Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
January 27th, 2023

Change of Pace: Coldie Oldie But Goodie Canon Cutie

Homer Late Registration Discounts

If you are interested in traveling to Homer, AK with me in FEB/MAR 2023 to photograph Bald Eagles, shoot me an e-mail for late registration discount info. Several folks are in the process of registering so do not tarry. The first IPT is looking sold out as I await the last deposit check.

What’s Up?

I headed down to the lake on Thursday morning with the 400mm f/2.8/a1 rig in the passenger seat. It was a cold dreary morning and there was not much going on. I was pleased to note two 4-5 weeks old, charcoal gray baby eagles in the nest.

In yesterday’s blog post, I preferred Image #2 with the bird on the right side of the frame looking back. Why? There is more tension in Image @2 than in Image #1.

Today is Friday 27 January 2023. I have lots of work to do. This blog post took about an hour to prepare (including the time spent on the image optimization) and makes three hundred-four days in a row with a new, educational post. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day.

Please, please, pretty please remember to use my B&H or Bedford’s affiliate programs for all your new gear purchases.

The plan is to continue to post every day until the streak reaches one year and one day and then go back to posting every other day.

Please remember to use the B&H and Amazon 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!

You can find some great photo accessories (and necessities, like surf booties!) on Amazon by clicking on the Stuff tab on the orange/yellow menu bar above. On a related note, it would be extremely helpful if blog-folks who, like me, spend too much money on Amazon, would get in the habit of clicking on the Amazon logo link on the right side of each blog post when they shop online. As you might expect, doing so will not cost you a single penny, but would be appreciated tremendously by yours truly. And doing so, works seamlessly with your Amazon Prime account.

Please remember that 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.

Induro GIT 304L Tripod

Out of production for more than two years, BAA sold its last one in December. The good news? We now have two more new-in-the-box tripods. They are now available for shipping. Best to order yours now to be sure that you get one. The 304L was my go-to tripod for more than a decade. Best to grab order yours right now to avoid being disappointed.

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, or to any prior purchases.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would like to enjoy getting 3% back on your credit card along with free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex Air shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Central time). Be sure to mention the BIRDSASART coupon code and check the box for Free Shipping. That will automatically upgrade to free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H and everywhere else. The waitlists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard-to-get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a 1, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and eager to please.

Important Note

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small percentage when you purchase from Amazon after using any of the Amazon links on the blog (including the logo-link on the right side of each blog post page). My affiliate link works fine with Amazon Prime and using it will not cost you a single cent. Huge thanks, BTW 🙂



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 save 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 31 December 2014 at Brown Bluff, Antarctica. Seated on packed snow and rock, I used the knee-pod technique with the Canon 300mm f/4L IS II lens, a 2X TC, and the EOS 7D Mark II. The exposure was determined via histogram review. ISO 400: 1/1600 sec. at f/10 (stopped down 2 2/3-stops). When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file exposure was determined to be about one stop too dark. AWB at 4:09pm on a sunny afternoon.

Adélie penguin head and neck portrait

Coldie Oldie But Goodie Canon Cutie

I remember each of the 2014/2015 landings in Antarctica almost as if they were yesterday. To see an Adélie Penguin colony, you need to get down to the seventh continent. They are endearingly cute. For me, they are by far the cutest penguins outside ofone or two species in the Ross Sea.

I made lots of great images on that trip with my Canon gear. Using the 300mm f/2.8 L IS II with the 2X TC and the crop factor 7D Mark II yielded an effective focal length of 960mm — 19.2X magnification! When handholding high magnification rigs, you need to employ both high shutter speeds and impeccable sharpness techniques. Why? Unsharpness caused by gear shake is a factor of the square of the focal length.

The Lesson

The longer the effective focal length, the more careful you need to be in order to create sharp images. High shutter speeds and excellent sharpness techniques rule the roost. While a tripod is recommended if at all possible, the freedom and mobility that comes with handholding often wins out.

