The Veiled Monkey … And Digital Eye and Face Doctor. And Some Great New Used Gear Listings Including a Real Goodie! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Veiled Monkey ... And Digital Eye and Face Doctor. And Some Great New Used Gear Listings Including a Real Goodie!

What’s Up?

I went to two different crane sanctuaries on the morning of Friday, 24 FEB and called everything perfectly. With clouds at Tsurui Ito I enjoyed 30 minutes of dancing cranes; when sun came through the clouds I headed for Akan Crane Center and enjoyed great flight Whooper Swan flight photography. I capped off the morning with cranes dancing in gust-driven blowing snow. When the wind turned to the north against the light I quit early and headed back to the lodge. I will have good internet access every day. I get home late on 28 FEB.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

The Streak: 469!

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, 469 days in a row with a new educational blog post. As always–and folks have been doing a really great for a long time now–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 BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

Selling Your Used Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily. Even the prices on the new 600 II and the 200-400 with Internal Extender have been plummeting. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the right side of the yellow-orange menu bar above.

Recent Successful Used Gear Sales

Activity last month was hot!

  • Brian Patteson sold his Canon EF 500 mm f/4L IS USM super telephoto lens in near-mint condition for $4099 in early February.
  • IPT veteran Dick Evans sold his NIKKOR AF-S 70-200 f2.8G ED VRII Lens in like-new condition to a local camera store and kindly sent me a check for the 2 1/2% of the original listed price.
  • Steve Traudt is sold a Canon 500mm f4L IS USM Super Telephoto Lens in excellent condition for $3550 in mid-February, 2017.
  • James P. Nelson sold his Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM zoom lens in excellent condition for $899 i early February 2017.
  • Dow Morris sold his Canon EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 IS USM lens in like-new condition for $579 a few days after it was listed in early February 2017.
  • James P. Nelson sold his Canon EF 100-400 zoom 1:4.5 – 5.6 L IS telephoto lens in excellent plus condition for a very low $549 in early February.
  • Robert Blanke sold his Canon EOS 7D Mark II body in like-new condition for $949.00 in early February 2017 just two days after it was listed
  • Robert Blanke sold his Canon EOS-1D X body with the Canon GPS receiver in like-new condition for $2499.00 within hours of it being listed.
  • James P. Nelson sold his Canon EF 500 f/4L IS USM Super telephoto lens with lots of extras in like-new condition for $4,499 in mid-January 2017.
  • Gene Scarborough sold a Canon accessory package for $250 in late January.
  • Robert Blanke sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III body in like-new condition with only 4258 shutter actuations for $1449.00 in late-January before it was even listed!.
  • Wayne Roth sold his Nikkor AF-S 300mm f/2.8G EDII VR lens in like-new condition for $3,500.00 in Late January, 2017, two weeks after it was listed.

New Listings

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Kenton Gomez is offering a Canon EF 500mm f4L IS II lens in Excellent plus condition condition for the BAA record-low price of $7349. The sale includes a Jobu Designs Replacement foot as well as the original foot, the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the original tough front lens cover, the lens strap, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Photos available upon request.

Please contact Kenton via e-mail or by phone at 914-471-3053 (between 9am and 10pm Eastern time).

I have used various versions of the 500mm f/4 lenses for more than two decades. They are the world’s most popular super-telephoto lenses. I owned the Series II 500 and soon regretted selling it as the 600 II is so much heavier and bulkier … So I bought another one. It served as my big telephoto lens on last fall’s monumental 10 1/2 week trip around South America and the Southern Ocean. With good sharpness techniques most folks should be able to learn to make razor sharp images with this lens and the 2X III TC. It is light enough so that many folks can hand hold it easily both for flight and for general bird photography. The short story: this lens is sharp, relatively light, and much easier to travel than the 600 II. A brand new one will set you back $8999 at B&H right now. Grab Kenton’s lens and save a nifty $1650! artie

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens

Multiple IPT veteran Jake Levin is offering a Canon 300mm f/2.8 IS lens in very good-plus condition for a very sporting $2199. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the front lens cover, the lens trunk, and insured UPS ground shipping to either United States or Canadian addresses. US buyers are responsible for any customs fees or duties. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Jake via e-mail or by phone at 514-601-9544 (Eastern time).

The older version of the Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS is a super sharp lens that is great for hand held flight and action photography and great with both teleconverters. It has long been the favorite focal length of the world’s best hawk photographers. For folks working around tame birds or those with a 7D Mark II this lens makes a great workhorse telephoto. At more than $700 below most used copies of the “old” 300 f/2.8s, Jake’s lens is priced to sell quickly to buyers in either country. artie

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Sandra Calderbank is offering a used Canon EOS 7D Mark II in excellent plus condition with less than 20,000 shutter actuationsfor $948. The sale includes the front cap, the strap, all the CDs and cords, the original box with everything that came in it, and insured ground shipping via major courier. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Sandra via e-mail by phone at 1-828-412-1047 (Eastern time/evenings best).

Both Patrick Sparkman and I used and loved the 7D Mark II until about two years ago when we committed to using full frame Canon bodies. We both made some truly great images with it. Two of my three 2016 Nature’s Best honored entries were created with the 7D II, one still, and one video. artie

This image was created at the Monkey Part at Jigokudani, Japan with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 312mm) with my very favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops as framed: 1/800 f/8 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: +1.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Spot AF (I have no clue as to why …)/shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the top of the monkey’s head as it charged down the hill. On the face would have been better. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The Veiled Snow Monkey

The Veiled Monkey …

On our last morning at Jigokudani we were in nature photographer’s paradise with snow falling on top of an eight inch accumulation from the night before. And as always, there were Snow Monkeys everywhere doing great stuff. This monkey apparently had his snout in the snow quite recently looking for food.

