Gatorland Hot Times Two « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Gatorland Hot Times Two

You Be the Judge: Small in the Frame

Voting in the Small in the Frame category is still open. It is looking like a closely contested category. If you would like to chime in click here.

New York City Weekend Nature Photography Seminar December 8-9, 2012

Details for this great weekend seminar are available here. Do consider joining Denise Ippolito and me for a great learning experience. Do click on the link to see many of Denise’s incredible tree and flower images. Camera club discounts available; see the details at the link.

5D Mark III Guide Pre-publication Version Still Discounted

Click here for details. When the guide is complete it will sell for $50. Folks who purchase now will receive the final version and any updates for no additional charge so ordering now is a win-win proposition. If you click on the link above you will see that the list of items not yet covered is continues to shrink….

I spent the better part of Tuesday and today working on the 5D III UG; when I am done, the price goes to $50. Buy now to save! The more I study this camera the more I learn how complex it is. Rudy Winston at Canon has been a huge help and so as Denise who helped me with the section on Multiple Exposures today. I still have some work to do.

Nickerson Beach/JBWR Photo-Tour August 15-17, 2012: Only 1 slot left!

Nickerson Beach/JBWR Photo-Tour August 15-17, 2012: $999. Co-leader: Denise Ippolito. Introductory slide program: Tuesday August 14 at 7pm. Limit 8/Openings:1.

This photo-tour is almost sold out. But with two great leaders each tons of experience at this site and the promise to learn a ton of great Photoshop stuff it does make a lot of sense.

For more info and a collection of images click here.

For info on Denise Ippolito’s July 14-15 Nickerson Beach trip–featuring lots of Common Tern chicks and fledglings, click here.

This image of Cattle Egret chicks in the nest was created this morning at Gatorland in Kissimmee, FL with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens, the 2X III TC, and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/16 in Manual mode.

Live View/Live Mode AF Rear Focus AF as described in the Mark IV User’s Guide. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

Gatorland Hot Times Two

Denise Ippolito and I traveled to Gatorland this morning. Many folks believe that it is too hot in Florida in July and that there is no good bird photography to be had. Well, it was hot–we left at 10am, but there was lots of good bird photography including lots of good flight photography. We will be back there this afternoon and then again Sunday morning. We are meeting BPN Out-of-the-ox moderator Cheryl Slechta and BPN member Maureen Allen today, Saturday, at 4pm. Right now I gotta nap but wanted to get this invite out.

I love working tight so the Live View/Live Mode AF trick is one that I use often as I cannot see well enough to focus perfectly all the time.

Like the Foot?

Do you think that the foot in the backgrounds adds to or detracts in this image?

Shopper’s Guide.

Support both the Bulletins and the Blog by making all your B & H purchases here.

Below is a list of the gear talked about in this blog post. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon 2X III TC Sharper than the last version designed to work best with the new Series II Super-telephoto lenses.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. The very best professional digital camera body that I have ever used.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders 🙂 And you will love them in mega-cold weather….
GT3532 LS. This one replaces the GT3530LS Tripod and will last you a lifetime. I’ll be commenting on this new model soon. In short, I like it.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
BreezeBrowser. I do not see how any digital photographer can exist without this program.

16 comments to Gatorland Hot Times Two

  • avatar Maureen Allen

    Artie, it was great fun meeting you and spending time with the group on Saturday afternoon.
    I like the image a lot, both because the OOF bird balances the other chick nicely and because it is a realistic view of the nest.

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    My two cents. 🙂 I love the image. I love the foot. For me it balances the composition nicely with the bird and the foot pretty much on diagonally opposite rule of thirds points. In addition, it adds interest by letting you know that the chick had at least one nest-mate.

  • avatar Micki Bachner

    Sadly, the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV that you reference in the shopper’s guide is discontinued. The URL works, but it’s not available.

  • avatar Doug Zoern

    Depends on how you look at the image. If you want it to be an image about the birds head then the foot is a distraction. If you take a step back and look at the image as a whole I think the foot adds balance. The three dark areas in the image, the foot, the dark background and the bill form a triangle fairly centered in the image so this is balanced. There is another triangle outlined by the foot and the bill back to the eye and back over to the foot. This one is off center but is balanced by the negative space in the upper right corner.

    The thing I’m not crazy about is that the leading lines through the foot and the bill lead the viewers eye out of the frame (or at least very close to the edge).

  • avatar Carol Nichols

    I would have to agree with the majority that the foot is a distraction in this image. I guess I am so used to your clean backgrounds!

  • Gatorland was great, lots of birds. I like the feet, they add a nice compositional balance. Killer eye.

  • avatar Charlie Young

    The foot,to me, is a definite distraction.

  • To me, it is distracting.

  • My eyes enjoy a right-to-left distraction. My eyes start right, drift left, go right again. What in the world is wrong with that? I enjoy this image! Arthur, can one enjoy the fruits of Gatorland with a 300mm or 400mm lens? I hope to visit the place (and other Florida locales) next winter…

    • avatar Jim Kranick


      I shoot with my 7D at Gatorland (the new FF toy has not made it there yet). If I am traveling real light I start with the 70-200 + 1.4x on the camera and the 100-400 in the bag. I think a 70-300 would be more flexable, giving me a little bit more on the wide and long ends. Depending on how the morning goes the 100-400 may never get used. Other times the 500 comes out for most of the morning.

      At times I will bring my 500mm and tripod for the morning but I always bring it for the afternoon and shoot east over the lake. The second and third floors of the tower are good for this.

      • Thanks much for the info, Jim. I had in mind the 70-300 as well. “The second and third floors of the tower.” Now, a phrase like that has certainly piqued my interest. Flight shots of incoming waterbirds? Who knows? It sounds like a magical place. I’m also told that Gatorland ain’t what it used to be, but that’s also just the way things go. Will be happy and excited to discover the place with my own eyes…

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Hi Jack, You can make tons of great images with the 70-300, especially in the am as Jim noted. But working from the tower in the afternoon or on cloudy days you will have opportunities to create top shots (dorsal views) of the herons and egrets in flight.

  • The foot is a distraction that draws my eye away from the beautiful eye and beak of the egret.

  • avatar Al Meeker


  • I do not think it adds to the image. I figured it must be a leg/foot, but I wasn’t sure. I think it does detract, mostly because it’s difficult to determine just what it is.