Handholding Questions

What is the longest focal length that you are comfortable handholding? What lens/TC combination? What is your minimum shutter speed for creating sharp images handheld with that rig?

Typos

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

January 26th, 2023

Good to Be Home. Why the Bold-faced Exclamation Point?

Your Call?

If you have a preference for either of today’s featured images, please leave a comment and let us know why.

Homer Late Registration Discounts

If you are interested in traveling to Homer, AK with me in FEB/MAR 2023 to photograph Bald Eagles, shoot me an e-mail for late registration discount info. Several folks are in the process of registering so do not tarry. The first IPT is looking sold out as I await the last deposit check.

What’s Up?

Even though I had a great time in San Diego for five weeks, it is good to be home. And it was great to get back in the pool on Wednesday. I have a ton of work to do before leaving for Homer on 18 February.

Today is Thursday 26 January 2023. I plan on heading down to the lake after I hit Publish on this post to see how the eagles are doing. This blog post took about an hour to prepare (including the time spent on the two image optimizations), and makes three hundred-three days in a row with a new, educational post. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day.

Please, please, pretty please remember to use my B&H or Bedford’s affiliate programs for all your new gear purchases.

The plan is to continue to post every day until the streak reaches one year and one day and then go back to posting every other day.

Please remember to use the B&H and Amazon 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!

You can find some great photo accessories (and necessities, like surf booties!) on Amazon by clicking on the Stuff tab on the orange/yellow menu bar above. On a related note, it would be extremely helpful if blog-folks who, like me, spend too much money on Amazon, would get in the habit of clicking on the Amazon logo link on the right side of each blog post when they shop online. As you might expect, doing so will not cost you a single penny, but would be appreciated tremendously by yours truly. And doing so, works seamlessly with your Amazon Prime account.

Please remember that 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.

Induro GIT 304L Tripod

Out of production for more than two years, BAA sold its last one in December. The good news? We now have two more new-in-the-box tripods. They are now available for shipping. Best to order yours now to be sure that you get one. The 304L was my go-to tripod for more than a decade. Best to grab order yours right now to avoid being disappointed.

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, or to any prior purchases.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would like to enjoy getting 3% back on your credit card along with free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex Air shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Central time). Be sure to mention the BIRDSASART coupon code and check the box for Free Shipping. That will automatically upgrade to free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H and everywhere else. The waitlists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard-to-get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a 1, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and eager to please.

Important Note

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small percentage when you purchase from Amazon after using any of the Amazon links on the blog (including the logo-link on the right side of each blog post page). My affiliate link works fine with Amazon Prime and using it will not cost you a single cent. Huge thanks, BTW 🙂



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 save 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 17 December 2022 down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Working from the driver’s seat of my SUV, I used the BLUBB-supported Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera). The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the thumb dial. ISO 1000: 1/2500 sec. at f/5.6 (wide open). When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file exposure was determined to be dead-solid perfect. AWB at 9:29:29am just before the sun came over the distant trees.

Tracking: Center (!) Expand Spot/AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled performed perfectly even at 800mm with the 2X. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Northern Harrier on The Perch — looking to our right

Getting a Kick!

I always get a kick out of photographing a new species on The Perch. With lots of help from my ILE-friend and neighbor Ralph, we set up The Perch II (now referred to simply as The Perch) in late-May 2021. You can learn the backstory in the A Thing of Beauty is a Joy … The Perch II blog post here.

I saw this bird, my first-ever Northern Harrier to land on The Perch, earlier on the morning of 17 December. It flew off as I made a cautious approach in my X5. When I re-checked later in the morning, it was back on The Perch.

This image was created on 17 December 2022 down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Working from the driver’s seat of my SUV, I used the BLUBB-supported Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera). The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the thumb dial. ISO 1000: 1/2000 sec. at f/7.1 (stopped down 2/3-stop). When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file exposure was determined to be about 1/6 stop short of dead-solid perfect. AWB at 9:30:34am just before the sun came over the distant trees.

