It’s Been a Long Time: Flash Re-visited & Mint 500mm f/4L IS II For Sale « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

It's Been a Long Time: Flash Re-visited & Mint 500mm f/4L IS II For Sale


This post marks 115 straight days with a new educational blog post. With so many folks getting in the habit of using our B&H and Amazon links why quit now? To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we do ask that you use our B&H and Amazon affiliate links for all of your B&H and Amazon purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store. We sell only what I use and 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.

You can find the following items in the store: Gitzo tripods, Mongoose M3.6 and Wimberley heads, plates, low feet, and accessories, flash brackets, , Delkin e-film Pro Compact Flash Cards, LensCoat products, and our unique line-up of educational materials including ABP I & II, Digital Basics, Site and Set-up e-Guides, Canon and Nikon Camera Users and AF e-Guides, and MP-4 Photoshop video tutorials among others.

We would of course appreciate your using our B&H and Amazon affiliate links for all of your B&H and Amazon major gear, video, electronic, household, and personal purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and visiting the BAA Online store as well.

New friend Jim Weerts and I photographed two local Sandhill Crane colts down by the lake on Sunday morning. Then it was a day of working on Gatorland images, swimming, napping, and mostly over-eating :(. I am back in the groove of healthy eating today.


This displaying Snowy Egret image was created 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 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop as framed: 1/60 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode. Color Temperature: AWB.

Fill flash with Better Beamer at -3 stops in ETTL. Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT with the Canon CP-E4 Compact Battery Pack for faster re-charging times. Mongoose Integrated Flash Arm with the Canon OC-E3 Off Camera Shoe Cord 3.

Central sensor (by necessity) Expand/AI Servo/Rear Focus on the base of the bill in front of the eyes where the pink meets the gray active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

It’s Been a Long Time: Flash Re-visited

A quick search revealed that the last time I used flash was at Gatorland almost 2 years ago on April 29, 2012.

The image above illustrates the perfect use of fill flash. Having the flash on a bracket preventing messing up the eye (flash eye, silver eye, purple eye, eye destruction, or all of the above). The flash added a bit of extra sharpness to the eyes and the feathers while working at a relatively slow shutter speed (1/60 sec.) at a long effective focal length (1200mm). Lastly, the flash helped restore the proper color balance.

There will be lots more on flash here on the blog in the next few days. Including tales of some major screw-ups by yours truly.

Flash Simplified

If you are clueless when it comes to flash you are advised to study the “Flash Simplified” section in The Art of Bird Photography II. ABP II: 916 pages on CD only with 900+ great images each with one of our legendary BAA educational captions. Just like the ones you see here on the blog. Topics covered include flash gear and set-up, Better Beamer basics, telephoto fill flash, flash as main light, and the use of Manual flash. The use of High Speed Synch for flash flight photography is detailed in various image captions.

I had several ABP IIs for sale on the bench at the Gator Breeding Marsh these last two weekends. Though virtually every single photographer there would have benefited greatly by getting a copy and studying this amazing resource, I sold not a one….

Why the 5D Mark III/600II/2X III TC Combo?

I have said it here often, “When the speed of initial AF acquisition and the frame rate do not matter, the 5D III, with its larger files, will always be my choice over the 1D X.” For me, it’s a no-brainer.

Mint Canon 500mm f/4L IS II Super-telephoto Lens for Sale: $8799

Lens Sold in 5 Minutes for the Asking Price

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20% plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500. If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advise, usually sells in no time flat as did Dennis Cassidy’s 500 II.

Another Gatorland Short Notice Saturday Full-Day In-the-Field Workshop

Saturday March 29, 2014. 7:15am till 10:15am & 4:00pm till dusk. Lunch, image review, and Photoshop session included. Limit 6. A very small group is again likely: $399.

The cost of your Gatorland Photographer’s Pass is not included.

Gatorland is so good right now that I am going back next Saturday (March 29). The Snowy and Cattle Egrets are in way early and there are many in full breeding plumage. Here’s the story: last week there were about two dozen photographers at Gatorland on Saturday past. Aside from two decent photographers–I can tell by where you are pointing your lens…, nobody had a clue as to how to make a good image…. Yesterday it was even worse; pretty much no one had a clue. Most folks just stand in one spot and point and shoot. Without regard for light angle or background. Join me on this, the 3rd Gatorland Short Notice Saturday Full-Day In-the-Field Workshop and you will learn to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. A big part of the above is that you will learn how and why you must work in Manual mode 90% of the time at Gatorland. That is exactly what Jim Weertz learned on Saturday past.

At lunch we will review my images, take a look at five of your best images from the morning session (for those who opt to bring their laptops), and process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time. Last Saturday all 3 folks had a great time and learned a ton. And the weather for this coming Saturday is looking good.

Payment in full via credit card is due upon registering. Please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 to register. Ask for me if you have any questions.

Lake Blue Cypress with Jim Neiger

Over the next many weeks Jim Neiger and I will be offering full day Osprey Heaven In-the-Field Workshops. Rates and potential dates will be announced soon. If you are interested please shoot me an e-mail; group size will be strictly limited to four hand holding photographers.

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7 comments to It’s Been a Long Time: Flash Re-visited & Mint 500mm f/4L IS II For Sale

  • avatar Chris Houston

    I thought you had stopped using a bracket with your flash? Curious to hear if you recommend one or not now. I’m thinking about getting into flash sometime in the future.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I quit using a bracket for hand held flight. The right bracket is mandatory with big glass to reduce the number of problems with steel eye, flash eye, and purple eye.

      See your choices here.

  • avatar Ivan Turpin

    Great photo! However, might the photo have been better if the plumes hadn’t been clipped?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Ivan, Depends on tastes…. Go wider and those eyes have less impact. And I would have to have gone a lot wider to totally avoid clipping them. I like it as is :). I do remember moving the tripod back to get to this framing. artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    I agree totally with Nancy. Did you by any chance make an image of the bird without a flash so we can compare?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks both. Not with this image but I think that I may have some others with and without. artie

  • Totally awesome image of the Snowy Egret! Love that the only colors are the red face and clear yellow eyes,and that fabulous explosion of breeding plumes that fill the entire frame.