Simple Yet Perfect ??? Still More 100-400 II Versatility. And Lots of Great News and New Used Gear. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Simple Yet Perfect ??? Still More 100-400 II Versatility. And Lots of Great News and New Used Gear.


We got lots done yesterday as I started packing for the DeSoto Fall IPT. Midday on Thursday I will drive over a day early for an afternoon and morning scouting session. I did have time for a relaxing 48-length swim on Tuesday afternoon.

Great IPT News

An amazing seven folks have already committed to the new, expanded UK Puffins and Gannets 2018 IPT with the Bempton Cliffs pre-trip. And all have signed up for the pre-trip. There are just three slots left so if you are interested in joining us please do not tarry. You can learn more about this great trip and learn more here.

Great News on the BAA Online Store

With help from regular blog readers Gloria Matyszyk and Keith Swindell, Jim was able to get back on line with the Mobile Hotspot on my Verizon Droid. Gloria suggested a wi-fi stick; I was able to grab the last one at our local Walmart’s. And Keith suggested via e-mail that the stick might not be working because the (dead) router was still plugged in. As soon as we removed that cable we were online! Thanks again to Gloria and Keith.

As a result, Jim was successfully able to fulfill a slew of orders that had been backed up in the BAA Online Store for more than a week in a single day. Thanks to all who waited patiently to hear from us as we recovered from Hurricane Irma. I did call Frontier back yesterday and was able to get my repair visit moved up from Monday to today, Wednesday, September 20. If you have been holding off on placing your order, today is the day.

The Streak

Today marks fifty-seven days in a row with a new educational blog post — Irma be damned! This one took about one hour to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of (I think) four hundred eighty something … Good health and good internet connections willing.

Everybody’s Doing It…

Everybody’s buying and selling used gear on the BAA Used Gear Page. Sales recently have been through the roof. 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 charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They recently folded. And eBay fees are now in the 13% range. 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 at the top of each blog post.

Latest Used Gear Kudos

via e-mail from Robert Blanke

Hey Artie. Thank you again–the 5D s sale makes four cameras sold at fair prices and commissions, with the first three going in one day! Cheers Robert

Used Gear Sale from the past month

Robert Blanke sold his Canon EOS 5Ds body in like-new condition for $2249.00 in early September.
Ron Paulk sold his Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for $9,899 with lots of great extras in early September.
Lisa Tri sold her Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Zoom lens (the original IS version) in near-mint condition for the BAA record low price of $898 in early September.
IPT veteran Joe Messina sold his Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender in excellent plus condition for the BAA record-low price of $7,900 in early September.
Ivan Kuraev sold his Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens in near-mint condition for $1699 and his Canon EOS 5D Mark IV in excellent near-mint condition for $2499 in early September.
IPT veteran Mike Ross sold his Canon EOS 7D Mark II with the Canon BG-E16 Battery Grip all in mint condition for $1,099 on the first day it was listed in early September.
Ray Stranagan sold his Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens in excellent condition for $3999 in early September, just three days after it was listed.
IPT veteran Richard Bohnet also sold his Canon EOS 5D MK III (with an L-bracket) in near-mint condition for $1350 and his Canon EOS 7D in excellent condition for $279 in late August.
IPT veteran Richard Bohnet sold his Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens (the “old” 1-4) in excellent condition for an even $500 in mid-August.
Multiple IPT veteran Carlotta Grenier sold her Canon EOS-1DX camera body in excellent condition for $2358 and a never used Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens for Canon EF in better than like-new condition for the BAA record low price of $998.
Eric Karl sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III body in very good plus condition with extras for $1,300 in mid-August.

Tamron SP 150-600 f/5.6-6.5 Di VC USD

Margaret Page is offering a Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD lens for Canon in like-new condition (used only once) for the ridiculously low price of $699. The sale includes the lens hood, the soft case, the front and rear caps, the instruction sheet, the original box are included, and insured ground shipping via UPS. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Margaret via e-mail or by phone at 706-761-5555 (Eastern time).

Several folks on IPTs have used this lens and made lots of sharp images. A telling factor is that there are no used copies of this lens available on eBay or in the B&H Used Gear listings. artie

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Margaret Page is also offering a used Canon EOS 7D Mark II in near-mint condition along with a Really Right Stuff B7D2-L Set L-Plate (a $175 value) for the very low price of $949. The body was recently cleaned and checked by Canon. The sale includes the front body cap, the camera strap, and insured ground shipping via UPS. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Margaret via e-mail or by phone at 706-761-5555 (Eastern time).

Both Patrick Sparkman and I used and loved the 7D Mark II until about two years ago when we both 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

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens

Margaret Page is also offering a used Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens in near-mint condition for the great low price of $425. The sale includes the front and rear lens caps, the hood, and insured ground shipping via UPS. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Margaret via e-mail or by phone at 706-761-5555 (Eastern time).

This lightweight versatile wide angle zoom lens fits only Canon crop factor bodies like the 7D II, the 7D, the 50D, and the 40D. The 1.6 crop factor turns it into an effective 16-35mm zoom lens. As it sells new for $649, you can save a bundle while completing your kit with the great wide angle by grabbing Margaret’s lens now. artie


I could not secure the lodging that I needed for last year’s 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.

Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.

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.

