Can Photography Actually Be Simple? Or is it Genetic? And 1DX II Comments… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Can Photography Actually Be Simple? Or is it Genetic? And 1DX II Comments...

What’s Up?

Saturday was a lazy day but I did manage to get some work done. How lazy? My 1DX II is still in the B&H shipping box and still sitting on the bookcase in my entry foyer… Tomorrow.

In the good news department we now have nine folks signed up for the AUG 2017 Galapagos trip…

The Streak

Today’s blog post marks 184 days in a row with a new educational blog post, dozens of new topics to cover, and no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. Please remember that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.


Magnolia blossom on i-Phone 5s.
Image courtesy of and copyright 2016 Jennifer Morris

Can Photography Actually Be Simple?

After our canceled boat trip last Wednesday morning, Jim and I drove through Armageddon-like storms. At 8am it was actually getting very dark. Deep puddles at the edges of the roadways grabbed the steering wheel repeatedly and tried to wrench it away from Jim. I was glad when we got home safely.

As we pulled into my driveway I noticed a single fresh blossom on the small Magnolia tree in front of the house. “I should photograph that when the rain quits” I thought. That thought passed quickly.

On Friday I was walked out to meet older daughter Jennifer at her car. She showed me a single image on her cell phone. Of the Magnolia blossom. The image was strikingly beautiful. I asked her to send it to me via e-mail. She did. She showed me about 15 similar images of the flower, but the first one was the winner.

There are lots of lessons for all of us in this short tale.

1-when you see something that catches your eye, photograph it. Do not wait.
2-when you see something that catches your eye, make lots of image, create horizontals and verticals, and vary the compositions.
3-the best image in a series will almost always jump up and grab you.

Is it Genetic?

Surely not. Keep your eyes open. Photograph what turns you on. It will not matter who your father is.

The 1DX II Thoughts…

An e-mail Conversation with Roy Prasad

AM: Hi Roy, Thanks for writing.

RP: My 1DX2 was actually delivered today. It is quite a bit heavier than a 5DS R. Here’s a question: if I have a 5DSR, do I really need a 1DX2?

AM: Only you can answer that.

RP: Obviously, the 1DX2 has the 14 fps frame rate, which is great for birds in flight or other action photography. The 5DSR is limited to only 5 fps. But it has a massive 50MP sensor with incredible detail. And for the cost of a 1DX2, I can buy two 5DSRs.

AM: I know all that. I own two 5DS R bodies. And now I own a 1D X II. I will be using it a lot this week on the Fort DeSoto IPT.

RP: What is great about the 1DX II is its massive battery, the built in vertical grip, its ability to take a lot of abuse (although I take excellent care of my gear), its ability to operate in inclement weather, etc. Is there anything the 1DX II can do that the 5DS R simply can’t? How about the speed and accuracy of AF? To be limited to only 20MP is a bummer.

AM: To some degree. But there are lots of potential pluses. Here is what I am looking forward to with my 1DX II:

That big battery drives AF with either TC much faster than a 5DS R making combinations like the 400 DO II with the 2X III TC much more viable and much more deadly.

And at f/8, I will have all the AF points active. This is a huge plus for me as I often use the 2X III TC with my 500 or 600 II lenses, and the same will be true when I use the 1.4X III with the 100-400 II and the 1D X II.

The improved AF system that will surely be the best ever by far and high ISO noise performance will also be the best ever. The 1DX II has a new AF sensor, a new lens systems within the AF system, and more powerful processing. Thus, I am expecting AF to be greatly improved.

RP: So what makes better sense, a 5DSR and a 1DX II or two 5DS R bodies?

AM: Consider what I wrote above, read what I have to say about the 1DX II in the next few weeks, and make your decision 🙂

later and love, artie

Michael Tapes’ 1DX II AF Galleries

Michael Tapes, the creator of LensAlign/FocusTune, has been photographing birds for only two years. Check out his 1DX II Osprey/Spoonbill flight gallery (400 DO II + 1/4X III TC + 1DX II) here and his Great Blue Heron/Least Tern diving gallery (400 DO II + 2X III TC + 1DX II) here. While there is a clunker or two in these galleries and while Michael likes to crop a bit too tightly at times, there are some very fine images (can you say “Osprey”?)and the 400 DO II/2X III TC Least Tern images are amazingly sharp and well done. Thanks to Michael for letting me share the two galleries with you here.

The 1D X II

If what you read or today or what you read on the blog inspires you to purchase a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR Camera Premium Kit with 64GB Card and Reader please use the active link or click on the logo-link above. Doing so will be greatly appreciated. Many who used our link right off the bat already have their 1DX Mark IIs.