Tracking: Center (!) Expand Spot/AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled performed perfectly even at 800mm with the 2X. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Northern Harrier on The Perch — looking to our left

Why the Bold-faced Exclamation Point?

So, why the bold-faced exclamation point here: Tracking: Center (!) Expand Spot/AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled performed perfectly?

I learned recently that many folks using the Sony a1, even those in my Sony A1 group, do not realize the tremendous versatility of the Tracking AF modes that I recommend in the SONY Alpha a1 Set-up Guide and Info Group e-mails. I recently began using Tracking: Expand Spot and will be sending an e-Mail to the group soon detailing how and why I made some important changes to my Limit Focus Area Menu item.

Anyhoo, here is how it works. Whether I am working horizontally or vertically, I keep the Tracking AF Area in the center of the frame. With both of today’s featured images, I was using Tracking: Expand Spot in the centered position. (Remember, as I was working off the BLUBB, I set the DMF switch on the lens to OFF to keep the manual focus ring from inadvertently throwing off the focus accuracy.)

I always acquire focus with the centered AF Area. As I recompose as needed by moving the lens, the AF point will stay glued to the bird’s eye or face (depending on the situation). For Image #1, with the bird looking to my right, I shifted the lens down and to my right after acquiring focus to place the bird on the left side of the frame. When the bird looked back to my left, I simply shifted the lens to my left. The AF point or area sticks like glue!

Only a single eagle-eyed reader, David Puglsey, noticed that over the past month I have begun using Tracking: Expand Spot. David is in the a1 Group. With wife Michell, he will be joining me on this summer’s Galapagos Photo Cruise of a Lifetime. Kudos to David for paying attention the small details!

The Simplified Lesson

After acquiring focus with the Sony A1, any Tracking AF Area will track the bird’s face or eye anywhere in frame as you recompose. This enables folks to place the subject anywhere in the frame quickly and efficiently. Note: some Canon and Nikon mirrorless bodies can be set up to operate in similar fashion.

Click on the image to better see the green eye-AF boxes in action.

Sony Alpha 1 Flight Photography AF Points!

The SONY Alpha a1 Set-up Guide and Info Group: $150.00 (or Free)

The SONY Alpha a1 Set-up Guide and Info Group is going great guns as more and more folks chime in with thoughtful questions and experience-based answers. As the a1 is becoming more readily available, more and more folks are getting their hands on this amazing body. By June 1, 2022, the group was up to an astounding 124 lucky and blessed folks. (More than a few folks own two or more a1 bodies! Early on, we discussed the myriad AF options. I gave my opinion as to the best one for flight and general bird photography. The best news is that everyone in the group receives an e-mail that includes a .DAT file with my a1 settings on it, and explicit directions on how to load my settings onto your a1; talk about convenience! I am now offering a .DAT file compatible with firmware update 1.20. Your entry into the group includes a consolidated Sony a1 CAMSETA2 INFO & GUIDE. New a1 folks will now receive six e-mails instead of the previous 28! You will receive new e-mails as they are published. Simply put, this e-mail guide is an incredible resource for anyone with an a1.

All who purchased their Alpha 1 bodies via a BAA affiliate link — B&H or Bedfords — will receive a free Sony Alpha a1 Set-Up Guide and free entry into the Info Updates group after shooting me their receipts via e-mail. (Note: it may take me several days to confirm B&H orders.). Others can purchase their guide here in the BAA Online Store.

Typos

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

January 25th, 2023

A Unique Pelican Flight Perspective Times Two

Homer Late Registration Discounts

If you are interested in traveling to Homer, AK with me in FEB/MAR 2023 to photograph Bald Eagles, shoot me an e-mail for late registration discount info. Several folks are in the process of registering so do not tarry. The first IPT is looking sold out as I await the last deposit check.

What’s Up?

I had thoughts of heading to La Jolla for a one last (very short) photo session on Tuesday morning before my 11:15am flight to Orlando. That turned out to be unrealistic as I woke up pretty early, finished packing, tidied up the AirBnB, headed to the airport, dropped off my bags, returned the rental car, took the shuttle bus to the terminal, breezed through security, and arrived at Gate 22 just seven minutes before boarding. Yikes! The non-stop flight was uneventful but for a delay getting into a gate.

