Canon 100-400 II/1.4X III/5D Mark IV Deadly in LaJolla. My Self Critique. And Another Big Fat Liar … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Canon 100-400 II/1.4X III/5D Mark IV Deadly in LaJolla. My Self Critique. And Another Big Fat Liar ...


Nothing too exciting on Saturday. I worked on blog posts, enjoyed a nice, easy, early 1/2 mile swim, a short nap, and I continued eating well. And I started reviewing Arash Hazeghi’s update of the The Professional Post Processing Guide so as to reflect the NeatImage V8.2 release. The original guide was based on V7.6. The two versions are quite different. I

I was glad to learn of the sale of Marina Scarr’s Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and that the sale of Brent Bridges’ 5D Mark III & 28-135IS package, 7D II, old 100-400, 1.4X III TC, and Induro CT 304 became pending, all of the above on the first day of listing.

I was more than thrilled to learn that San Diego IPT veteran and Galapagos 2017 Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime registrant Loren Waxman signed up for the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT that is now sold out.

Tennis Elbow Miracle Cure

If there is anyone out there in pain from tennis elbow or from the closely related Gitzo steel tripod elbow, please click shoot me an e-mail by clicking here. I learned this simple exercise from the brilliant Dr Cliff Oliver of San Diego. 31 folks in pain have tried it, including me. Though the exercise seems to make no sense at all, 30 folks were completely and miraculously healed in 2-3 days. The other one did not do the exercises 🙂

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens for Canon EF

Price Reduced $200 on June 25, 2017.

Multiple IPT veteran Brent Bridges is also offering a used Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports lens for Canon EF in near-mint condition for only $999 (was $1199). The sale includes the original product box, a LensCoat, the instruction manual, the lens strap & hood, and insured ground shipping by major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Brent by e-mail or by phone at 770-565-5012 (Eastern time).

Lots of folks on recent IPTs have been using this relatively new Sigma lens with excellent results. artie

One Mongoose M3.6 Head still in Stock …

For the first time in months, we had Mongoose M3.6 heads in stock. We got our hands on six the other day; three were already accounted for and we sold another two this week … Call Jim at 863-692-0906 weekdays to order the last one. We have ordered more.

The Streak

Just in case you have not been counting, today makes 12 days in a row with a new educational blog post 🙂


I could not secure the lodging that I needed for the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT in Dunbar, Scotland, so I went from Hotels.Com to Booking.Com and was pleasantly surprised. I found the rooms that I needed with ease at a hotel that was not even on Hotels.Com, and it was a nice hotel that I had seen in person. And the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward.

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.

Please Don’t Forget …

As always–and folks have been doing a really great job for a long time now–please remember to use the BAA B&H links for your major and minor 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.

This image was created on the 2017 San Diego IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: +5.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the side of the bird’s breast just in front of the bend of the wing, right on the same plane as the bird’s eye.

Black Turnstone, winter plumage

100-400 II/1.4X III/5D Mark IV Deadly in LaJolla

The hand held 100-400 II/1.4X III/5D Mark IV combo is deadly on the cliffs of La Jolla, both on the pelican cliffs and the low cliffs. In general, you do not need the 1.4X TC for the pelican as they are so tame and so close. Being able to zoom in and out while hand holding a lightweight lens is hugely advantageous when you are trying to frame a pelican head throw, wing stretch, or squabble. And the 1.4 is a great flight lens for large birds. When going after the smaller shorebirds at 560mm you gain a ton in maneuverability while losing a bit of reach (as compared to the 500 II or the 600 II with a TC). Having to move the tripod to stay on sun angle or to keep up with the birds as they forage is a big pain. It is conceivable that one could do the whole San Diego IPT with just a 100-400 II. With a 1.4X TC in their pocket. And that goes double for folks using a 7D Mark II.

Self Critique

I do not have many good images of this West Coast species. Before last year, all of them were made with big glass and TCs. I love everything about this image: a good exposure (see more on that below), the sharpness, the image design with the bird nicely back in the frame, the o-o-f background that comes with having the bird right on the edge of the rock shelf, the soft light that is the result of a light cloud in front of the sun, the raised foot, and the delicious, earth-toned background colors (and the patterns there as well). And how could I almost miss the perfect head angle?

(Sorry Bug Bob — I just could not resist the comma after closing the parens around see more on that below” …)

Did I miss anything good or bad?

The DPP 4 screen capture for today’s featured image

Another Lying Histogram

Note in the DPP 4 screen capture that though there is no data at all anywhere near the rightmost box of the histogram, the RGB values for the brightest WHITEs on the bird’s flank are R = 240, G = 239, B = 229. I certainly would not want to go any brighter with the WHITEs.

