As Promised… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

As Promised...

The Streak Continues: 208

It is now just before 6:00am here at my home in Indian Lake Estates. I am getting really excited about the UK Puffin IPT. I fly to Newark on Tuesday afternoon where I will meet Denise and one of our 7 clients for the red eye flight to Edinburgh, Scotland, arriving in the UK at 7:55am on Wednesday morning. This post took about 2 hours to prepare. Enjoy and learn.

This post marks 208 consecutive days with a new blog post. With so many folks getting in the habit of using our B&H links and our Amazon logo-links why quit now? April, May and June have been fantastic as lots of folks are getting the message; using my affiliate links does not cost you a penny and helps support my efforts here. To show your appreciation, I do ask that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, and the like. We sell only what I have used and tested, and know that you can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know the tools that 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.

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This image was created on May 30, 2014 at Fort DeSoto with the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops as framed: 1/640 sec. at f/5.6 in Av mode. AWB.

Two sensors up from the central sensor/Rear Focus/AI Servo AF as framed on Jim’s left hand was active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Keep Your Butt Clean & Dry Knee-Pod Position

The Trip

I have been going to Bradenton and Tampa for some alternative medicine therapies for my right shoulder, left knee, and on Wednesday June 25, for some experimental prolozone stuff on my 3 trigger fingers. Early results on the shoulder and the knee are very promising but I need to give it some time before I share the whole story with you. I do not want to put a jinx on things. 🙂

On our first visit to the Bradenton office Jim and I stayed over on St. Pete Beach and enjoyed a short busman’s holiday with a morning of photography at Fort DeSoto Park. I set Jim up with my Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender and with one of my Canon EOS-1D X bodies.

You can see 6 wonderful images from our great morning in the “The Amazing Canon 300mm F/2.8L IS USM Lens/Part II of a Series: The Revelation” blog post here. BTW, I simply could not pick a favorite from among those 6; I love each one of them.


This image was (obviously) also created on May 30, 2014 at Fort DeSoto with the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops as framed: 1/640 sec. at f/5.6 in Av mode. AWB.

Three sensors to the right and one row up from the central sensor/Rear Focus/AI Servo AF as framed on the spot where the camera body meets the lens barrel was active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #2: Get Your Butt Dirty Knee-Pod Position

As Promised/Almost…

I have long been saying that I would publish an image of me using my knee-pod, with my left knee supporting what I would call the back of my left forearm. When Jim and I were on the beach early that day a light cloud passed in front of the sun so I asked Jim to pose for me. He did. Thanks Jim! I will try to have some images made of me using my knee pod position made on the UK Puffin IPT as I will be using the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens a great deal of the time.

I use the knee-pod position shown in Image #2 as it is far more stable than the one shown in Image #1, the Keep Your Butt Clean & Dry Knee-Pod Position. When you keep your butt clean there is a lot more stress on both knees, and for me, anytime I get down on one knee I invite serious hamstring cramps.

CRX-5 Fine Point

I do things a bit differently than Jim when it comes to gripping the CRX-5 plate advantageously when using the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lLens with Internal 1.4x Extender. I grasp the front of the plate with the last 2 fingers of my left hand; this allows my thumb along with my pointer and my long (as my hand surgeon Dr. Steve Puopolo calls the middle finger) fingers to fall on the zoom ring. I did not realize until this morning that Jim has his fingers on the focus ring. Though this is a fine point it is an important one. It was the first time that Jim had used the 200-400.

I would be remiss by not mentioning that hiring Jim–wow!–could it be more than 10 years ago?, was one of the best and smartest things that I have ever done. In addition to being my right- hand man, someone I depend on every day to keep BAA running smoothly, Jim has been and is a great friend. Having him in my life has been a great blessing. We are the same age; I have told him that he is not allowed to quit until they nail my box shut. 🙂

No matter which fingers you put on the zoom ring it is pretty much impossible for most folks to zoom more than 50mm in either direction as discussed in the recent “The Two Things I Hate About the 200-400 with Internal Extender” blog post here.

The Question of the Day

The question here today is why is the Get Your Butt Dirty Knee-Pod Position more stable than the Keep Your Butt Clean & Dry Knee-Pod Position?

Added Bonus Questions

#1: Why is it unnecessary for Jim to have his fingers on the focusing ring?

