Canon 100-400mm IS L II/7D Mark II: 640 Hand Held for Flight Rocks/Too Little Time… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Canon 100-400mm IS L II/7D Mark II: 640 Hand Held for Flight Rocks/Too Little Time...

Great “Love Affair” News

I just learned that my Canon EoL-sponsored program, “A Twenty Year Love Affair With Bosque,” is not only free and open to the public but that folks do not need to register. Just show up at the Bodega Restaurant in Socorro at 1pm and enjoy: 606 N California St. The program will be over at 2:40pm so you will be have time to get out and enjoy some sweet afternoon light. Blog readers who attend are welcome to come up and give me a hug.

The Streak Continues: 355

On Tuesday night I was sick as a dog after eating some un-refrigerated left-overs…. Can you say food poisoning? Not fun. The only thing that saved me is the fact that I travel with activated charcoal tablets and downed most of the bottle during the night. I slept very little but felt well enough to head down to the refuge at 6:15am. I missed some sublime predawn colors.

I dropped off the 100-400 II at Fed Ex just south of the airport; it will be back to Canon at the new HQ at Melville, long Island, NY before 9am tomorrow. I was sad to see it go :(. Then I continued on to ABQ to pick up Lady D.

The geese were right next to the road just past the paybooth as Denise and I were setting up our gear, having headed to the refuge practically straight from the airport. By the time we were ready to spring into action, the last of the geese floating in still blue water had departed.

After a superb night’s sleep I am feeling a thousand times better than yesterday. This blog post, the 355th in a row, took about 2 1/2 hours to prepare. It was published from my hotel room in Socorro, NM at 4:15am.

If you are in Bosque right now it would be best not to miss our seminar at the Festival this afternoon :).

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This image was created on Wednesday morning past with the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (hand held at 400mm) and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Central sensor AI Servo/Surround Rear Button AF on the bird’s face 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.

Canon 100-400mm IS L II/7D Mark II: 640 Hand Held for Flight Rocks

I had only limited opportunities to work with the 100-400II. And none really in an excellent flight situation. That said, I did get to use it some on Wednesday morning at one of the crane pools. BTW, both crane pools are in pretty poor shape and the one to the north is completely overgrown. Refuge manager Kevin Cobble explained that unexpected but welcome rain left both pools too muddy to be plowed and disked. In addition, we have had winds from the NW every morning since I arrived. The cranes take off to the west without offering any good flight photography chances.

Hand holding the 100-400 II will take a bit of getting used to as it does not balance as nicely as the original one; I find it a bit awkward as I did the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens. I am sure that folks who own and use the new 100-400 will get used to it quickly. I hope to be one of those. The lens trend lately is lighter and lighter and the 7D II drives the whole shooting match….


This image was also created on Wednesday morning past with the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (hand held at 255mm) and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 800. Evaluative metering off the yellow grass at zero: 1/2000 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode.

Central sensor AI Servo/Surround Rear Button AF on the bird’s butt as originally framed 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.

Several Important Things to Note

1: 7D Mark II AF is indeed remarkable.
2: Having the ability to zoom out for flight photography.
3: The new Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens will have two primary uses:
a: hanging on a Black Rapid RS-7 strap as an auxiliary intermediate flight lens for folks toting big glass.
b: as the main lens of folks who can not afford or carry one of the super-telephotos.
4: The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens in combination with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II will further revolutionize bird photography opening up a new world to both beginning bird photographers and birders curious about photographing birds.


This sharpened JPEG represents a 200% view of the optimized image. Amazingly, the optimized image that opened this blog post is a fairly substantial crop. See more below.

Whaddy Think?

Considering that the optimized image was a decent crop I would say that both sharpness and image quality are astoundingly good. Background noise was smoothed with a small dose of Filter > Blur > Surface Blur. In addition I did some Eye Doctor work and sharpened the face only with a contrast mask. The subject bird was moved down and back in the frame using techniques from APTATS II and clean-up was done using techniques from APTATS II and Denise Ippolito’s protective cloning on a layer techniques. See more below.


This is an in-progress JPEG. It shows where I was at after moving the bird down and back in the frame.

Digital Basics

Everything that I did to optimize today’s image is covered in detail in my Digital Basics File–written in my easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand style. Are you tired of making your images look worse in Photoshop? Digital Basics File is an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips (including the Surface Blur settings as taught to me by Denise Ippolito), details on using all of my image clean-up tools, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro basics, Contrast Masks, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs, Tim Grey Dodge and Burn, a variety of ways to make selections, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.


Learn the details of advanced Quick Masking techniques in APTATS I. Learn Advanced Layer Masking Techniques in APTATS II. Mention this blog post and apply a $5 discount to either with phone orders only. Buy both APTATS I and APTATS II and we will be glad to apply at $15 discount with phone orders only. Please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 weekdays to order.

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 an 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.

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.


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.


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5 comments to Canon 100-400mm IS L II/7D Mark II: 640 Hand Held for Flight Rocks/Too Little Time…

  • avatar Sarah Mayhew

    Ordered my 7D II yesterday using your link. Can’t wait to get it!! Thanks for all the reviewing, really helped.

  • avatar Bill Eaton

    Can’t wait for my 7D MarkII to arrive which by the way I ordered through the link on your blog site.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, which by the way I can’t explain how much I appreciate that! later and love, artie

  • avatar Hugh Metcalfe

    The 100-400 IS II looks very promising as a great option for those like myself on a limited budget. Can’t wait to try it on my 7D Mark II 🙂