Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
June 14th, 2024

Everything is Just Ducky. Used Gear Price Drops

What’s Up?

Everything is Just Ducky

Yes, today is June 14, 2024. Early this morning I turned seventy-eight. And happy Flag Day to you.

Everything here is just ducky. I have much to be thankful for. I am relatively healthy and am working hard to stay that way. I can get up and down off the ground to photograph my beloved shorebirds. I can photograph most every day that I want to. And travel anywhere I’d like, always to photograph birds (like Colorado, this Wednesday for two weeks). My home and car are paid off and I have no financial worries at all. I love everything about my job (if you can call it a job). And I have lots of friends. And best of all, I am relatively at peace. Technical malfunctions and corporate/governmental/health-medical BS still pisses me off off too much.

In lieu of sending an birthday expensive gift, consider joining a BIRDS AS ART IPT 🙂

Used Gear Price Drops

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (with Battery Grip)

Price reduced $100.00 on 12 June 2024

Mark Harrington is offering a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (57,314 shutter actuations) in excellent plus condition for $949.00 (was $1049.00). The sale includes the front cap, the original product box, the manual and software, the Canon BG-E20 battery grip (a $299.00 value), one battery, the battery charger, the cable, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Mark via e-mail at e-mail or by phone at 1-612-308-5776 MST.

What can I say? The 5D IV was my favorite-ever Canon digital dSLR. I owned and used three of them while my 1DX II and a 1DX III sat on the shelf in my garage. A new 5D Mark IV, with its 30.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor, is still in productions and sells new for $$2,299 at B&H. If you have been dreaming of a 5D IV, grab this one save $1,250.00. artie

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Price reduced $100.00 on 12 June 2024

Mark Harrington is offering a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (30269 shutter actuations ) in excellent plus condition for $899.00 (was $999.00). The sale includes the front cap, the strap, one battery, the battery charger, the cable, the manual, the original box and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Mark via e-mail at e-mail or by phone at 1-612-308-5776 MST.

What can I say? The 5D IV was my favorite-ever Canon digital dSLR. I owned and used three of them while my 1DX II and a 1DX III sat on the shelf in my garage. A new 5D Mark IV, with its 30.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor, is still in productions and sells new for $$2,299 at B&H. If you have been dreaming of a 5D IV, grab this one save $1,250.00. artie

Nikon D800

Price reduced $100.00 on 12 June 2024

Mark Harrington is offering a Nikon D800 (7043 shutter actuations) camera body in excellent + condition for a BAA record low $349.00 (was $449.00). The sale includes the front cap, the manual, &software, one battery, the battery charger, the cable, the original box and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Mark via e-mail at e-mail or by phone at 1-612-308-5776 MST.

The D800 is a 36.3MP Full Frame FX-Format entry level dSLR that performs amazingly well with any of the Nikon PF lenses.

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 LUSM Lens

Price reduced $100.00 on 12 June 2024

Mark Harrington is offering a Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 LUSM lens in excellent plus condition for a BAA record low $423.00 ( was $523.00). The glass is perfect. The sale includes the front and rear caps, the instructions, the soft case (worn and soiled from use), the original box, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Mark via e-mail at e-mail or by phone at 1-612-308-5776 MST.

One of the very first Canon autofocus lenses, I put this lens on the map more than three decades ago. It was and still is a great flight lens and would be ideal when paired with any Canon mirrorless body today by way of an EF/RF adapter. artie

Mark Harrington is offering a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens in excellent plus condition for a BAA record low $949.00. The glass is perfect. The sale includes the front and rear caps, the soft case (LZ1326), the lens hood (ET-83D), the original box, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Mark via e-mail at e-mail or by phone at 1-612-308-5776 MST.

