handing the REDs when we take a close look at the image optimization here in a day or two. If you are familiar with viewing your images at 100%, please feel free to let us know what you think of the noise and the image quality here at ISO 1600.


sandhill-crane-200-pct-crop-iso-1600-_36a1327-indian-lake-estates-fl

This unsharpened JPEG represents a 200% crop of the TIFF created by converting the RAW file in DPP v3.14.41.

The 200% Crop

With the relatively huge crop here the feather detail here is at least decent. We are seeing significant noise in the background. A nice a dose of Filter > Blur > Surface Blur applied to the background only as detailed in my Digital Basics File rendered the BKGR here smooth as a the proverbial baby’s tush. If you are familiar with viewing your images at 200%, please feel free to let us know what you think of the noise and the image quality here at ISO 1600.

The Image Optimization

We will take a close look at the before and after versions of this image in a blog post here in a day or three. Yes, all ISO 1600 images are going to exhibit some significant noise. But dealing with that noise is not rocket science.

“Love Affair with Bosque.” Sponsored by Canon USA/Explorers of Light. Friday, NOV 21, 2014; 1:00 to 2:40pm. Free, at the Bodega Restaurant, Socorro.

A slide program by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Limit 200. Please see the important registration information below.

Arthur Morris first visited Bosque del Apache Refuge in December, 1992 while on sabbatical with his late-wife Elaine While leading his first Bosque del Apache photographic workshop in December, 1994, quite soon after Elaine’s death, he created two iconic Bosque images. His “Blizzard in Blue” was honored in the prestigious 1998 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. “Fire in the Mist” was similarly honored in the 2001 BBC competition and soon thereafter was featured as wrap-around cover art on the coffee table book, Life on the Earth, a celebration of 30 years of the best images from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competitions. Those two images laid the foundation for his more than two decade love affair with the refuge. He has returned every year since then at the Thanksgiving season while leading BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours. In addition, he has two February visits along with two September visits, the latter visits in conjunction with the Bosque del Apache Open Windows Volunteer Program that he founded. Join us for Artie’s photographic celebration of his “Love Affair with Bosque.”

Even though this is free event, you need to click here to register.


bosque-2014-ipt-card

Join Denise Ippolito and me for four great days of photography and learning at one of our soul places. Please click on the card to enjoy a larger version.

Bosque del Apache 2014 BIRDS AS ART/A Creative Adventure Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT). NOV 29 (afternoon photo session)-DEC 3 (morning session), 2014. Totaling 4 FULL-DAYS: $1449. Leaders: Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito. Introductory Slide program: 7:00pm on Saturday 11/29. Limit 16/Openings: 1

Once again, there is a single opening due to a cancellation.

Tens of thousands of Snow Geese, 10,000 Sandhill Cranes, ducks, amazing sunrises, sunsets, and blast-offs. Live, eat, and breathe photography with two of the world’s premier photographic educators at one of their very favorite photography locations on the planet. Top-notch in-the-field and Photoshop instruction. This will make 21 consecutive Novembers at Bosque for artie. This will be denise’s 6th workshop at the refuge. Nobody knows the place better than artie does. Join us to learn to think like a pro, to recognize situations and to anticipate them based on the weather, especially the sky conditions, the light, and the wind direction. Every time we make a move we will let you know why. When you head home being able to apply what you’ve learned on your home turf will prove to be invaluable.

This workshop includes 4 afternoon (11/29 through 12/2), 4 morning (11/30 to 12/3) photography sessions, an inspirational introductory slide program after dinner on Saturday, 11/29, all lunches, and after-lunch digital workflow, Photoshop, and image critiquing sessions.

There is never a strict itinerary on a Bosque IPT as each day is tailored to the local conditions at the time and to the weather. We are totally flexible in order to maximize both the photographic and learning opportunities. We are up early each day leaving the hotel by 5:30 am to be in position for sunrise. We usually photograph until about 10:30am. Then it is back to Socorro for lunch and then a classroom session with the group most days. We head back to the refuge at about 3:30pm each day and photograph until sunset. We will be photographing lots of Snow Geese and lots of Sandhill Cranes with the emphasis on expanding both your technical skills and your creativity.

A $449 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 7/25/2014. If the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. 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. Whether or not your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris.”) You can also leave your deposit with a credit card by calling the office at 863-692-0906. 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.


bosque-creative-card-2014-1200-wide

Join Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris for two great days of photography, fun, and learning at one of our favorite soul places. We will surely be taking you out of the box on this workshop. Please click on the card to enjoy a larger version.

Bosque del Apache 2014 A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART “Creative Photography Instructional Photo-Tour.” (IPT). NOV 24-25, 2014. 2-FULL DAYS: $729. Leaders: Denise Ippolito & Arthur Morris. Introductory Slide program: 7:00pm on Sunday 11/23.

Get Out of Your Box!

