7D II Pop Up Flash Part I of a Series… Blessings Realized « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

7D II Pop Up Flash Part I of a Series... Blessings Realized


I sat with my Mom and my younger sister Arna on Saturday afternoon and shared a year’s worth of my travels with them in the form of the optimized photographs from various trip folders. In Photo Mechanic I simply hit 1: Sort by {Type} and displayed the finished images. Two things struck me. First, I realized once again what a truly blessed life I have led. Second, I saw dozens of wonderful images that I have yet to share with you here. I should have color coded those….

Younger daughter Alissa came by with her family for dinner–she did the cooking. As the mother of two autistic boys, I have been saying that Lissy should receive a Nobel Prize for Motherhood every week. Those feelings were reinforced in spades during their visit. She literally is a saint come to earth.

This blog post, the 101st in a row, took less than an hour to prepare. I was and am tired. It should be published at one minute after midnight on Sunday.

7D II or 1D X?

Please take a look back at yesterday’s blog post here and let us know if you think that the crane images were created with the 7D II or the 1D X. Many thanks. Feel free to say “I can’t tell.”

Canon’s Huge Megapixel Bodies

Canon’s two new huge megapixel bodies are available for pre-order. If you want to get your hands on one, please pre-order by clicking on the logo-link above. They will surely be difficult to get; shoot me your B&H receipt via e-mail and I will be glad to do my best to expedite your order. Learn more about the two new bodies here.

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This image was created at Morro Bay with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 330mm) and the amazing Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/160 sec. at f/11 in Av mode. Pop up flash at 0. K9000 to enhance the sunrise colors.

AI Servo Zone/Rear Focus AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). It did a nice job with focus by activating the center AF point and the one below it. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Western Gull at dawn

7D II Pop Up Flash

I began experimenting with the 7D II’s pop up flash at Morro Bay. If is of course, most useful when you are working at extremely close range. When I was close enough for head shots, I set the flash at from between -1 and -2 stops where it acted like true fill flash. In this situation, with the brightly colored sky as back light, I set the flash at zero knowing that I needed to light the shaded side of the subject. Next time I will try +1 in this situation as I needed to brighten the WHITEs of the gull a bit in Photoshop.


Clockwise from upper left to center: Snowy Egrets/breeding plumage pair, American Alligator with egret feather on head, Cattle Egret in breeding plumage (with fill flash), large Snowy Egret chicks, displaying gator, Wood Stork in flight carrying nesting material (fill flash), begging Snowy Egret chick, another Cattle Egret in breeding plumage (with fill flash), and Great Egret chick.

Date Change: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Short-Notice Spoonbill and Wading Bird Chicks IPT: May 4-6, 2015.

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Short-Notice Spoonbill and Wading Bird Chicks IPT: May 4-6, 2015. TWO FULL and TWO 1/2 DAYS: $1099. Limit 8/Openings 5.

Call on Monday to learn of the Late Registration Discount: 863-692-0906

St. Augustine in early May is a bird photographer’s paradise. With any luck we should have chicks of all sizes in the nests ranging from newly hatched Snowy Egrets and Tricolored Herons to nearly fledged Great Egrets. More than a few pairs of Roseate Spoonbills have nested at the Alligator Farm for the past several years. Photographing the spoonbill chicks in the nest is a huge challenge…. With any luck we will encounter a few Snowy and Cattle Egrets in stunning breeding plumage. We should have lots of flight photography ops especially late in the day. We will enjoy extra early entry on our three mornings. Folks who will need a photographer’s pass need to get us $89.95. This fee includes full season early entry and late stay and submission fees for up to 5 photos in their annual contest. This works out to cheaper than four separate entry tickets. We pick up the passes on our first afternoon.


Clockwise from upper left: flash-as-main light Great Egret chick begging, breeding plumage Cattle Egret w/fill flash, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret chick in nest begging, Cattle Egrets copulating, Wood Stork with nesting material, another Wood Stork with nesting material, and breeding plumage Snowy Egret displaying.

What You Will Learn

On this IPT you will the learn the basics and fine points of digital exposure and how to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure. You will learn to understand and predict bird behavior and to see and understand the light. You will learn to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system and how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it). Most importantly, you will learn to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective. Rookeries are crowded, cluttered, white-washed places. Most folks who visit have no clue as to the difference of an image with tons of distractions and one with a clean line of sight and the best possible distant background. Join me and I will teach you to see like a pro.

I will be bringing my flash to the Alligator Farm (gasp!) I have not used flash for at least a year. I will be teaching you how to use flash as fill and how to use flash as main light. In addition, I will be reviewing the flash flight techniques that I developed at St. Augustine more than a few years ago.


Clockwise from upper left: gator back, Great Egret returning to mate (with fill flash), Roseate Spoonbill with bill open, Roseate Spoonbill chick begging, Roseate Spoonbill 11am silhouette, large Great Egret chicks in nest, and bill of Roseate Spoonbill.

Whats the Rest of the Deal?

Afternoon session on Monday, May 4. Then two full days with a morning and afternoon session each day, May 5 & 6. Then our last morning on May 7. At lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday (included) we will review my images; folks learn a ton watching me edit–why keep this one and delete that one? If you opt to bring your laptop, we can take a look at five of your best images from the morning or another session. We will process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time.

