Hard to Believe? 5DS R Strikes Back With 600II/1.4X III Skimmer Skimming Image… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Hard to Believe? 5DS R Strikes Back With 600II/1.4X III Skimmer Skimming Image...

What’s Up?

Friday was a day of rest (that means no early morning photography…) with lots of work done on my B&H Event Space programs… See the details below.

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, 268 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 on Thursday morning, August 4 with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop off the light blue water: 1/3200 sec. at f/6.3. Daylight WB.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best with moving subjects). The active AF point fell on the spot where the wing attaches to the bird’s body, right on the same plane as the eye. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Black Skimmer skimming in still water in early morning light

Thursday Morning…

After taking note of the (ridiculous) new bird protection area at Nickerson I decided that I had had enough of the chicks so I headed down the beach to see what I could find. Again, it was fun hanging with good buddy Tom Pfeifer. We both had the same thoughts as to where we might find some skimmers skimming. We thought that it would be a slaughter but it turned out to be a very slow pick. But for me, my determination is always a huge factor in any success that I might achieve. The crazy thing is that though the wind was from the northeast most of the skimmers were skimming to the west, albeit with perfect mirror-like reflections.

My Critique

In an ideal world, the bird would have had the near wing fully raised to offer a better view of the underwing detail. Otherwise, perfect. What do you think?


This is an unsharpened 100% crop of the head and bill of the bird in today’s featured image

The First 100% Crop

I think that this 100% crop is pretty sick. What do you think?


This is an unsharpened 100% crop of the feet and toes of the bird in today’s featured image

The Second 100% Crop

I think that this 100% crop is even sicker. What do you think?

B&H August 11, 2016 Event Space Programs

On Thursday, August 11, 2016, I will be presenting two free programs at the B&H Event Space as below. If you would like to attend, it would be best to register asap as both programs have begun filling nicely.

Using Teleconverters with Intermediate and Super Telephotos Lenses: 1:00 to 2:30pm

The word on the street is that you simply cannot make sharp images with teleconverters (TCs) especially with the doublers. Nothing could be further from the truth. With some practice and good sharpness techniques you can learn to use TCs effectively to photograph small, distant, or shy subjects.

Teleconverters or multipliers come in a variety of strengths, most usually 1.4X and 2X. Nikon also offers a 1.7X TCE. Each will multiply your effective focal length by the factor in its name. A 1.4X TC will make your 400mm lens into a 560mm lens. A doubler, aka a 2X TC, will enable your 600mm lens to give you 1200mm of reach.

In this program, Arthur Morris, internationally noted bird photographer and educator, will share the tips, techniques, and secrets that he has developed and used for more than three decades so that you too can use teleconverters to improve your photography. This program will be illustrated with Artie’s spectacular images of birds, wildlife, flowers, and even a few unexpected subjects.

Learn more or register here.

Putting Art into Your Nature Photography: 3:00 to 4:30pm

With today’s amazing photographic gear that includes camera bodies with surreal autofocus that can routinely produce superb image files in the right hands and fast, sharp lenses (including and especially the amazing super-telephotos) creating images of various birds, animals, flowers, and landscapes, is pretty much child’s play. Anyone can do it. In this program, Arthur Morris, internationally noted bird photographer and educator, will teach you to take your images to the next level. You will learn to identify good situations, to create pleasing backgrounds, to photograph action and behavior, to choose the best perspective, to read and use the light, when and how to create pleasing blurs, and how to consistently create dramatic, evocative images with contest-winning potential.

This program will be illustrated with several hundred of Artie’s spectacular images, many published around the world above his most fitting credit line: BIRDS AS ART.

Learn more or register 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 🙂

25 comments to Hard to Believe? 5DS R Strikes Back With 600II/1.4X III Skimmer Skimming Image…

  • Artie, An awesome shot. One of the best bird shots that I have ever seen from anyone. I agree that the claw touching the water is one of the very nice detail touches in the shot because it balances out the bill skimming the water. Not sure that having the wings at a higher point would have made it much better for me. If there is anything that I would wish for in this shot, it would be for the frame to have included all of the wing reflection – perhaps would have been achievable if only the 600mm was used, without the 1.4x. Congrats on the outstanding shot. Cheers, David.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. Remember that the wider you go the less detail and the less impact…


  • avatar Jakes

    I Use Nikon and use the D810 for birds as well. The high resolution and 6/7 fps is great. Agree, many shoot down the high res Camera’s for birds and wildlife but this is were detail counts. Great image and agree with the fact that the use of extenders are fantastic tools, you need to work them to understand how to get the best out of them. I use my 2.0 extender extensively with my 300f2.8 here in Africa for wildlife and birds with fantastic results

  • Mind blowing shot Guru.