The Creative Bosque IPT is perfect for folks who want to learn to think outside the box, to create new and different images. This workshop is the perfect add-on for folks who are planning on attending the Festival of the Cranes. Learn to unleash your creative juices at the wondrous Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in San Antonio, New Mexico with two great leaders including the amazingly talented and creative Denise Ippolito. In-the-field instruction will include tips on gear set-up, on creating a variety of pleasing blurs, on getting the right exposure, and on designing pleasing images. And lots more. From vertical pan blurs to subject motion blurs to zoom blurs to multiple exposures we will cover it all. If conditions are perfect, we will not hesitate to take advantage of them to do some traditional bird photography. This workshop will include an inspirational introductory slide program on Sunday evening, 11/23, after dinner on your own, two morning and two afternoon photography sessions, all lunches, a digital workflow and Photoshop session after lunch on Monday, and an image critiquing session after lunch on Tuesday.

A $329 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 7/25/2014. If the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. 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. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris.”) You can also leave your deposit with a credit card by calling the office at 863-692-0906. 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.

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 or errors. Just be right :).

October 19th, 2014

EOS-7D Mark II/EOS-5D Mark III Image Comparison: They Thought that it Would Be Easy.... Plus DeSoto Short Notice ITF-Workshop Info

The Streak Continues: 323

Yesterday was more work, more swim, and an ice bath. Arash should be finishing the final PDF of the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide today. We hope to have it for sale this coming week. This blog post, the 323rd in a row, took me about 3 hours to prepare. It was published at about 7:30am from my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL.

To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we ask that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. B&H Is recommended for you major photography gear purchases, Amazon for your household, entertainment, and general purpose stuff. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, 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.

Super Short Notice Fort DeSoto In-the Field Offerings

DeSoto has been great. I know where the birds and where and when the best opps are. I will be driving over to DeSoto very early on Monday morning. I will be photographing on Monday morning, Monday afternoon, and Tuesday morning and then heading back to ILE.

If you would like to join me and learn a ton, here are your options:

Monday full day, two 3+ hour photo sessions plus a working lunch with image review and Photoshop: $300.
Monday morning only with a working lunch (lunch included) with image review and Photoshop: $200.
Monday afternoon only, one 3+ hour photo session: $125.
Tuesday morning, one 3+ hour photo session: $150.

All quite a bargain. The limit is 6 but I am hoping for at least one :). Please call me at 863-692-0906 on Sunday between 9:15am and 7:00pm with questions or to register. If no answer, please shoot me an e-mail, and include a call back number. I hope that you can join me.

Those who are staying over on Sunday or Monday are invited to call or to write for motel info. I just booked my room for Monday night and they likely have rooms for Sunday night as well.


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This Great Blue Heron image was created on the morning of October 18 down by the lake near my home with the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop as framed: 1/2500 sec. at f/8 in AV mode. AWB.

Central sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s eye and recompose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

From the Sequoia with the lens supported by the BLUBB (my custom-designed, hand made Big Lens Ultimate Bean Bag). When working on a beanbag with a long lens and re-composing be absolutely sure that the focusing ring does not rest on the beanbag lest you throw off accurate focus when re-composing.

#1: This JPEG represents the unsharpened 600 II/2XIII/7D II image after RAW conversion in DPP v3.14.41.0.

The 1.6X Crop Factor Image

Note that in the image above, the one made with the 7D II and its 1.6X crop factor, the heron’s head is turned about 1 1/2 degrees towards us.

They Thought that it Would Be Easy

Many folks said, “Make a few images of a bird with the 7D Mark II. Without moving the lens, remove the camera and replace is with a full frame body, either a 1D X or a 5D III. Make a few images. Crop the best image made with the full frame camera to the same subject size as in the 7D II (1.6X crop factor) image. Blow them up to 100 or 200% and compare them.”

“You will always see that the image made with the full frame camera is clearly better in terms of image quality and noise.”

In the blog post here, in response to a comment left by Jim Magowan, I wrote:

Hi Jim, Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the info above. I have long tried to stay out of discussions on this topic as I really do not understand the concept very well, I am not very good at pixel math, and I feel that the arguments are in large part semantic in nature… Lastly, seeing the image larger in the frame and larger on the LCD viewing screen gives many folks added confidence… That said I will try to remember to shoot some side by side images with all three cameras when I get my hands on a 7D II. I will likely need a sleeping bird.

best and respectfully, artie

Heck, even I thought that it would be easy….


a1c9976-indian-lake-estates-fl

Same bird, same time, same place. This one created with the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III . ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/2500 sec. at f/8 in AV mode. AWB.

Central sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s eye and recompose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

From the Sequoia with the lens supported by the BLUBB (my custom-designed, hand made Big Lens Ultimate Bean Bag). When working on a beanbag with a long lens and re-composing be absolutely sure that the focusing ring does not rest on the beanbag lest you throw off accurate focus when re-composing. If that is unavoidable you must work in AI Servo AF with AF active at the moment of exposure as I did here.

#2: This JPEG represents the unsharpened 600 II/2XIII/5D III image after RAW conversion in DPP v3.14.41.0. Converting the 5DIII image in DPP 4 would have given it an unfair advantage.