A $499 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot. Your balance–$600, payable only by check, is due immediately. Please include a separate check for $89.95 so that we can purchase your pass in advance. Please click here to read our cancellation policy before committing. Then please print, read, and sign the necessary paperwork linked to here and get it to us. You can register by calling Jim or Jen at the office at 863-692-0906 and arranging for your deposit of $499. Balances are payable only by check. I hope to see you there.

From Pat and Stokes Fishburne

The Alligator Farm is quite good right now. Good spoonbill nests and lots of spoonbills. Also, Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Herons, and a few Cattle Egrets along with more than a few Great Egret nests with chicks.


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15 comments to 7D II Pop Up Flash Part I of a Series… Blessings Realized

  • avatar David Peake

    Hi Doug.
    Yes I do have a grip . I will check it.
    Hoping it’s not the shutter. It only has 10-12K actuations.
    Thanks for your suggestions.

    • avatar Loren Charif

      Guide to Canon Error Codes by Rudy Winston:


      Err 20: Mechanical malfunction
      Within the mirror, shutter or aperture mechanism (most likely), some sort of disturbance, error or lock-up has been detected. This error code doesn’t specify where the exact problem is, but points to the cause being mechanical rather than an electronic gremlin.

      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Thanks Loren. a

        ps: I am hoping that this is not always true 🙂

        • avatar Loren Charif

          From what I’ve read elsewhere, it could be as simple as cleaning the lens contacts, tightening the grip attachment, etc. Hopefully that’s all it is. And hopefully David will keep us posted.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey David,

      Let us know if tightening the vertical grip eliminates the problem. a

  • avatar David Peake

    Ps like the gull against that background very much. That would be at least very highly commend where I cme from.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks David. I like it too. Just for the record books, Mike Cristina’s comments were in jest. a

  • avatar David Peake

    Hi Artie,
    here’s why I still don’t know how you could tell the 1Dx images apart from the 7 D2. If I understand the technical stuff at all, if you were to shoot these two cameras side by side.at least two things may happen. I would expect to see narrower depth of field on the 1dx at the same f stop. Second,the images when displayed at the same size side by side have a (sort of) similar number of pixels(16cf 22? ). Wth the crop sensor having only about half the area of the 1Dx you would need ( I think) twice as much resolving power for the same image sharpness. So maybe you would see a little less sharpness in the 7d images. That’s still a big maybe. The new 600 f4 likely has amazing coatings and resolving power and the crop sensor uses just the centre portion where the lens is sharpest . The 1 dx image if shot at the same focal length would need to be cropped In to get your subject size comparable to the 7 d image.
    That suggests to me that you may have a dead even competition. To introduce another strand of thought, think about the brand new tech on the7 d compared to the slightly older 1dx. Canon seems to try to keep their camera models ranking in the same order . This suggests to me that the next iteration of 1 d cameras will be even more amazing.
    So there you have it. I’ve come full circle and arrived back at the beginning.and I still don’t know how you could tell these cameras’ images apart.
    Perhaps Artie ,you are trying to point out how fruitless ,maybe how pointless this kind of analysis is.
    In the end it’s the finished image that gets judged, much more so than the equipment.
    It’s not meant to be about the gear. People argue endlessly about this stuff, pixel peeping when they could be out shooting.
    In the words of Zack Arias , GOYA and shoot……. Which I would be doing if my camera hadn’t decided it could use a holiday.
    Does anyone know what to do with “err 20″on a 5d mk 3 ?
    Later all

    Hey David,

    Though I do not completely understand the pixel math, I am with you on feeling that it is pretty much impossible for most folks to separate 1D X and 7D II images even with 100% views….

    See my comments on LensClens and the ERR 20 message below…. artie

    • David…about the ERR 20…is that with the battery grip?

      It probably doesn’t help, but when the 20D came out, it would spit out
      ERR 20’s if the battery grip just became a little loose. Seems like I
      was always tightening that thing.

      Another possibility is the contact between the lens and the body needs
      cleaned (and also the battery contacts).

      Worse case scenario would be a shutter problem.

      There’s more possibles, but those are the ones I can think of.


  • avatar Bill Richardson

    At ISO 400 I cannot tell. However, I will guess 7D2 because you needed to go to ISO 400.

  • What a horrible photo. You’ve dropped to a new low. No sparkle in the eye. You can see right through the bill. And that early morning background, ugh! Good thing you occasionally show student photos or I’d unsubscribe.

    Love, Mikey 🙂

    • avatar Warren H

      You would probably ask for your money back, also! 🙂

      Artie, I would like to know if you ever yous a flash extender, like better beamer? If you are going to use fill flash at the typical distances, I would think you would have too.

      Thanks for sharing, teaching and inspiring!


      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Hi Warren,

        When I do use flash with a long lens, it makes 100% sense to use a Better Beamer. Actually, the Better Beamer was the very first BAA mail order item. And in fact, I had a hand in the creation of the name Better Beamer. Bryan Geyer was a crotchety old guy who owned and ran a business that I now call Really Wrong Stuff. Anyway Walt Anderson and I sent him a Walt Anderson Flash Extender for evaluation. He growled back, “Heck, that ain’t a flash extender, it’s a damned better beamer.”

        Learn more about the Better Beamer here.

        I will be using my flash and a Better Beamer on the St. Augustine IPT.