Canon EOS-1D X, EOS-5D Mark III, EOS-7D Mark II at Bosque del Apache NWR/Which One When and Why? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Canon EOS-1D X, EOS-5D Mark III, EOS-7D Mark II at Bosque del Apache NWR/Which One When and Why?

The Streak Continues: 349

On Thursday I flew to DC for the Nature’s Best ceremony. I brought the 5D III and the 24-70. This blog post, the 349th in a row, took about 1 1/2 hours to prepare. It was published from hotel room in Arlington, VA at 3:41am. Gotta run as I fly to ABQ from Reagan at 6:45am. I will be home for only 3 full days between tomorrow and January 13, 2015. 🙂

It looks as if the sale of the 600 II featured in Tuesday’s blog post will soon be completed. There is still lots of great used gear listed here.

Thanks to all who pre-ordered the new Canon 100-400 II using our affiliate link. All orders have been forwarded for expediting. And it looks as if all expedited 7D II orders, even the most recent ones, have been shipped. Many thanks to Yechiel Orgel at B&H for his help :).

Please Help Support My Work on the BAA Blog

Thanks a Stack! October was a Great Month.

October was a very rewarding month. Thanks a stack to all who used our B&H links for purchases large and small.

To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we ask, as always, that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. B&H Is recommended for you major photography gear purchases, Amazon for your household, entertainment, and general purpose stuff. 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, have tested, and can 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.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic 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.

If what you’ve learned here on my blog about the Canon EOS-7D Mark II has inspired you to purchase this great new camera body, please consider using the logo link above to support our efforts here in bringing you the latest, greatest educational materials on daily basis.


Sometimes at sunrise you will want to go wide angle on the tiny ballhead with a full frame body. This one was 24-105mm at 24mm and a full frame body, either the 5D II or the 5D III.

Which Camera Body When?

I will have five camera bodies with me for my nearly month long sojourn at Bosque: my two 1D X bodies (one sent via UPS Ground last week and one in a checked bag!), my EOS-5D Mark III, my very own EOS-7D Mark II, and the loaner 7D II that Canon has allowed me to hang onto for a while. Which body will I be using when?

To answer that question, I will take you through a typical day at Bosque situation by situation.

Pre-dawn Fly-ins and Fly-outs

The Canon 200-400 instantly became my favorite lens for pre-dawn work. It quickly gives me a focal length range of from 200 to 560mm. As I am generally not hurting for reach there will be a 1D X on the 2-4. My 70-200mm f/2.8L IS will be on my shoulder with the 5D III, again to allow me to get wider than I would with the 7D II. On some mornings, depending on the wind, I may have one of the wide angles with a full frame body within reach. For the most part the 7D IIs will stay in the car till at least 7:00am.

sandhillcrane-am-flight title=

The 600II/7D II will often be much too long for the cranes heading for the farm fields. This one was 600 and full frame or 600 and Mark IV (1.3X crop factor).

The Crane Pools

At the crane pools the 600 II with a full frame body is usually perfect. I opt for the 1D X over the 5D III here choosing frame rate over image size. But there is an interesting option that I am looking forward to trying: the 7D II on the 300 II (at times with the 1.4X III TC). Hand holding will always give you the edge over being on a tripod for flight and action provided that you can hand hold a given rig comfortably for a given period of time. The wind direction and the sky conditions determine whether I will go with a wider auxiliary rig on my shoulder. Usually not.


The Bosque Site Guide (see same below) will teach you how and why to pray for winds with southern or easterly components in the early morning 🙂 And where exactly to be.

The Farm Fields

Early in the season with the birds landing close to the road I may go with the 600 II/1D X combo. On rare occasion the birds may be landing close enough for an intermediate telephoto lens…. But those conditions are hard to come by. As the corn is knocked down farther and farther from the road I will surely go to the 600 II/7D II rig. Once blast offs are imminent, I will go wide with the full frame bodies, anywhere from fish-eye to 16-35 to 24-70 to 70-200. On clear days I will have a Singh-Ray ND or warming polarizer on each of those lenses.