The Full Frame Body Image

Note that in the image above, the one made with the full frame 5D III, the heron’s head is pretty much perfectly square to the imaging sensor. When working with long effective focal lengths, small or even tiny differences in head angle can have significant effects on image sharpness.

The Developing Piss Fight

When I wrote Just a Bit on the Crop Factor Debate in the blog post here, a bit of a piss fight developed with the full frame is better folks on one side of the fence and the crop factor folks on the other side of the fence. Folks in each camp were adamant that they were correct.

Though one thing that neither side mentioned is the fact that not all pixels (and not all sensors) are created equal, I wisely stayed out of the discussion :). I figured that I would create some comparison images and see which were better.

Canon USA’s Chuck Westfall, in response to this question: “Is the EOS-7D Mark II 1.6X crop factor real or bogus?” chimed in as follows:

IMO, the crop factor of APS-C affects two aspects of image quality: DOF and noise.

On the first point, if you reduce the focal length on an APS-C camera to match the angle of view on a full frame camera while shooting at the same distance and aperture with both cameras, you end up with approximately one more stop’s worth of depth-of-field. This might be a good thing for some kinds of photography, but not all. It becomes a matter of personal taste.

On the second point, the photodiodes on an APS-C sensor will obviously be smaller than on a full frame sensor if the resolution is the same. This is not a big issue at moderate ISO speeds, but differences in favor of the full frame sensor become more pronounced at speeds above 1600 or so, IMO. Again it becomes a matter of personal taste.

I suppose there is a third element to consider, although it is not directly related to image quality: the size , weight and cost of lenses with equivalent angles of view and maximum aperture are clearly smaller, lighter and more affordable with APS-C vs. full frame.

For bird photography, I think the scale tips in favor of APS-C as long as noise levels remain acceptable. And the image quality of the 7D Mark II is good enough IMO under most lighting conditions that bird photographers are likely to encounter.

Best Regards,
Chuck

The Animated GIF

The animated GIF above compares the 7D II image with the 5D III image cropped as closely as possible to the same subject size. Do note how the slight difference in head angle dramatically affects the appearance of the bird’s bill. Do continue on to the 100 and 200% comparisons below.

It was Not at All Easy…

I began by trying to make comparison images of the local cranes. I thought it would be easy to find one sleeping. It was not. Many times I’d make a few images with the 7D II only to have the bird change position. Did the lens shift on the BLUBB?

I tried photographing a sign figuring that signs never move much. Those efforts revealed many variables. Was focus perfectly accurate with each camera? Were the camera body settings identical? (After several days of struggling with color I found that the 1D X that I was using inadvertently had Landscape as the Picture Style; this left a ton of MAGENTA in the BLUEs.) Did the lens move ever so slightly. Did the lens/TC/camera body in use need to be re-micro-adjusted?

Whatever the subject, would small differences in the exposures or the RAW conversions effect the amount of noise? Likely so. The aforementioned all exacerbated by the fact that the 7D II images need a bit less light than the 1D X/5D III images.

No. It has not been easy. I do hope to get the sign right this morning weather permitting. It is actually an interesting image.

The 100% Crop Comparison

All things being “equal” here, two things stand out to me in the comparison of the 100% crops:

1-The feathers behind and above the bird’s eye are sharper in the 7D II image than in the 5D III image.
2-As far as noise, the 7D II image looks a lot cleaner.

Of course, as we learned above it is difficult to be sure that all things were in fact equal. None-the-less, I was so stunned by what I was seeing that I kept having to go back and check to see which was the 7D II image and which was the 5D III image….

What are you seeing in the 100% crop comparison?

The 200% Crop Comparison

Again, with all things being “equal” here, two things stand out to me in the comparison of the 200% crops:

1-Fine feather detail looks better in the 7D II image than in the 5D III image. Note especially the appearance of the five dark, sort of curlicue feathers in the upper right.
2-As far as noise in this comparison, the 5D III image looks a lot cleaner in the 200% comparison. Please do not ask me why.

As above, we know that it is difficult (if not impossible) to be sure that all things were in fact equal (even when a heron seems to be standing still as a statue. None-the-less, it seems pretty clear to me that the 7D Mark II is an amazing camera. And when you consider the ridiculously low price, it is also an amazing value.

What are you seeing in the 200% crop comparison?

I will continue to try and create similar series for comparison. I am hoping to catch a sleeping Marbled Godwit at DeSoto and photograph it with all three bodies. I do not, however, expect the images to be identical :).

Please Understand

Please understand that the sample size here–one comparison–is quite limited :). That said, I am always doing my best. It would not shock me to see that in the long run, cropped images from the 1D X and the 5D III are actually superior in terms of image quality, fine feather detail, and noise than images from the 7D II. Nor would it surprise me if the 7D II images turn out to be clearly best. Stay tuned.

Coming Tomorrow: An In-depth Look at 7D II ISO 1600 I and Noise

In the next blog post we will be taking a close look at some 7D II ISO 1600 images.



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