EOS-1DX Mark II–Not So Bad at 1200mm??? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

EOS-1DX Mark II--Not So Bad at 1200mm???

What’s Up?

I met up with pal Tom Pfeifer at Nickerson early on Wednesday morning. Actually, I beat him to the beach by about an hour. Just in time to get hassled by either a cop or a park patrol officer. I may share that exciting story here at some point. In any case, with the northeast wind, we had one of the greatest-ever mornings with dozens of skimmer chicks right in front of us until we left at about 8:30am. Photos soon.

We had the pleasure of meeting BirdPhotographers.Net members Bill Dix and Geoffrey Montagu. I’ve know Bill for many years but until Wednesday morning, only online. Bill is one of many whose photography has improved by leaps and bounds since he first showed up at BPN.

The Streak

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 266 days in a row with a new educational blog post. And I still have dozens of new topics to cover; there should be 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. AND Please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.


This image was created with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the fast, rugged Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with 64GB Card and Reader. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/11.

One AF point below the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point fell on the side of the neck just behind and well below the eye. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment = 0.

Least Tern at nest with 2-egg clutch

Morning Saved…

After getting sort of flooded out on Tuesday morning I headed to Jones Beach where I found this bird on eggs just below the colony ropes. One bird saved the day for me. Note that at +1/3 stop the RGB values for the WHITEs came in at 234, 234, 234 after click White Balance in DPP 4.


Unsharpened 100% crop of today’s featured image

EOS-1DX Mark II Not So Bad at 1200mm???

Looking at the 100% crop above I would have to rate the sharpness and image quality as exceptional. What do you think?


Would you have eliminated the single out-of-focus blade of grass coming out of the top of the bird’s head? Why or why not? If yes, how?


Fort DeSoto in fall is rife with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or early October. I hope that you can join me there this fall one way or another. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

BIRDS AS ART Fort DeSoto In-the-Field Meet-up Workshop (ITFW): $99

Join me on the morning of October 2, 2016 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive morning workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tours. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal registration fee. Your registration fee is non-refundable. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place one week before the event.


Folks attending the IPT will be in the field early and stay out late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are relatively short in early fall. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Fort DeSoto Short Notice Fall IPT/September 28 (meet & greet and afternoon session) through the full day on October 1, 2016. 3 1/2 DAYs: $1549. Limit 10. Sunday morning ITFW free to IPT registrants.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds in fall. There they join dozens of egrets, herons, night-herons, gulls, and terns who winter on the T-shaped peninsula that serves as their wintering grounds. With any luck, we should get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher likely. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Tricolored Heron are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. And Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed, Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork would not be unexpected.

Folks who sign up for the IPT are welcome to join me as my guest on the ITFW on the Sunday morning following the workshop. See above for details on that.

On this and all other IPTs you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify and age many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

At brunch (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 a few of your images from the morning session. We will process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time.

As I already have one signed up for this workshop, it is a go. Hotel info will be e-mailed when you register. The best airport is Tampa (TPA). It is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel so if you are interested it would be a good idea to register now and make your hotel reservations as soon as you hear from us. We can, however, coordinate with local folks who opt to stay at home.

Because of the relatively late date, payment is full is due upon registration either by check or credit card. If the former, please e-mail us immediately so that we can save you a spot. If the latter, please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand to register. Your registration fee is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with eight so please check your plans carefully before committing. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions and gear & clothing advice a fairly soon.


BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT.

The Fort DeSoto Site Guide

Can’t make the IPT or the ITFW? Get yourself a copy of the Fort DeSoto Site Guide. Learn the best spots, where to be when in what season in what weather. Learn the best wind directions for the various locations. BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. You can see all of them here.

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, 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, and for everything else in the new store, 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 those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


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


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

16 comments to EOS-1DX Mark II–Not So Bad at 1200mm???

  • avatar David Peake

    Stunning sharpness and beautiful image.
    I would remove the blade of grass now I have seen it,
    I didn’t even notice it at first.

  • avatar Hussein

    There is a 2.0 teleconverter attached and the image looks just great. Lots of practice required to achieve such result. Welldone.

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    Exceptionally sharp.
    I would leave in the oof grass blade behind the bird’s head because there are several more similar blades in the same area. If it were the only oof blade I would try to remove it with content aware on the top part. Then use cloning right near the bird’s head magnifying to 100 or 200%.
    The grass on both sides of the bird make a great habitat image. And the blurred foreground and background bring out the bird.

  • Is it sharp? Heck yeah. Everything about the image is fantastic, I didn’t notice the blade of grass at all, so removing it would be a matter of personal taste on your part.

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    I agree the sharpness is exceptional.

    Wow! Great shot! The bird is the central feature and everything else nearly creates a fuzzy circle around it, thus leading the eye right to the bird. The tail is oof but it doesn’t matter, because the bird and her eggs are so perfectly in focus. The blade of grass doesn’t bother me one bit – I don’t notice it because I’m looking at the bird. This image is perfect as it is – the grasses and other debris give it a sense of place.
    What I also love is all the bits of shell that she’s placed around her scrape including the larger white, curved one that helps define the nest.
    What a magical image! Love it!

  • avatar Frank Sheets

    What blade of grass?! I would leave it.

    Awfully good results w/ a 2x. Makes me want to get mine on the combo, do the fine tuning and go out and try it. I have been reluctant for fear of soft images. You obviously prove me wrong.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Frank,

      I have been using my 2X TCs on big lenses for 2+ decades routinely making sharp images down to 1/6 sec… All it takes is some practice and then some FBC, faith, belief, and confidence. Join the club. LensAlign/FocusTine micro-adjusting the big lenses with the 2X TCs is challenging though. But the results are well worth is.


  • avatar Bill Dix

    Artie: It was a pleasure meeting you in person, finally, after all these years online. It was indeed a memorable morning. And thanks for the drop-in filter tip.

    Lovely image of my favorite tern, and sharp. The grass didn’t bother me, but I’d remove it anyway now that you’ve pointed it out.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Ditto. And funny that I didn’t notice it either for a while…

      You want a good laugh? The authorities roped off about more two acres, right where the birds and photographers were having a party yesterday. One of the signs says, “Danger; Keep Back!” I guess that skimmers are now considered dangerous.

      In any case, it is obvious that the birds cannot read or if the can, that they could care less. They were roosting with all of their chicks to the south of the newly roped off area. I suspect that they did not care for Wednesday afternoon’s construction project…

      The above is a first. I suggest that wherever they see a skimmer that they put up ropes and barriers.


  • avatar Maggi Fuller

    Amazingly exceptional!! However, like Doug, I would have cloned out the blade of grass.

  • The more I stare at it, the more I’d want to remove it.
    I’d just clone it out with the content-aware brush.

    Of course, if you never would’ve mentioned it, I would
    probably not have noticed since it is pretty faint 🙂


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Content aware as I know it would be a bad choice as the blade intersects the head…