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18 comments to Can Photography Actually Be Simple? Or is it Genetic? And 1DX II Comments…

  • avatar Steve Rentmeesters

    You have a typo in the e-mail conversation with RP. You mention a 400 DI II, but I think you mean 400 DO II. Many interesting comments, seems like a post on when to use each type of camera body would be helpful to people. Like when to use different film types in the old days 🙂

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks and fixed. Camera choice is now easy for me. For flight, action,and high ISO situations I go to the 1D X II. For portraits, static stuff, flowers, Urbex and the like, it’s the 5DS R. I also lean towards the 1DX II when using the 2X III TC… artie

  • I vote for 1Dx II.

    5DS R will produce far more details with far more noise as well. Therefore, when the indispensable noise reduction is applied to 5DS R images to make them presentable; 1Dx II will prevail with more clarity and detail because it won’t need noise reduction may be even upto ISO 4000. Same will apply to 5D III and 6D.

    As I learned from the Guru during last 3 years – that’s what is bigger pixels are all about Mr. R. Prasad.

    I’m just an enthusiast and always shoot RAW (and process with DPP). However, I used to wonder why Guru uses full frame most of the time for bird photography! Subsequently, I started realizing the fact observing his posts.

    These days I take most of my bird photos with a prosumer full frame EOS 6D. Yes, I have to get closer than what I used to with crop bodies which means I get fewer shots. But whatever I get; these are far superior to my precious captures with crop bodies.

    Even with ordinary lenses like EF 400mm f/5.6 L, images contain far more clarity and detail compared to my now abandoned crop bodies. And I frequently shoot at high ISOs without worrying about noise. Generally don’t need to apply noise reduction upto ISO 4000 (push the sliders to zero).

    Thanks and regards.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for your kind words Quazi. 5DS R files are far superior to 7D II and even 1D X files in terms of fine detail. But as I say above, there are lots of advantages to the 1DX II… artie

  • avatar David Peake

    Artie, Are you saying you left a brand new 1 dx II to unpack tomorrow?

    Wow that’s just not normal. Perhaps you should go see the doctor and get him to see if you have a heartbeat. Pretty sure I would have been all over that thing the moment it arrived.

  • avatar Mike

    I’ll have my new 1Dx II for our Fort Desoto Trip alongside my 5DSr. Looking forward to using them together to compare them 🙂

  • Once you go 50mp, it’s almost impossible to go back. the day i bought a 5D3, i never touched the 1D4 anymore. Since i bought a 5DsR, i didn’t touch my 5D3 anymore. In my opinion, detail and image quality is the most important feature of a camera body. At the end of the day, it’s mostly one photo that counts, and this one has to be perfect.

    • what i was trying to say is: even if had the money, i’d probably spend it on a second 5DsR and a nice trip to a nice place than on a 1DXII..

      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Life is about choices. And I think that it’s great that we all get to make them!


        ps: My plan is to use the 1DX II a lot this week…

  • avatar Mike Sorsky

    I’m really anxious to hear your report on the 1DX II. I recently purchased a 1DX because the price was quite a bit less, and I just couldn’t see enough reason to go to the new 1DX II. I keep hoping I made the right choice. Shooting with the IDX and my 7D II seem to make a make a nice working pair of bodies for my bird shoot needs. If I see down the road that the 1DX II is head and shoulders above the 1DX, then I suppose I’ll have to bite the bullet and get me one.

    • avatar Bill Richardson

      1DXII is not head and shoulders above 1DX. Many nice but small improvements and I love mine but it is an incremental improvement, not a giant leap forward. Having said that I must add that I am selling my 1DX and have ordered a 2d 1DXII so, yeah, I love it.

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    a very beautiful image!!

  • avatar Ruth Schueler

    I recently discovered that my very simple smartphone is absolutely perfect for Macro Photographs. I still have to learn how to use it, but the technical quality is stunning!

  • avatar Bill Richardson

    Once again I am amazed by the images people are taking with their cell phones. Great time to be a photographer and it just keeps getting better. I have had my 1DXII for a couple of days now. I just ordered number 2. The biggest improvement I see so far is the return of the red focus square. I really like that. I had to laugh at the comment about being limited to “only” 20 megapixels. I remember when I was thrilled to have 8 megapixel cameras! Wow, are we spoiled now.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Wow. That is an endorsement. Hope that you have been using my B&H links 🙂

  • I’ve actually been thinking about Gary Axten’s question lately. How does cropping an image in photoshop taken with a lens only compare to “cropping” with a 2x teleconverter? Are there any shooting circumstances when it would be better to crop in photoshop rather than attach the 2x?


  • avatar Gary Axten

    That’s a nice image. Perhaps not genetic but exposure to a lot of great images?

    This may have already been answered, if you crop an image from a 5DSR to that created with a 1D XII+ 2xTC, would they not be very similar?