This incredibly versatile zoom lens — with its amazing .98-meter close focus — was my favorite Canon telephoto zoom lens ever. By far. It is easy to hand hold, great for tight portraits, for birds in flight, for quasi-macro stuff, and lots more. For flight, it is deadly with an EOS R, R3, R5, R6, or R7! This lens sells new for $2099.00 so you can save a handsome $1150.00 by grabbing Mark’s lens right now. artie

This image was created on 11 June 2024 down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Standing at full height, I used the Robus RC-5558 Vantage Series 3 Carbon Fiber Tripod/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter and the ridiculously amazing Sony a9 III Mirrorless Camera. The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the Thumb Dial. ISO 2000. 1/4000 sec. at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file exposure was determined to be dead-solid perfect. AWB at 8:18:38am on a mostly sunny morning.

Zone/AF-C with Bird Face-eye AF enabled performed perfectly even at 1200mm. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #1: Mottled Duck drake stretching near wing

The Situation

The forecast for Tuesday morning was for 100% rain. I glanced out back at about 7:15am and saw that it had quit raining and that the eastern sky ws brightening. So you guessed it, I headed down to the lake and had a pretty darned good morning.

What I’ve Learned About the ILE Ducks

For years I stayed in my vehicle and always used the 600 with the 2X on the BLUBB. Doing flight and action was a huge challenge. With so many ducks this year, I tried getting out of my vehicle and working off the tripod. As the days went by, the ducks in the water became more comfortable with my presence so I began approaching them slowly by walking into the shallow water, holding my tripod as low as possible, and trying not to get stuck (or fall down!) as I traversed the soft muck.

Much to my surprise, I was able to get fairly close to the birds so I was able to drop down to the 1.4X teleconverter and shoot at 840mm (rather than 1200mm with the 2X). At times, I’ve wished that I had the 300mm f/2.8 lens(with the 1.4X TC and my second a9 iii) on a shoulder strap.

Early summer bird photography here has been unexpectedly productive.

This is a simply different version of Image #1. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #2: Mottled Duck drake stretching near wing

Spot the Difference

Image #1 and Image #2 are the same photograph. There are a few small differences. In what way or ways is Image #2 different from Image #1? Which one do you like best? Why?

Tracking Zone/AF-C with Bird Face-eye AF enabled performed perfectly. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #3: A7 INFO screen capture for the Mottled Duck drake stretching near wing image

a9iii AF versus a1 AF

Sony a9 iii autofocus is significantly better than a1 AF. In what ways? Initial focusing acquisition is faster and eye tracking is far stickier. And with the few settings changes that I made significantly improved the autofocus system for flying birds. Why? In large part because of the improved stacked CMOS sensor.

Anyhoo, on Thursday morning, working from my SUV at 840mm on the BLUBB with my a1, I was working a very wet adult killdeer, one of the three now fledged chick’s parents. I framed the perfect shot with the bird square to the imaging sensor and a lovely, all-green background. I half-pressed the shutter but but the AF system missed. I could not help but think that the a9 iii would have nailed the focus instantly.

a9 iii E-mail Set-up and Info Guide

a9 iii E-mail Set-up and Info Guide

For those who think that my comments on the a9 iii are pure hype, know that I sold the second of my three a1 bodies last week. And on June 5th, I purchased a second a9 iii body! Lots more on the switch coming soon.

If you plan on purchasing a Sony a9 III Mirrorless Camera (or anything else for that matter), please remember to use or write for either my Bedfords discount code or my B&H affiliate link. Folks who use one of my two affiliate links to purchase the a9 III will receive my .DAT settings (the complete camera set-up), a Buttons and Dials Guide, and my a9 iii INFO Sheet, all for free.

Typos

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

June 12th, 2024

Sony a9 iii 1200mm X-rated 120 frames per second Benefits

Your Call?

Which of today’s two featured images do you like best? Why? Should I have replaced the head of the female? Why or why not?

Important Notice

After an update on 4 May, WordPress stopped sending post notifications. We are aware of the issue and are working on rectifying it. You can always visit the blog by visiting or bookmarking www.BIRDSASART-Blog.com.