    Had the body been 1Dx Mark II, what would be the differences?

    Thanks in advance.

  • avatar Charles Scheffold

    Looks great Artie!

  • avatar Tom Tymons


  • avatar Max Warner

    Typo Alert:
    In material about B&H presentation, we read ” A 1.4 TC will make your 400 mm lens into a 640 mm lens.”

    Might you have meant 560 mm ?

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    SPECTACULAR image!
    Congratulations Artie!

    I’m not at all concerned with the wings because this shot is all about the skimming and the mirror image. It’s amazing – you can even see the bird’s eye in the reflection. Best mirror image I’ve ever seen!

    I’m curious: I see exactly one drop of water. It’s under the bird’s bill. Were there other drops that you cleaned up or is this truly the original shot?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks and nope on the water drops; aside from a leveling crop, this one is straight out of camera. a

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Thanks all. Ralph, I was in the water but it was only about 1/2inch deep…


  • avatar Ralph Fletcher

    I’m blown away, and inspired. I did the Nickerson IPT last year and know how difficult it is to get skimmers working their magic.

  • avatar David Peake

    Clear as a Bell Artie and as good as anything I have ever seen.

  • avatar Chuck Carlson

    I think if that near wing was fully raised, it would remove the beautiful diagonal line from wingtip to the bird’s neck and bill. That’s a very strong element that adds power to the image. Love the photo, as if you can’t tell!

  • avatar Steve Rentmeesters

    As I was admiring the 100% view of the bill I was thinking this is great, but I would have preferred to see a 100% view of the foot. Then as I scrolled down my wish was fulfilled! Magic! 😉

  • I think you nailed it, as you often do. Looking forward to the B&H replays on YouTube as getting to NY for a weekday afternoon program isn’t even remotely possible.

  • avatar Henry

    So were you in chest-deep water when you got this beautiful image?


  • avatar Karl FIEGENSCHUH

    I think these are great shots (not sick at all).

    I’m curious about your choice of the 5DS R instead of the 1Dx Mark II because I am thinking of upgrading my 1D Mark IV. My first choice is the 5DS R because (1) it is cheaper (and I’m retired and can’t afford all the newest gear) and (2) I’m thinking I could couple it with a 100-400 Mark II to replace the 1D Mark IV/500mm f/4 IS (original version) to use as my main wildlife set-up now that I am approaching 68 years-old and anticipate increasing difficulty hauling around so much gear. I’m assuming I can crop the 5DS R/100-400 images to get similar framing and take advantage of the greater megapixels to get similar image quality. Does this make sense? Would I miss the fast frame rate for bird photography?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Very sick indeed, at least, hard to believe.

      Your question is a difficult one. Right now I am using the 5DS R for much of my bird photography but have been experimenting with the 1DX Mark II a bit, including for flight.

      Soon I will be publishing Arash Hazeghi’s 1D X II review. That to be followed by Patrick Sparkman’s article on why he prefers the 5DS R by miles over the 1D X II for bird photography, plus a few more relevant posts…

      Will you miss the frame rate? It is impossible for me to answer that question. Do not forget that the 5DS R is both lighter and quieter…

      Whatever you decide, please consider using my B&H link to purchase.


      • avatar Karl Fiegenschuh

        Thanks. I look forward to reading the review and articles about the cameras. And if/when the time comes to sell my stuff, I’ll be in touch.

      • avatar graham hedrick

        Art, I too am looking at the 5DS R. It is very strange, all the camera stores I visit bash the 5DS R. The keep harping on the file size and the size drives you will have to have. To me, drives are so cheap now. Second thing, they complain that most computers are too slow. What Mac do you have? How is it configured? I am looking at a either a used 1Dx or 1D mkIV. What would you purchase? Thanks

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Macbook Pro straight up with 1TD SSD and 16 gigs of ram. Right out of the box. I’ by a 5DS R. The folks in the camera stores are idiots. But as I always ask, what do you go with your images?


  • avatar Bill Richardson

    I think that is the best photo I have ever seen you post.

  • avatar John Patton

    I think it’s a great shot. You have captured something we have all seen many times but few, if any, of us have done so with such detail and sharpness. I think the wing position is fine. The out of focus darker area in the background does not bother me either; it adds a sense of place.