This image was created on our afternoon landing at Inner Farnes with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 560mm) with favorite young gull photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. Daylight WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: +1.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was placed on the upper center of the young gull’s breast. Click on the image to enjoy a larger, inexplicably sharper version.

Black-headed Gull in fresh juvenile plumage

Simple Yet Perfect ???

There is a very small pond on the middle path that leads up to the lighthouse on Inner Farnes. I alway make a point to check it several times each afternoon. Twice in the past three years I have found a baby puffin there. Last July there were lots of baby Black-headed Gulls swimming around. I made many images of them both last July and on previous trips. Today’s featured image is my favorite by far. Why? I think that the soft light and the fact that I gave the bird lots of room in the frame made this one special for me.

The tendency with images like this it to want to make the bird large in the frame. I have, however, long said this, “For photos that include the whole bird , the general guideline is not to go larger than 75% of either dimension.” As I have aged (or perhaps mellowed a bit if you will), that percentage keeps dropping, often down to 50 (or to well less than that with this image).

Still More 100-400 II Versatility

By adding a 1.4X TC to your 100-400 II you can get out to 560mm. And even in relatively low light, the amazing 4-stop image stabilization system allows you to hand hold at reasonable shutter speeds without having to jack the ISO up too high. You could do every landing on the UK Puffins IPT with just the 100-400 II and a TC in your pocket and go home with lots of great images.

The Image Optimization

During the RAW conversion in DPP 4 I moved the Brightness slider to +.6 as I did not add nearly enough light when I was in the field. Once I had the image in Photoshop I leveled it and then ran RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing on a layer. While this eliminated a slight CYAN color cast it made the image just a bit too contrasty for me so I applied my Reduced Contrast preset. This gave me the softer look that I was after. Last I selected the face and the bill with the Quick Selection Tool, put that on its own layer, and applied a Contrast Mask.

Image Design Question

With regards to the size of the bird in the frame in today’s featured image”

a- The bird is too small in the frame
b- The bird is too large in the frame.
c- The bird is just right.

In addition, your comments are welcome.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) will teach you an efficient Mac/Photo Mechanic/Photoshop workflow that will make it easy for you to make your images better in Photoshop (rather than worse). That true whether you convert your images in DPP 4 or ACR. See the blog post here to learn lots more and to read a free excerpt.

You can order your copy from the BAA Online Store here, by sending a Paypal for $40 here, or by calling Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II)

Everything mentioned above is covered in detail in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here. The new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. Do note that you will find the RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing tutorial only in the new e-guide. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

The two most recent MP4 Photoshop Tutorial videos releases go hand and hand with the information in DB II):

  • The Wingtip Repairs MP4 Video here.
  • The MP4 Crow Cleanup Video here.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here.

You can learn how and why I and other discerning Canon shooters convert nearly all of their Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 using Canon Digital Photo Professional in the DPP 4 RAW conversion Guide here. And you can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and (NeatImage) Noise Reduction techniques in the The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly.

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt 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 :).

11 comments to Simple Yet Perfect ??? Still More 100-400 II Versatility. And Lots of Great News and New Used Gear.

  • avatar Roger Stewart


    I like the symmetry of the ripples and the reflection, positioned broadly central in the frame but with more space to the right. I might have shaved a touch more off the top.

    By the way, I don’t know if you are aware of ‘Project Puffin’, but you and your clients could help next year. It aims to understand (among other things) how diet affects puffins around the UK. One of the sources of evidence is pictures of the food caught by Puffins (particularly sand eels and sprats) to indicate how the size and quantity caught in each area correlates with breeding success. This link refers:

    As a regular visitor to the Farne Islands your images could be very helpful. I will understand if you couldn’t assist (where would you stop with such requests) but some of your clients might feel that as a one-off they could offer their input next year.

    All the best

    Roger Stewart (Scotland)

  • Hey Arthur, the bird is just the right size. The reflection and the negative space are nice.

  • avatar Jake

    Hi Artie, I think you get the size in the frame just right.

  • avatar Carol Nichols

    For my taste I would take a bit off the bottom.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Thanks, Artie. Wonderful image, I wouldn’t change it at all, although if it had been mine I probably would have cropped it a bit tighter, and then maybe thought better of it. I’m finding with hummingbirds in flight I typically like to stop at 39% and prefer a bit more background with a higher-quality image to a tighter crop.

  • avatar Steve Dickson

    Hi Artie, Nice shot. I was wondering about your use of F9. Was it because you were so close to the gull that you wanted to make sure the whole bird was in focus. Not a criticism just curious.

    Steve Dickson

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Steve,

      Good question. f/9 is my default aperture when working with an f/5.6 lens and a 1.4X TC. In that situation, f/8 is wide open. I like to stop down 1/3 stop just for the heck of it, more for possibly just a bit of extra sharpness rather than for more depth-of-field. That is left over from the old days when it was recommended that you stop down one full stop down from wide open with long telephotos as they were sharper stopped down. Though today’s lenses are super-sharp wide open old habits die hard 🙂

      with love, artie

  • Thank you for the blog.

    For me it is just about as good as it gets. For Gulls and other common birds this should be good but If I like the plumage, I might as well get in tighter.

  • I frequently get too focused on the subject and am not very good at remembering to show the environment, hence I often crop too tight. That said, I think this might be a teeny bit nicer with a slightly looser crop.