Supporting My Efforts Here

If you enjoy and learn from the blog, please consider using one of my affiliate links when purchasing new gear. It will never cost you a single penny. To support my effort here, please order from B&H by beginning your search here. Or, click here, to order from Bedfords and enter the discount code BIRDSASART at checkout to receive 3% cash back to your credit card and enjoy free Second-Day Air Fed-Ex shipping. It is always best to write for advice via e-mail.

In many cases, I can help you save some serious dollars. And/or prevent you from purchasing the wrong gear.

One Reason that the Sony a9 iii is Best for Me

Lots of folks feel that 120 fps is overkill for bird photography. I do not. With so many frames to choose from, folks need to learn to distinguish among very similar photos, often many dozens of them. As always, the very best images jump out, but only if you know what to look for. I recently sold two of my a1 bodies and purchased a second a9 iii. Perhaps the world’s best flight photographer, Arash Hazeghi, believes that the Sony a1 is best for him. Could we both be right? More on that soon here on the BAA blog.

This image was created on 4 June 2024 down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Standing at full height — learn why in the video, I used the Robus RC-5558 Vantage Series 3 Carbon Fiber Tripod/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the ridiculously amazing Sony a9 III Mirrorless Camera. The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the Thumb Dial. ISO 2000. 1/4000 sec. at f/8 (wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file exposure was determined to be perfect. AWB at 7:43:24am on a sunny morning.

Zone/AF-C with Bird Face-eye AF enabled performed perfectly even at 1200mm. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #1: Black-necked Stilts — pre-copulatory stand

The Pre-copulatory Stand

During the pre-copulatory stand, the male jumps atop the female and practices maintaining his balance. It can be tough on windy days. This behavior is commonly seen in other bird families, especially the gulls and terns. I have seen male Royal Terns stand atop the females for several minutes at a time without ever copulating. Anita North has an image of a Royal Tern triple header — it is hard to figure out what is going on there. I will try to get that image from her and share it here with you.

After most BNST and American Avocet copulations there is usually a short dance and a wing over ceremony, but this guy simply flew away to the north.

This image was also created on 4 June 2024 down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Standing at full height –learn why in the video, I used the Robus RC-5558 Vantage Series 3 Carbon Fiber Tripod/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the ridiculously amazing Sony a9 III Mirrorless Camera. The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the Thumb Dial. ISO 2000. 1/4000 sec. at f/8 (wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file exposure was determined to be perfect. AWB at 7:43:27am on a sunny morning.

Zone/AF-C with Bird Face-eye AF enabled performed perfectly even at 1200mm. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #2: Black-necked Stilts copulating — the cloacal kiss

Three Seconds Later

Images that show the cloacal kiss are rare because the action takes only a second.

Image Optimization Question

Should I have replaced the head of the female? Why or why not?

a9 iii E-mail Set-up and Info Guide

a9 iii E-mail Set-up and Info Guide

For those who think that my comments on the a9 iii are pure hype, know that I sold the second of my three a1 bodies last week. And on June 5th, I purchased a second a9 iii body! Lots more on the switch coming soon.

If you plan on purchasing a Sony a9 III Mirrorless Camera (or anything else for that matter), please remember to use or write for either my Bedfords discount code or my B&H affiliate link. Folks who use one of my two affiliate links to purchase the a9 III will receive my .DAT settings (the complete camera set-up), a Buttons and Dials Guide, and my a9 iii INFO Sheet, all for free.

Typos

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

June 10th, 2024

Skilled Friends in Cold Places -- Northern Lights Images

Important Notice

After an update on 4 May, WordPress stopped sending post notifications. We are aware of the issue and are working on rectifying it. You can always visit the blog by visiting or bookmarking www.BIRDSASART-Blog.com.