More 100-400 II Versatility

Just as on the cliffs of La Jolla, the hand held 100-400 II was deadly effective at the Monkey Park. For three straight days it was the only lens that I carried up the hill. I had the 1.4X TC in my pocket and used it many times. The great four-stop IS system allowed me to make the 45 minute uphill without having to carry the tripod, adding the TC gave me 560mm of full frame reach, and the incredible slightly less than 1 meter minimum focusing distance performed like a macro/telephoto lens with the wonderfully tame monkeys. Not to mention that the 100-400 II is a superb rig for capture action (and images of birds in flight).

Digital Eye and Face Doctor

After converting the RAW file in DPP 4 (see the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide), I brought the image into Photoshop where I saw that with the speed of the monkey, the AF point on the top of it’s head, the dingy light, and the blowing snow, this image did not appear as sharp as I’d have liked. I started with my NIK 25/24 recipe applied to the whole face. Next, working very large, I removed a snowflake or two from near the eye and then used Tim Grey Dodge and Burn to darken the pupil and brighten the iris. Then I used the Lasso Tool to select only the iris. I put that on its own layer, juiced up the color with a Vibrance adjustment, and then pulled the curve up a bit. Next I did the same thing to the pink/red skin that was visible above the snow veil. Lastly I selected the visible face and eyes with the Quick Selection Tool and applied a Contrast Mask. Not bad.

Everything above plus tons more is of course detailed in my Digital Basics File, an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete (former PC) digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, details on using all of my image clean-up tools, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, the basics of Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs, Dodge and Burn, a variety of ways to make selections, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.

Learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair.

I am working on an all new Current Workflow e-guide that better reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. It will include a section on ACR conversions and a simplified method of apply Neat Image noise reduction.

Note: there will be lots of down time for intensive, small group Photoshop instruction on the Bear Boat IPT. Details below.


Images and card copyright Arthur Morris/BEARS AS ART 🙂

2017 Bear Boat Coastal Brown Bear Cubs IPTs: July 18-24, 2017 from Kodiak, AK: 5 FULL & 2 Half DAYS: $6699. Happy campers only! Maximum 8/Openings 3.

Join me in spectacular Katmai National Park, AK for six days of photographing Coastal Brown Bears. Mid-July is prime time for making images of small, football-sized cubs. The cubs, and these dates, are so popular that I had to reserve them three years in advance to secure them. There are lots of bears each year in June, but the mothers only rarely risk bringing their tiny cubs out in the open in fear of predation by rival bears. In addition to making portraits of both adults and cubs, we hope to photograph frolicking and squabbling youngsters and tender nursing scenes. At this time of year, the bears are either grazing in luxuriant grass or clamming. There will also be some two- and three-year old cubs to add to the fun. And we will get to photograph it all.

We will live on our tour operator’s luxurious new boat. At 78 feet long its 24 foot beam makes it quite spacious as well. And the food is great. We will likely spend most of our time at famed Geographic Harbor as that is where the bears are generally concentrated in summer. On the odd chance that we do need to relocate to another location we can do so quickly and easily without having to venture into any potentially rough seas. We land via a 25 foot skiff that has lots of room for as much gear as we can carry.

Aside from the bears we should get to photograph Horned and Tufted Puffin and should get nice stuff on Mew Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Harbor Seal, and Steller’s Sea Lion as well. A variety of tundra-nesting shorebirds including Western Sandpiper and both yellowlegs are also possible. Halibut fishing (license required/not included) is optional.

It is mandatory that you be in Kodiak no later than the late afternoon of July 17 to avoid missing the float planes to the boat on the morning of July 18. Again, with air travel in Alaska (or anywhere else for that matter) subject to possible delays, being on Kodiak on July 16 is a much better plan.

Barring any delays, we will get to photograph bears on our first afternoon and then again every day for the next five days after that, all weather permitting of course. On our last morning on the boat, July 24, those who would like to enjoy one last photo session will have the opportunity to do so. The group will return to Kodiak via float plane from late morning through midday. Most folks will then fly to Anchorage and to continue on red-eye flights to their home cities.

What’s included? 7 DAYS/6 NIGHTS on the boat as above. All meals on the boat. National Park and guide fees. In-the-field photo tips, instruction, and guidance. An insight into the mind of a top professional nature photographer; I will constantly let you know what I am thinking, what I am doing, and why I am doing it. Small group image review, image sharing, and informal Photoshop instruction on the boat.

What’s not included: Your round trip airfare to and from Kodiak, AK (almost surely through Anchorage). Your lodging and meals on Kodiak. The cost of the round-trip float plane to the boat and then back to Kodiak as above. The cost of a round trip last year was $550. The suggested crew tip of $200.

Have you ever walked with the bears?

Is this an expensive trip? Yes, of course. But with 5 full and two half days, a wealth of great subjects, and the fact that you will be walking with the bears just yards away (or less….), it will be one of the great natural history experiences of your life. Most folks who take part in a Bear Boat IPT wind up coming back for more.

A $2,000 per person non-refundable deposit by check only made out to “BIRDS AS ART” is required to hold your spot. Please click here to read our cancellation policies. Then please print, read, and sign the necessary paperwork here and send it to us by mail to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855.

Your payment in full is due now; if you would like to split that into two payments, please shoot me an e-mail. I hope that you can join me for what will be a wondrously exciting trip.

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 please remember that I am 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, 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 :).

1 comment to The Veiled Monkey … And Digital Eye and Face Doctor. And Some Great New Used Gear Listings Including a Real Goodie!

  • avatar Bobby Perkins

    Best Snow Monkey capture I’ve seen yet, Wow! Just Ninja monkey from the snow. Sweet image Artie, an nice touch-up.