Singh-Ray Filters

Singh-Ray filters have been used by the world’s top photographers for many decades. Who? Art Wolfe, Tony Sweet, John Barclay, my new friend Ian Plant, my BFF and oft-business partner, Denise Ippolito, Nevada Weir, Brenda Tharp, Cole Thompson, Chuck Kimmerle, and the late Galen Rowell among others. Singh-Ray has been and is the name in quality filters. I often use a 77mm warming polarizer set to dark at Bosque to get to a slower shutter speed in too-bright conditions. Toward that end, BIRDS AS ART is working with Singh-Ray to produce a 5-stop Neutral Density filter to to fit the filter drawers of Canon Super-telephoto lenses. Stayed tuned for info on that.

No other filter manufacturer comes close to matching the quality of Singh-Ray’s optical glass that is comparable to that used by NASA. And they continue to pioneer the most innovative products on the market like their ColorCombo polarizer, Vari-ND variable and Mor-Slo 15-stop neutral density filters. When you use their filters, you’ll create better, more dramatic images and, unlike other filters, with absolutely no sacrifice in image quality. All Singh-Ray filters are handcrafted in the USA.

Best News: 10% Discount/Code at checkout: artie10

To shop for a Singh-Ray warming polarizer (for example), click on the logo link below, click on Polarizers/color enhancing on the menu bar, choose LB Warming Polarizer, choose the size and model, add to cart, and then checkout. At checkout, type artie10 into the “Have a coupon? Click here to enter your code” box, and a healthy 10% discount will be applied to your total. In addition to enjoying the world’s best filter at 10% off you will be supporting my efforts here on the blog.

Working From the Car

As I and we (denise and I) have a few days off, we will work from the car more than we do in a typical year. As most subjects are a good ways from the vehicle, I will have the 600II with a 1.4X III and the 7D II as go-to combo. That said, the 200-400 will be on the passenger seat with a 1D X on it. I brought an empty BLUBB and will fill it with about 12 pounds of WalMart Pinto beans. BFF Denise Ippolito will be in the back seat on the driver’s side.

Lunch at K-Bob’s

You can find me most days around 11:00am at K-Bob’s at the north end of town just past the Super 8.

Early Afternoons

Early afternoons can offer a potpourri of photographic situations. I will choose my weapons based on what we find as detailed above.


When I am focal length challenged I will reach for the 600 II, 1.4X III, and 7D II at least until proven otherwise…. All on the tripod of course.

Crane Pools for Sunset

On a typical late afternoon at the crane pools you will want to go both very long and very wide. You get the idea by now 🙂 I am however, looking forward to using the 600II/1.4X III/7D II combo for the incoming crane silhouettes. AF will be faster than with the 600 II/2X III/1D X and I will have the advantage of being at f/5.6 rather than f/8; this will save me a full stop of ISO across the board. 16-35 or 24-70 on the Giottos MH 1302-655 BallHead (I call it the tiny ballhead) will rock on many evenings after most folks have gone home too early.


When the color is intense and everywhere think wide angles and full frame bodies.


Questions are welcome. Please remember that I will be flying most of the day and then setting up my hotel room and doing some micro-adjusting. But I will get to your questions asap.


Please don’t think for one moment that I do not realize how blessed I am to be able to have five camera bodies at my disposal. I understand that that is not the real world for many. Note however, that many folks own both a full frame camera–one of the 5D series, as well as a crop body, something like a 1D IV, a 7D, or even better, a 7D II.

The Bosque Site Guide

All BAA Site Guides are designed so that with a bit of study you can show up at a great place and know exactly where to be at what time on what wind and in what lighting conditions. With a Site Guide on your laptop you will feel like a 20-year veteran even on your first visit. Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. If you plan on visiting the refuge it would be foolish to make the trip without having this guide in hand. Why spend money on gear and travel and then spend days stumbling around in the wrong spots? If you have visited previously, and are still unsure of where you should be at this time of day with that wind, this guide will prove invaluable to you as well.

You can order yours here or check out all of our site guides here.

Canon Telephoto Lens Specifications, Info, and Links; Bookmark This Page!