Supporting My Efforts Here

If you enjoy and learn from the blog, please consider using one of my affiliate links when purchasing new gear. It will never cost you a single penny. To support my effort here, please order from B&H by beginning your search here. Or, click here, to order from Bedfords and enter the discount code BIRDSASART at checkout to receive 3% cash back to your credit card and enjoy free Second-Day Air Fed-Ex shipping. It is always best to write for advice via e-mail.

In many cases, I can help you save some serious dollars. And/or prevent you from purchasing the wrong gear.

Summer On Long Island

Take a peek at the July and August Nickerson Beach (& JBWR) IPT offerings here.

What’s Up?

I have not been down to the lake for several days as the northeast winds and clear skies were replaced by winds from the S, SW & W. I will be e-mailing a new and improved a9 iii .DAT file, a revised Buttons and Dials Guide, and the complete INFO sheet this afternoon.

Today is Monday 10 June 2024. Whatever the heck that you are doing, I hope that you too choose to have fun.

Please remember to use the B&H links that are found on most blog pages and to use the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout when purchasing your new gear from Bedfords to get 3% back on your credit card and enjoy free second-day air FedEx. Please, also, consider joining a BAA IPT. You will be amazed at how much you will learn!

If an item — a Delkin flash card, or a tripod head — for example, that is available from B&H and/or Bedfords, is also available in the BAA Online Store, it would be great, and greatly appreciated, if you would opt to purchase from us. We will match any price. Please remember also to use my B&H affiliate links or to earn 3% cash back at Bedfords by using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout for your major gear purchases. Doing either often earns you free guides and/or discounts. And always earns my great appreciation.

ddc 728w

Save 15%!

If you’d like to try out a new lens or if you need a lens for a specific trip or project (or for an IPT), LensRentals.com is the only way to go. To save 15%, simply click on the logo link above, arrange for your rental, and type in BIRDSASART15. If you type the gear you are looking for in the search box, it will pop right up. LensRentals.com offers affordable insurance. You can decline it, opt for LensCap: Damage Only, or select LensCap: Damage & Theft. Then hit PROCEED TO CHECKOUT. After you enter all of your info but before completing your order, be sure to scroll down to Promo Code box and enter the BIRDSASART15 code to save 15%.

I checked on renting a Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens for a week. The cost is only $122.00. LensCap: Damage Only coverage can be added for a very low $18.00. Going with LensCap: Damage & Theft would be $27.00. The shipping charge varies. They offer an interesting program called Lensrentals HD. By signing up for this shipping discount program ($99.00/year), you’ll get free Standard Shipping on all the orders you place.

Renting a Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens for a week will cost you $536.00. The two coverage options come in at $76.00 or $114.00. Less your 15% discount when you enter the BIRDSASART15 code into the Promo Code box at checkout and enter the BIRDSASART15 code in the Promo Code box at checkout to save 15%.

Remember, to save the 15% on your rental you must start your search by clicking on the logo above, or on this link: LensRentals.com



B&H

To ensure that I get credit for your B&H purchases, you can always click here. The tracking is invisible but greatly appreciated. And, you can use your PayBoo card. You must use the website to order. B&H will reopen on Fri April 14. Thanking me for the past 4000 educational blog posts could not be any easier and will not cost you one penny. Please shoot me your B&H receipt for major purchases.

Many folks have written recently stating that they purchased a Sony a1 from B&H and would like their free membership in the Sony 1 Info and Updates Group, a $150.00 value. When I check my affiliate account, their orders have not been there. When I let them know that they get credit for B&H purchases only if they use one of the many B&H affiliate links on the blog or begin their searches with this link, they are always disappointed. If in doubt, please contact me via e-mail and request a BH link. I am always glad to help and to guide you to the right gear.

Bedfords Simplified

Click here to start your search. Choose standard shipping, and when you get to the payment page, enter BIRDSASART in the discount code box and hit apply. You will be upgraded to free second day air Fed-Ex and receive 3% cash back on your credit card once your stuff ships. Either is greatly appreciated by yours truly.