So again, what’s the lesson? In situations where middle and dark tones prevail but where there are small areas of WHITE in an image, there may be no data at all in the rightmost box of the histogram even when the exposure is pretty much correct. If and when you get more than a very few blinkies on the WHITEs, you will want to go a click faster on the shutter speed (1/3 stop faster).

ISO Question

Why might ISO 800 been a better choice than ISO 400 for this image. Note that I was crouching …

2017 in San Diego was a very good year ….

2018 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART IPT: Monday, JAN 15 thru and including the morning session on Friday, JAN 19, 2018: 4 1/2 days: $2099.
Limit: 10: Openings: 4

Meet and Greet at 6:30pm on the evening before the IPT begins; Sunday, Jan 14, 2018.

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (usually nesting and displaying) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Wood Duck and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heerman’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seal (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lion; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Please note: formerly dependable, both Wood Duck and Marbled Godwit have been declining at their usual locations for the past two years …


San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects. With annual visits spanning more than three decades I have lot of experience there….

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You can do most of your photography with an 80- or 100-400 lens …

Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter?


Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings.

The San Diego Details

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, four 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo sessions, four lunches, and after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. Dinners are on your own so that we can get some sleep.

A $599 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 9/11//2016. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

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.

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use the logo link above.

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here.


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 :).

13 comments to Canon 100-400 II/1.4X III/5D Mark IV Deadly in LaJolla. My Self Critique. And Another Big Fat Liar …

  • avatar Kent Downing

    Hi Artie-
    Raise the ISO to 800? Insurance due to the changing weather. If the light clouds changed to dark clouds you would need to add more light to the exposure. Since you were just about at the minimum exposure settings for the camera-lens-tc combo for this image, changing the ISO to 800 would have been a good move giving you room for additional adjustments to the exposure. If the clouds turned to sun there was ample room to readjust accordingly.
    Changing the ISO provides an additional one-stop of exposure flexibility. For this image possibly to increase the shutter speed and/or raise the aperture for more DOF and sharpness. Also by increasing the shutter speed you are readying yourself for potential action should the situation change.
    If just the ISO was changed from 400 to 800 the image would have been overexposed by one stop.
    Hope you are well.
    Cheers Kent
    PS-Have you used/commented on the Auto ISO w/ EC feature on the 5DM4 ?

  • avatar Mark Jordan

    ISO 800 would have given you higher shutter speed to freeze the moving feet better.
    Regards Artie.

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Hi Artie,
    Killer image. Love the clarity and detail. Love the action and particularly love the angle of the bird’s head. The background colors add interest as well.
    RE: ISO 800. The only reason I can think of is, because you were crouching, did you have concerns about your stability and potential camera movement?
    Otherwise, did you want to shot to be more grainy?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Glad that you like it. I never want the image to be more grainy 🙂

      with love, artie

  • ISO 800 would have perhaps provided more background light and contrast. The f/9 was good for feather details.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Harry, The background light is the background light. Changing the ISO does not affect either the amount or quality of the light (on the background) nor would it change the contrast. It goes without saying that if I raised the ISO one stop that I would have raised the shutter speed one stop.

      Lastly, do understand that f/9 is only stopped down 1/3 stop as wide open with this combo if f/8.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Bob Allen

    Nice image and tips! Uh, Artie, I’m not the one that told you not to use a comma after a closed paren. It is a required comma. It may have been Patman Sparkadoodle.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Glad to hear that. My admittedly feeble mind is telling me that it was a guy from SoCal with a big red beard who loves plants and flowers … Glad to hear also that my gut feeling on the needed comma were correct. Definitely not Patrick though 🙂

      with love, artie

      ps: I will need to check the video tape 🙂

  • The tennis elbow cure is a miracle! Since you walked me through the exercises a couple of years ago I have had no further reoccurence 🙂

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Lovely image. Also looking on my phone, but I don’t see any reason this image might have been better at ISO 800. The IS on the 1-4II is killer. Your use of the comma is not only correct, it is required.

  • avatar Scott Borowy

    Hi Artie, I am looking at this on my phone, so while I cannot comment on the finer things, I can only think that you might want ISO 800 to bring your shutter speed up past your working focal length.

    Two additional thoughts:
    1. The comma after the closing parens is correct, no?
    2. That is some killer light. I almost thought it was fill-flash before I read the full article.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Scott,

      Good thinking on the ISO … Or not???

      Bug Bob Allen told me that using a comma after a closed parens is wrong but only 100% of the time 🙂

      Glad you liked the image. With love, artie