Two Huge EOS-1DX Mark II Advantages… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Two Huge EOS-1DX Mark II Advantages...

What’s Up?

The East Pond rocked on Wednesday morning. On the way to JBAY I was going back and forth on which camera to use with the 600 II and most likely with the 2X III TC. 5DS R. 1DX II. 1DX II. 5DS R? I finally realized that for feeding shorebirds with the rig I had in mind the 1DX II was the right choice. Keep on reading to learn why. Many of the birds were so close that I went to the 1.4X III, and at times, I was wishing that I had my 100-400 II on my lap…

I had a hard time picking an image for today’s blog post from so many good ones… I hope that Thursday morning is as good or better.

I fly home early on Friday morning.

The Streak

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 281 days in a row with a new educational blog post. 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 my mega-JBWR morning, Wednesday August 17, 2016 with the 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 500. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/640 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode. Daylight WB.

One AF point up and three to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point fell on the bird’s face just below and to the right of 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 = +5.

Short-billed Dowitcher–fresh juvenile feeding

Two Huge EOS-1DX Mark II Advantages…

I love the image design here with the bird well back in the frame and far enough up in the frame to include the various parts of the bird’s reflection. As it is important to have AI servo AF active at the moment of exposure when photographing a foraging shorebird images like this made at 1200mm–one of my favorite focal lengths–are possible only with the Canon EOS-1DX Mark II. Why? See advantage #1.

Advantage #1: Only with the 1D X are you able to utilize all 65 AF points (as well as all AF Area Selection Modes). With all other Canon bodies you are limited at f/8 to only the center AF point plus four assist points (in Expand). This advantage allowed me to create a new and different image design at 1200mm with today’s featured image.

Advantage #2: The 14 fps frame rate allows you to hold the hammer down on a feeding shorebird and produce large numbers of images in no time flat (especially as compared to the relatively snail-like frame rate (up to 5 fps) of the EOS 5DS R (which does not bother me much at all in many bird photography situations). I do not haphazardly create images. I wait until the bird is in the zone. Then I select the desired AF point. Then I acquire focus. And, only when the bird is close to parallel to the imaging sensor do I hold the shutter button down to create a burst. Even in sequences with 10-15 images one or two will stand out as best. In general this will have a lot to do with the position of the bird’s bill relative to the water; I like the position of the bill in today’s featured image with the base of the bill out of the water about an inch. Dowitchers feed in about 1 1/2 to 3 inches of water with a sewing machine-like motion as they snatch tiny invertebrate prey items from the mud and muck. The tips of their bills (like our fingertips) are soft and pliable and filled with nerve endings; this allows them to feel the prey that they cannot see.


What do you think of today’s image?

Camera Body Questions

Camera body and gear questions are of course welcome. Please leave a comment.

If what you read here today inspires you to purchase a 1DX Mark II (or any other camera gear) please remember to use either our B&H affiliate link or the BAA Online Store. Thanks!

Shorebirds; Beautiful Beachcombers

Written by artie for naturalists and birders, the text tells you everything you’ve always wanted to know about North America’s sandpipers, godwits, yellowlegs, phalaropes, plovers, avocets, stilts, and oystercatchers. With 70 of Arthur’s images and 26 more by some of the world’s best nature photographers, this book contains the finest collection of shorebird photographs ever published in a single volume. You will learn not only to easily identify all of North America’s shorebird species but to age the birds by determining their plumage: breeding adult, winter plumage, juvenile, or molting from one to another.

You can order a copy here. As I will be home for eight weeks, let Jim know if you would like yours personalized and signed.


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. Limit 12/Openings: 10)

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, especially with a 7D Mark II. 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 at 2pm followed by our afternoon session) through the full day on October 1, 2016. 3 1/2 DAYs: $1549. Limit 10/Openings: 7. 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.

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.


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9 comments to Two Huge EOS-1DX Mark II Advantages…

  • It’s all about the background, separating it from other Dowitcher feeding images. The subtle pastel shades give the image an artistic feel, complementing the primary subject exceedingly well. The reflection also adds a bit of mystery to the image. The rings of the water reinforce the action of the beak dipping into the water. Strengthening the nature story. I also love the placement of the subject in the upper right. The light is beautiful. The light especially illuminates the Dowitcher as the primary subject. Drawing the viewer’s eye to it first and back to it again and again. There nothing in the image to lead your eye out. Even the light brown shade on the left has the effect of keeping your eye within the image. The blue on top has the same effect with its soft pastel shade; mixed with little green working to keep your eye in and back the dowitcher. Definitely a BIRDS AS ART image.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Bruce, Many thanks for your thoughtful analysis of the image. I agree on all counts 🙂


  • avatar Tom

    Really love the green colours of the out of focus water, and how the browns of the bird complement the greens so well. Just a perfect image.

    I know that you have previously said that you do not recommend the Nikon 2X extender, but what about their latest one matched with their new 400 and 500 FL lenses? Do you think that these combinations would be capable of producing similar results to what you are achieving with the Canon 2X converter?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Tom,

      Many thanks. I love it too.

      So many folks have been hating on the various versions of the Nikon TCE 20s that–without any personal experience or knowledge, I cannot answer your question. I would think that they should work… What big lens do you own right now?


  • avatar Frank Sheets

    There you go again, showing off images with with a 2x! Very nice! And I agree. This is a very nice feature of the 1dx2. Keep debating, but hopefully will have one before too long but definitely before Galapagos.

    Thx again for the ongoing posts!


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Frank, Wait till you see the next few blog posts 🙂

      They will be eye-opening. I am working on an amended (shortened) version of Arash’s 1DX Mark II Field Review. The post after that will be the counter-point 🙂

      Later and love to you both.


      ps: though the trip is a go I still have room for a few more on the killer Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a lifetime…

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: I love the image. Nice reflection AND ripples. Where can I get a 1DXIII? 🙂