Bedfords Amazing BAA Discount Policy

Folks who have fallen in love with Bedfords can now use the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout to enjoy a post-purchase, 3% off-statement credit (excluding taxes and shipping charges) on orders paid with a credit card. The 3% credit will be refunded to the card you used for your purchase. Be sure, also, to check the box for free shipping to enjoy free Second Day Air Fed-Ex. This offer does not apply to purchases of Classes, Gift Cards, prior purchases.

Visit the Bedfords website here, shoot Steve Elkins an e-mail, or text him on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are — out of ignorance — using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads. And the same is true in spades when ordering new camera bodies or lenses. My advice will often stave you some serious money and may help you avoid making a seriously bad choice. Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. If you are desperate, you can try me on my cell at 863-221-2372. Please leave a message and shoot me a text if I do not pick up.

This image was created on 11 May 2024 in Reedsburg, Wisconsin by multiple IPT veteran “Hapless” Bob Eastman. He used the Robus RC-5558 Vantage Series 3 Carbon Fiber Tripod/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II lens (Sony E) with the discontinued Sony a7 R IV. ISO 500. 30 full seconds at f/2.8. AWB at 12:40:31am on a clear night.

Manual Focus. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #1: Aurora Borealis
Image courtesy and copyright 2024 Robert Eastman

Hapless But Happy and Loving It! The Life of Bob Eastman

If you missed the Hapless But Happy and Loving It! The Life of Bob Eastman blog post two years ago, click here; be sure to fasten your seatbelt.

Historic Geomagnetic Storm Dazzles – NASA Earth Observatory

The strongest geomagnetic storm in more than two decades dazzled scientists and sky-watchers alike in May 2024. The G5 storm culminated in a remarkable display of the aurora borealis overnight on May 10–11, visible from many areas worldwide, including latitudes where sightings of auroras are uncommon.May 15, 2024

Though “hapless” describes Bob Eastman in part, you would be remiss not to use hardworking and determined. In Homer in FEB 2023, I slept peacefully in my bed at Land End Resort while he made some great Northern Lights images. When he heard of the solar storm in May, he was Bobby on the spot! For Image #1, it was a balmy 39°.

Suport System

Bob used a Robus 5558 tripod topped by a Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro with a Wimberley P-5 Plate on the bottom of his a7R IV body. What many folks do not realize is that the FlexShooter Pro heads feature a bi-directional clamp so that you can mount your camera body on them crossways as well as your long super telephoto lenses with the pate oriented the long way (of course). Long lens folks no longer need to travel with a ballhead for scenics and a gimbal head for super telephotos.

This image was created on 6 March 2024 at Wat’chee Lodge, Churchill, Manitoba Canada multiple IPT veteran Anita North. She used the Robus RC-5558 Vantage Series 3 Carbon Fiber Tripod/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM lens (at 16.5mm) with the Sony a1 Mirrorless Camera. ISO 6400. 30 seconds at f/4.5. AWB at 1:26:51am on a clear night.

Manual Focus. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #2: Aurora Borealis
Image courtesy and copyright 2024 Anita North

Amazing Creativity!

I loved this image from the moment I saw it in a text message. I did not realize that it was in fact a double exposure. The second row of trees is actually the front row of trees! So how do you create a double exposure with a camera that does not offer that feature?

Anita framed the image and left the shutter open for 15 seconds. Then, she loosened the silver knob, tilted the camera up a bit, locked the silver knob, and let the exposure run for the rest of the 30 seconds. The result? An ethereal image. How’s that for quick and creative thinking and going for different?

Almost forgot to mention, the low temperatures that evening were in the negative mid forties, i.e., -45° Fahrenheit!

You can see more of Anita’s excellent work on her Instagram page here. Be sure to scroll down and see some of her world class Polar Bear and African Wildlife stuff.

Image Question

Why don’t we see any clear evidence of the movement of the camera in Image #2?

Typos

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