#2: When hand holding, why is it necessary to be in AI Servo rather than One-Shot AF?

#3: When hand holding, why is it best to have AF active at the moment of exposure if at all possible?

Miracle of Miracles

Right now we have both the Gitzo tripods, Mongoose M3.6 and the CRX-5 plate in stock.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

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 (or less for a $25 fee). 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.

In the past two weeks, practically everything on the shelves has been sold. I am still at a loss as to how Jim Bicket’s 800 has not sold. It is a great lens in perfect condition that is more than fairly priced. B&H is asking $11,999.90 for a used one in the same condition here. Buy Jim’s lens and save $3249.90 right now!

And be sure to check out the great Mongoose M3.6 package.

IAC, there are several great new listings including Carl Zanoni’s immaculate 500 II, another great 400 DO, and Michael Zajac’s Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Coming soon: a 500 f/4 L IS, a 300 f/28 L IS, and an EOS-5D Mark III/24-105 kit with extras. I share all of the current listings with you below.

Used Gear Caution

Though I am not in a position to post images of gear for sale here or elsewhere, prospective buyers are encouraged to request for photos of the gear that they are interested in purchasing via e-mail. Doing so will help to avoid any misunderstandings as to the condition of the gear.

Canon 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Multiple IPT veteran and BAA friend Carl Zanoni is offering an immaculate Canon 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens in Like New condition for the ridiculously low price of $8,999. With lots of extras. The sale includes the Canon E-163B Lens Cap, a Canon Rear Lens Cap, the Canon ET-138W II Lens Hood, the Canon Hard Lens Trunk 500B, a Canon Drop-in 52mm Circular Polarizer, 2 Canon shoulder straps, a LensCoat(Realtree Max 4), a Kirk LP-55SG Quick Release Plate/Foot, the original Canon lens foot, and insured UPS Ground shipping to US addresses. The items will be shipped only after the buyer’s check clears.

Please contact Carl via e-mail or by phone at 860 349 3840. This is a dream lens for all bird and wildlife photographers who do not want to deal with the bulk and weight of a 600mm lens. Save a ton as the lens sells new for $10,499.00.

Canon 400 DO IS USM Lens

Joe Messina is offering a used Canon 400 DO IS USM lens in very good ++ condition for $4200. There are some minor cosmetic scratches to the finish. The lens hood is slightly out of round and is difficult to install. The sale includes an AquaTech flexible strap-on hood, a $150 value. The sale also includes the lens trunk (with key), the original leather hood, and a hard plastic lens cap. The seller will pay insured UPS shipping within continental US. The lens will ship after the check clears.

Please contact Joe via e-mail or by phone at 415-563-6577.

If you are looking for a fast, lightweight, hand holdable telephoto lens, this is the lens for you. Learn a ton more about the 400 DO here and see lots of 400 DO images by visiting the “The Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO Lens: Fourteen Images that Prove that the Internet Experts are (As Usual) Idiots” blog post here. The lens sells new at B&H for $6499.00.

Canon EOS-1D Mark III

Michael Zajac is offering a Canon EOS-1D Mark III professional digital camera body in Excellent condition for $1250. The sale includes the battery charger, one battery, the original paperwork, the camera strap, the original box, and shipping to the continental US.

Please contact Michael via e-mail or by phone at 732-979 -6644. Photos are available upon request.

Some EOS-1D Mark III bodies originally had AF problems. Michael’s did not. I have seen his great flight images made with this camera. This body features a 1.3X crop factor sensor and is a great step-up for someone who wants to take a big step up from a 7D. It’s powerful battery drives AF much faster than the pro-sumer bodies especially with either a 1.4X or 2X teleconverter in place.

Used Mongoose Package for Sale

Upgraded Mongoose M3.5 Package: $630

John Stuhlmuller is offering a used Mongoose M3.5 tripod head that has been upgraded to an M3.6 (approximate value $550). The only differences between a refurbished M3.5 and a new M3.6 is the internal finish of several parts. Otherwise, it functions as an M3.6, the head I have used and depended on for nearly a decade. The sale includes an installed Horizontal Low Mount Arm (sells new for $90), the Integrated Flash Arm (sells new for $110), a CR-X5 plate, the low foot for the four Series II Canon Super-Telephoto lenses and teh 200-400 (sells for $122 new), a CP16 lens plate for B-tripod ring lenses like the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS (sells for $75 new).