I have added the 100-400II to the chart here. Bookmark this page and consult it often as it makes comparing different lenses and easy chore. The chart includes weight in both pounds and kilograms, MFDs in feet and inches and in meters, magnification, filter size, and the year of introduction.


Morro Bay offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects in a variety of attractive settings.

2015 Morro Bay 5-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT): MAR 14 thru MAR 18, 2015: $1999 (Limit: 8/Openings: 8.)

Meet and Greet after dinner on your own at 8:00pm on MAR 13.

Join me in one of the most beautiful and scenic places on the planet to photograph a large variety of birds of the sea and shore. As above, the star of the show will be Long-billed Curlew. There will be lots of Marbled Godwits and Willets as well as lots of the smaller shorebird species. Black Oystercatcher is likely and we should get to photograph large flocks of Western Sandpipers in flight over the bay. With any luck we should enjoy some great sunrise and sunset photography. There are lots of gulls including Western, California, and Mew. There is one good location where we should get to photograph Western, Clarke’s, Eared, and Pied-billed Grebe, Lesser Scaup, and Common Loon. We may get to photograph some passerines including Anna’s Hummingbird, Brewer’s Blackbird, and White-crowned Sparrow. And we have a chance for several species of raptors. Yikes, I almost forgot California Poppy. And California Ground Squirrel. Sea Otters are also possible.

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, five 2 1/2 hour afternoon sessions, five lunches, after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions, and of course tons of great in-the-field instruction and photographic instruction. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility.

A $499 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to use at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 12/1//2014. If the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

See lots more Morro Bay images here.

IPT Updates

Would you like to visit some of the great bird photography locations on the planet? Would you like to learn from the best? Click here and join us.


Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!

Support the BAA Blog. Support the BAA Bulletins: Shop B&H here!

We want and need to keep providing you with the latest free information, photography and Photoshop lessons, and all manner of related information. Show your appreciation by making your purchases immediately after clicking on any of our B&H or Amazon Affiliate links in this blog post. Remember, B&H ain’t just photography!


Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use this link:

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here. Many thanks to those who have written.


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

7 comments to Canon EOS-1D X, EOS-5D Mark III, EOS-7D Mark II at Bosque del Apache NWR/Which One When and Why?

  • James Saxon

    For folks that do not attend an IPT the purchase of the site guide will be a huge help and worth the investment. I have not been on an IPT but purchased the site guide, which gets the annual updates, and have used it extensively when I travel to the Bosque. Looking forward to this years updates and my upcoming trip in December.

  • David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Welcome to the Land of Enchantment, or as my wife calls it, the Land of Entrapment. 🙂 Thanks for this very helpful blog. I’m getting enough experience with Bosque by now that your place/time/wind/light comments make sense to me! I hope you don’t mind my making a suggestion about camera bodies for those of us who are blessed, but not as blessed as you with respect to how many cameras we have, and that’s Canon’s wonderful 6D. It’s “full frame” and its image quality is every bit the equal of the 5DIII’s, and might even be slightly better. It can almost see in the dark as well. So it’s a wonderful camera for the wide shots you talked about, and for low light, and it’s much less expensive than the 5DIII. So for me, I find it a perfect complement for the 7D or 7DII. It’s not really a great action camera, although it’s more than good enough for some crane shots, but that’s why I’ll bring the 7DII. The 6D loves the 70-200 f/2.8L (any version) and the 24-70 f/2.8L lenses. I look forward to seeing you soon.

  • I’ll have the following gear and will likely be in awe of the opportunities presented: 🙂
    7D2 (rental)
    May bring my 1D3
    500 f/4
    70-200 f/2.8 II
    17-40 f/4
    24-105 f/4
    1.4x and 2x converters

  • Jeffrey Friedhoffer

    As usual, beautiful pictures. A question about the caption on the first image, was it really a 600mm lens?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Ah, that would be a no. Thanks for catching my brain typo. It is being corrected item next 🙂 artie

      ps: thanks!

  • All of the images are pretty spectacular! I will also have a variety of lenses and a full & crop body.