The Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II in Low Light/What Is It? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II in Low Light/What Is It?

This Great Blue Heron was photographed at Anhinga Trail with the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops as framed: 1/500 sec. at f/2.8.

61-point/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II in Low Light

I set out each morning at Anhinga Trail with the 600 II on my shoulder on a tripod with a 1D X mounted to it and both the 70-200 f/2.8L & the 24-105mm in my vest. In my left hand I held the 300 f/2.8L IS lens with a 1D X on it. When I came upon a situation that I wanted to photograph, I placed the vest on the asphalt walkway or the boardwalk and went with either the 600 II or the 300 II. I was photographing this Great Blue Heron with the hand held 300 II on a very foggy morning. I was sitting low shooting under the small wooden railing that abuts Taylor Slough. In the low light and fog it only made sense to go without the 1.4X TC and get as close as possible. I started off adding a bit too much light and cut back to +1 1/3 after noting some blinkies on the bird’s crown.

I missed the strike but created a long series of images of the bird with its breakfast. After he attempted and failed to swallow the prey item the bird dropped it on the ground and started over. Eventually, he was successful.

This Great Blue Heron was photographed at Anhinga Trail with the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops as framed: 1/320 sec. at f/3.2.

61-point/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

What Is It?

If anyone has a clue as to what the prey item is, please leave a comment. If you know for sure, that would work well too. I am thinking that it is not a fish. And that possibly it is an amphibian, some the larval stage of a salamander species….


If you have any questions on my choice of aperture or on the exposure settings, or anything else for that matter, fire away.

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16 comments to The Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II in Low Light/What Is It?

  • avatar Swaranjeet Singh

    A query Art

    Now that you have the 200-400, what all would you have carried if you were to go for this shoot tomorrow

  • avatar Kevin S

    Definitely some species of fish. It is 100% not a Siren, Dwarf Siren, or Amphiuma, which are the eel-like amphibians that occur in south Florida(and all species I have a lot of experience with).

  • avatar Faraaz

    Nice work on a foggy morning Artie. I always seem to run into trouble shooting in these conditions :-(. No idea about the prey item.

  • avatar Tim Hurley

    Looks to me like a Two-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma means).

  • avatar Glen Graham

    Hard to see, but if those are front legs, then this looks like a baby Siren to me Art.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Great images as always. As for what the heron’s breakfast is, well, beyond saying it’s a fish, I don’t know. It doesn’t look like an eel to me–it actually looks like an eel-blenny, but I don’t know if there are any in the Everglades. There are quite a few exotic and many native fish species there, and it wouldn’t be surprising that your bird found a species not previously known from there. If you were close to saltwater (say near Flamingo), then there are a bunch of marine species it could have been as well. If you can send me a crop, I might be able to recognize it but certainly could send it to someone who would.

  • avatar Neil Hickman

    Wouldn’t 1/250 @ f/4 given you more detail on the head feathers?

  • avatar Dan Brown

    Going in these images, Artie’s eel has a dorsal fin, anal fin and a tail fin. The Asian eel has none of these fins. The snout is much longer than the asian eel and the overall length is much shorter than an asian eel of that width. The spots are not showing but there are “Peacock” type eels that do not have the spots and are kept in the tropical fish hobby. Cropped blowups from the raw images would reveal much more info.

  • avatar Mark

    Sorry, you’re all wrong. It’s the strap from a Nikon D4 that’s been swallowed by the 1Dx. lol

    Nice shootin’, pardna.


  • avatar Don Burnham

    I believe it is a siren salamander

  • avatar Andrew

    A peacock eel has a blunt tail with spots on it. The eel in Artie’s image has a tapered tail & no spots. This leads me to think that it is an asian swamp eel instead of a peacock eel.

  • avatar Dan Brown

    I just googled Peacock Eel and it looks good for your wiggler!

  • avatar Dan Brown

    Hi Artie. It looks to me like an eel. Possibly an introduced species of eel. The pointed snout looks similar to many of the eels that I have seen in tropical fish stores. There are many, many tropical fish farms in Fl. Many have outdoor stock ponds that get flooded with just about every hurricane, thus many aquatic species escape into the waterways. A crop of the fish may help with id by someone with more knowledge than I.

  • avatar Klaus-Dieter Schleim

    Hi Art,
    It apears to me as an old aquarist and biologist that we dealing here with an exotic none-native species i.e. an escapy from the aqarium trade…. and is an Asian Spiny eel specie. You never know what exotic species Florida fishing birds will come up with.