Creativity and the Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS with Internal TC: Sunset-with-no-birds-Versatility « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Creativity and the Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS with Internal TC: Sunset-with-no-birds-Versatility


I had a very relaxing day: acupuncture and core exercises, Masters golf on the tube, and early to bed. I will be joining top student and friend Clemens van der Werf at Lake Blue Cypress tomorrow morning for more Osprey flight photography. If you’d like to get out with Jim Neiger for Ospreys this month please, see yesterday’s blog post here and scroll down.

This educational blog post, the 93rd in a row, took 1 1/2 hours to prepare and was published at one minute after midnight on Saturday.

St. Augustine Short Notice IPT

With just three folks signed up, this trip represents a great opportunity to learn a ton in a great setting. See here for complete details.

South Georgia

Like penguins? Please click here to learn about joining the BIRDS AS ART group on the great Cheesemans’ South Georgia Expedition next October.


This image was created at Lake Blue Cypress with the hand held Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (at 200mm) and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 800. Evaluative metering -1 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/16 in Av mode. Color temperature K8000.

Three AF points below the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Vertical sunset including distant shoreline and faint sun

Sunset Strategies With the 200-400 with Internal TC

The sunset was looking potentially like a wide angle monster but the single dense cloud on the horizon provided some nice but concentrated color. I put away the 16-35 and grabbed the 2-4 that I had been using for Osprey flight photograph all day long. For the opening image I went wide and vertical and sharp. For the next image I went much tighter and pan blur. I tried a few others but these were my two faves.

Image Question

For the image above, why would a lower ISO been a much better choice?


This image was created at Lake Blue Cypress with the hand held Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (at 338mm) and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 200. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/15 sec. at f/32 in Tv mode. Color temperature K8000.

Two AF points below the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. I panned left to right during the exposure trying my best to keep the camera level. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #2: Horizontal sunset pan blur

Your Favorite?

Which of today’s two images is your favorite? Be sure to let us know why you made your choice.


All of the images in the bear boat card above were created in Katmai National Park during the month of September.

Just One Slot Left!

Bear Boat/Bears Catching Salmon IPT: September 1-8, 2015 from Kodiak, AK/6 FULL & 2 1/2 DAYS: $6699. Happy campers only! Maximum 8/Openings: 1. Plus the leader: Arthur Morris.

Join me in Katmai National Park, AK for seven days of photographing Coastal Brown Bears (grizzlies) catching salmon, fattening up for the long winter. Other subjects will include Mew and Glaucous-winged Gulls in flight and dip-feeding on salmon roe. Did I mention that we live on a boat and that the food is great? Most of our photography will be done in a variety of famed locations: Geographic Harbor, Kinak Bay, and Kukak Bay. We once had 39 bears fishing the creek at Kukak….

It is mandatory that you be in Kodiak no later than the late afternoon of August 31, 2015 September to avoid missing the float planes to the boat on the morning of September 1. With air travel in AK being what it is, with the chance of fog or other bad weather–being on Kodiak on August 30 is an even better plan). I will be on Kodiak on August 30 to avoid any potential disaster. That said in my nearly a dozen bear boat trips I was delayed only once but since I was day early as noted above there was no harm, no foul.

We will take one or more float planes to the boat mid-morning on September 1. We will photograph bears fishing that afternoon and every day for the next six days (weather permitting of course). We should have bears catching salmon every day. In addition, we will get some nice stuff on Mew Gull and Glaucous-winged Gulls dining on roe and the remains of predated salmon. We may–depending on where the concentrations of bears are–get to photograph Harbor seals and some hauled out Steller’s Sea Lions (an endangered species). Halibut fishing (license required) is optional. On September 8, our last morning on the boat, those who would like to enjoy one last photo session will do so. The group returns to Kodiak via float plane midday. Most folks will fly to Anchorage and then continue on red-eye flights to their home cities.

The eight days will consist of six full days (Sept 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7) of photography featuring lots of Coastal Brown Bears catching salmon as above plus a variety of other natural history subjects plus some nice scenic photography that I forgot to mention above. Plus the first afternoon and the last morning.

What’s included? 8 DAYS/7 NIGHTS on the boat as above. All meals on the boat. (The food is quite excellent.) National Park fees. One night’s double occupancy lodging on Kodiak; arrive: Sept 1/depart: Sept 2. The thank-you-in-advance dinner on Sept 1. In-the-field photo tips, instruction, and guidance. An insight into the mind of a top professional; I will constantly let you know what I am thinking, what I am doing, and why I am doing it. Small group image review, image sharing, and Photoshop instruction on the boat.

What’s not included: Your round trip airfare to and from Kodiak, AK (almost surely through Anchorage). All necessary lodging other than the cost of your double occupancy room on the night of August 31 should you opt to arrive early–we can arrange that in advance for you. We will let you know the cost of a single supplement for the one night if so desired. The cost of the round-trip float plane to the boat on September 2 and back to Kodiak on September 9. The cost of a round trip this year was $500. The suggested crew tip of $210.

Is this an expensive trip? Yes, of course. But with 6 full and two half days, a wealth of great subjects, and the fact that you will be walking with the bears just yards away (or less….) it will be one of the great natural history experiences of your life. Most folks who take part in a Bear Boat IPT wind up coming back for more.

A $2,000 per person non-refundable deposit by check only made out to “Arthur Morris” is required to hold your spot. Please click here to read our cancellation policy. Then please print, read, and sign the necessary paperwork here and send it to us.

Your deposit is due immediately. That will leave a balance of $4699. The next payment of $2699 will be due on February 15, 2015. The final payment of $2000 is due on May 1, 2015.

I hope that you can join us for this wondrously exciting trip.


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7 comments to Creativity and the Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS with Internal TC: Sunset-with-no-birds-Versatility

  • avatar Kathy Graff

    My favorite image is the first one. I agree with David Peake: lower ISO of 400 would produce a less noisy image since there are some very dark areas. I’d like to add that then your shutter speed would have been reduced to 1/500th sec which would still have kept the water nice and sharp.

  • avatar Ron Gates

    I liked the blur better. Nice sunset but more interesting as a blur.

  • My vote is #1. There’s a lot going on here, with the
    different shapes/textures (can’t think of a good name) of
    the lake, the black land and then the sky.

    You could probably make three different crops out of this.
    1. The foreground water only with the sun reflection.
    2. The land and the next section of water.
    3. The sky only.


  • avatar Carmen Stunkel

    I prefer #1. The striation in this vertical image seems to give the sunset and its reflection more importance. The darker band with windswept chop, tree line and lower clouds is a nice counterpoint to the brilliance of the sunset and its refection.

  • avatar Michelle T

    I always like your blurred abstracts, so I like the second better. I figured you lowered the ISO for a slower shutter speed, so that you have time to pan. Of course it makes it less noisy, too. Thanks always for the education.

  • avatar David Peake

    You have one stop under exposure dialled in . For a less noisy image alter your ISO first to 400

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey David, You are right on the money. At -1 to save the highlights the dark tones get ugly fast…. artie