Jim picked me up and we stopped at Longhorn Grill by the airport for dinner. We got home at 10pm. Still on west coast time, I stayed up until 1am and slept until 8am. Pretty good.

Today is Wednesday 25 January 2023. I’ll be doing some laundry and getting back in the pool after a long absence. This blog post took about an hour to prepare (including the time spent on the two image optimizations), and makes three hundred-two days in a row with a new, educational post. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day.

Please, please, pretty please remember to use my B&H or Bedford’s affiliate programs for all your new gear purchases.

The plan is to continue to post every day until the streak reaches one year and one day and then go back to posting every other day.

Please remember to use the B&H and Amazon 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!

You can find some great photo accessories (and necessities, like surf booties!) on Amazon by clicking on the Stuff tab on the orange/yellow menu bar above. On a related note, it would be extremely helpful if blog-folks who, like me, spend too much money on Amazon, would get in the habit of clicking on the Amazon logo link on the right side of each blog post when they shop online. As you might expect, doing so will not cost you a single penny, but would be appreciated tremendously by yours truly. And doing so, works seamlessly with your Amazon Prime account.

Please remember that 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.

Induro GIT 304L Tripod

Out of production for more than two years, BAA sold its last one in December. The good news? We have located two more new-in-the-box tripods. They are now available for shipping. Best to order yours now to be sure that you get one. The 304L was my go-to tripod for more than a decade. Best to grab order yours right now to avoid being disappointed.

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, or to any prior purchases.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would like to enjoy getting 3% back on your credit card along with free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex Air shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Central time). Be sure to mention the BIRDSASART coupon code and check the box for Free Shipping. That will automatically upgrade to free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H and everywhere else. The waitlists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard-to-get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a 1, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and eager to please.

Important Note

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small percentage when you purchase from Amazon after using any of the Amazon links on the blog (including the logo-link on the right side of each blog post page). My affiliate link works fine with Amazon Prime and using it will not cost you a single cent. Huge thanks, BTW 🙂



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 save 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 3 January 2023 at La Jolla, CA. Standing at full height, I used the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera). The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the Thumb Dial. ISO 1600. 1/2500 sec. at f/2.8 (wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file brightness was determined to be a bit better than perfect (ho hum). AWB at 8:04:02am on cloudy morning.

Tracking: Zone/AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled performed to perfection. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #1: Brown Pelican with pelican-covered cliff background

So Many Pelicans!

In fifty years of visiting San Diego in winter, I have never seen as many pelicans in La Jolla as I did this year. Early on, young pelicans predominated; more than ninety percent of the birds were one or two years old — they have white bellies. By mid-January, about 75% of the birds were adults.

On a stormy day with a strong west wind, I saw the opportunity to create an image of a pelican in flight with a background of solid pelicans on a cliff. I made many such images. Image #1 though not perfect, was the best in the series. If you think that you know what bugs me in Image #1, please leave a comment. I am pretty sure that nobody will figure that out.

If you know La Jolla, you can figure out where I was when I was for this unique view. If you own the San Diego Site Guide (please send proof of purchase), or purchase a copy here, I’ll clue you in on the exact location and shoot you a short e-mail with additional 2023 tips.

This image was also created on 3 January 2023 at La Jolla, CA. Again, standing at full height, I used the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera). The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the Thumb Dial. ISO 1600. 1/2500 sec. at f/2.8 (wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file brightness was determined to be perfect (ho hum). AWB at 8:05:40am on cloudy morning.

Tracking: Zone/AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled performed to perfection. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #2: Brown Pelican with cliff background

Same Spot, Different Background

Image #2 was created from the same spot as Image #1. This image also features a unique background.

Your Call?

Which of today’s two featured images do you like best? All are invited to leave a comment and let us know why they made their choice.

Typos

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