There are some minor scratches on the top of the mounting clamp. Otherwise, there are no other signs of wear and the head works perfectly. John prefers his Wimberley V2 head.

The package is valued at approximately $947. The cost of insured ground shipping to US addresses is included. Sale price: $630. Save $300+.

Contact John via e-mail. Photos available upon request.

Used Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS Lens for Sale

Multiple IPT veteran, the too-kind Jim Bicket, is offering a Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM lens in excellent condition for $8750. The lens is like new except for some wear on the bottom of the lens hood near the forward edge when the hood is reversed. The sales includes the LensCoat that has protected the lens since day 1, the leather hood, the original hard case and key, and insured shipping via UPS Ground to US addresses only. Personal checks only; your new lens will be shipped only after your check clears.

This great lens, my favorite for 3 years, sells new at B&H for $13,999.00. B&H is asking $11,999.90 for a used one in the same condition as Jim’s here. Buy Jim’s lens and save $3249.90 right now! It will save you a ton of dough and you will have a super-sharp lens with lots of reach. And it works great with a 1.4X TC too.

Interested folks can contact Jim via e-mail or try him at 501-915-9336.

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In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. 🙂

16 comments to As Promised…

  • avatar Sharon Hallowell

    The wider the base, the greater the stability. Some of us come with wider bases than others 🙂

  • avatar Jack Goodman

    Artie, a simple vector diagram will explain why the dirty butt position is more stable. Jack

  • avatar PK UK

    Down on one knee your leg muscles are in tension and will have a tendency to shake creating a less stable “platform.” When sitting down your leg muscles will relax increasing stability.

  • avatar Howie Rivers

    Artie and Jim excellent! I would love to see a close up of Artie griping the mongoose M3.6 on sticks in the standing position for getting optimum sharpness. Thanks


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. Those pix are in ABP II but I will see what we can do. In addition there is a section there on Advanced Sharpness Techniques.

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    Hi Artie, thanks for putting a face to the cheerful voice we hear on the phone.

  • avatar John Haedo

    Butt on the sand:
    1. The butt on the sand and two feet firmly planted on the sand gives the body greater stability – center of gravity closer to the ground and wider positioning than the knee-hold acts like extending a tripod’s legs further out in the seated position
    2. The seated position is more natural and comfortable, allowing the person to stay in the shooting position for a longer period of time, also contributing to greater stability
    3. With the seated position, the whole forearm is being supported by the leg, making the arm (and therefore the tripod) more stable. Knee on the ground is less stable because only the elbow is being supported, not the entire forearm
    4. Seated position: the butt is larger than the knee and provides more stability because the center of gravity is distributed along a wider platform.
    5. In the seated position both soles of the feet are fully planted on the sand as opposed to just the tip of the toes in the knee position, again giving the stability advantage to the seated position.
    Thanks for the tip!

  • Just had to throw some bonus questions in there 🙂

    #2: When hand holding, why is it necessary to be in AI Servo rather than One-Shot AF?

    Because no matter how much we think we’re perfectly still, we aren’t. So being in AI-Servo
    will catch any change in distance due to a slight movement to the left, right, back or


  • avatar Bill Richardson

    Shooting off a knee with your butt raised is using a monopod, shooting with your butt in the sand is using a tripod. Tripods (human or carbon fiber) are always more stable than monopods. As a former big bore rifle shooter, Shooting off my knee with my butt raised is pretty much a non starter.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Bill, Please explain what you mean by a non starter. artie

      • avatar Bill Richardson

        Not the best choice of words. What I meant to say was that the butt down position is much preferred and the off the knee position is used only when absolutely necessary as when advancing quickly. A bit quicker to get in and out of.

  • The question here today is why is the Get Your Butt Dirty Knee-Pod Position more stable than the Keep Your Butt Clean & Dry Knee-Pod Position?

    Tough one…With the clean position it looks like you might have more weight toward the front making it just a little bit harder to hold the lens firmly…in other words you might be fighting just a little bit more to keep the lens stable. There might also be some rocking involved.

    With the dirty position you have more support cause the whole arm is being supported by your leg. I’m also guessing the right arm is also being supported by being placed on your right leg or waist. It’s a more even distribution all around weight wise. There’s also less likely to rock back and forth since you’re seated squarely on the ground.