D500 Impressions on a Very Windy Afternoon. And NEF + JPG Help Needed « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

D500 Impressions on a Very Windy Afternoon. And NEF + JPG Help Needed


The early mornings in Phoenix are still quite chilly. Thus, there was a bit of fire in the mist on Thursday but few birds to silhouette … With the constantly changing water levels knowing where to be at the Gilbert Water Ranch Riparian Preserve is a challenge. The water level in the spot that was great two days ago has gone down so now the birds are now much farther away. And there were not many birds in my backup pond early so I took a long walk to check out another spot: way high water and no birds. So I backtracked and had some decent chances with Black-necked Stilts (zero keepers), American Avocet (1 keeper), drake Green-winged Teal (1 keeper), and a handsome male Hooded Merganser (10 keepers). I will be sharing a neat behavioral image from that series with y’all here soon.

On Thursday afternoon we found a spot to photograph Ring-necked Ducks with absolutely killer reflections … We did great and will be back there again soon.

The Streak

Today makes two hundred fourteen days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about 30 minutes to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not…), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections and my continuing insanity willing.

The Used Gear Page

Action on the Used Gear Page recently has been fantastic. You can see all current listings on the Used Photo Gear page here.

New Listings

Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS Lens

Jeff Guettinger is offering a Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS lens (the original version) in mint condition for $2,699.00. The sale includes the original lens trunk, the front leather cover, the rear lens cap, the strap, and insured ground shipping via major courier to continental US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Jeff via e-mail or by phone at 715.379.6302.

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. Jeff’s immaculate lens is priced to sell quickly. artie


Several folks on the Spoonbill IPTs used the Booking.Com link below and got great rates and saved a handsome $25.00 in the process. If you too would like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and to earn a $25 reward on your first booking. 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. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

This image was created on Thursday, February 24 — Day 2 of the second 2018 Spoonbill IPT. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens (at 500mm) and the inexpensive 1.5X crop factor camera body, the Nikon D500. ISO 800. Matrix metering +2/3 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/6.3. AUTO2 WB at 5:14pm on a partly cloudy afternoon.

Center d-72 Shutter Button AF. The selected AF point was on the bird’s right wing (as originally framed). Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Brown Pelican braking to land with tiny stick for nest

My Brief D500 Experience

James Shadle owns and uses his D500 quite often, often with his 600m f/4. He asked me if I would like to try it out and I said “Yes.” It was a very windy afternoon and to photograph the landing pelicans we were anchored near a point completely exposed to the west wind. The boat was really rocking. Because of the tough conditions I found it difficult to frame the flying and landing birds. Had it been calmer, and had I been more accustomed to zooming the “wrong way” with my Nikon gear, I am pretty sure that I would have used the combination of the D500 and the 2-5 a lot more effectively. I did, however, manage to get a few very nice frames.

Priced at only $1,896.95, and teamed with the 2-5 at a ridiculously low $1,396.95, this combo, like the Canon 7D Mark II and the 100-400 II, makes and amazing starter rig for beginning bird and nature photographers. Both can be used with a 1.4X TC and both would do very well on an Induro tripod topped with a Mongoose M3.6.1.

Do note however, that I firmly believe that if you can swing the money for either of the mid-range full frame bodies, the Nikon D850 or the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, you will be much better off doing without the crop factor body and going the cropped image route …

Photo Mechanic/NEF + JPG Help Needed

Unbeknownst to me, the D500 that I borrowed from Froggie was set up to capture NEF (Nikon RAW) + JPG. When I hit Command + E (my Open in Photoshop keyboard shortcut), the JPG opened directly in Photoshop. I could not get the NEF file to open in Camera RAW … (With plain NEF files I simply hit Command + E and the file opens in Camera RAW. If you know a workaround, please leave a comment. Many tanks.

Early Spring Photo Opportunities at ILE

BIRDS AS ART first-ever Master Classes

Master Class Session 1. Two Full and two Half Days/Friday afternoon, March 16 through lunch on Monday, March 19, 2018: course fee: $1,999. Limit: 4/openings:3

Master Class Session 2. Two Full and two Half Days/Friday afternoon, March 30 through lunch on Monday, April 2, 2018. Limit: 4/openings:3

The Master Classes will be small groups โ€” strictly limited to four photographers โ€” with the first folks who register having the option of staying at my home ($50/night) or at a chain motel in nearby Lake Wales. Live, think, and breathe photography from Friday afternoon through lunch on Monday (late-morning); all meals included. There will be three afternoon photo sessions (FRI – SUN) hopefully with glorious sunsets like the ones you saw one the blog in December we should have good opportunities with the cranes even in the afternoon. We will enjoy three morning photography sessions (SAT – MON) with the main subjects being tame Sandhill Cranes almost surely with chicks or colts. Also vultures and Cattle Egrets and more. Limpkins are possible. Intermediate telephoto lenses are fine for the cranes, even the chicks at times. A 500 or 600mm lens would be best for many of the situations that we will encounter.

During the day we will sit together around my dining room table and pick everyoneโ€™s keepers and enjoy guided Photoshop sessions. On Monday before lunch, folks can make a single large print of their favorite image from the weekend. If you so choose, I will micro-adjust one of your lenses (at one focal length with your #1 camera body–Canon or Nikon) during a group instructional session. All will be welcome to practice what they have learned during the breaks using my set-up and my lighting gear.

To register, please first shoot me an e-mail to check on availability. Then you will be instructed to call Jim or Jen at 863-692-0906 during weekday business hours (except for Friday afternoons) to leave you non-refundable (unless the session sells out) $500 deposit. Only the deposit may be left on credit card. Balances must be paid by check immediately after you register (unless you wish to pay by credit card plus 4% to cover our fees).

I hope that you can join me on this new adventure.

with love, artie

ps: bring your bathing suit if you would like to try my pool!

The Nikon D850/D5 Focus Fine-tune Guide

I hope to be working on a Nikon D850/D5 Focus Fine-tune Guide while I am in Phoenix. There is lots of mis-information out there on Nikon Automatic AF Fine-tune. Working with Patrick Sparkman, we perfected a method of using the Focus Peaking feature available only on the D850 to quickly and accurately micro-adjust all of your lenses and TC-Es with your D-850. Both Nikon Automatic AF Fine-tune and D850 Focus Peaking AF Fine-tune require a LensAlign Mark II kit. If you know for sure whether the very popular Nikon D500 DSLR Camera (Body Only) (or any other of the newer Nikon dSLRs) offer Automatic AF Fine-tune.

Folks who purchase a Nikon D850, a Nikon D5 DSLR Camera (Body Only, Dual XQD Slots), or any Nikon gear totaling more than $2,000 will receive the new guide free. I hope to have it finished in three weeks but don’t hold me to it ๐Ÿ™‚

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my (stupendous) efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.


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In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

8 comments to D500 Impressions on a Very Windy Afternoon. And NEF + JPG Help Needed

  • avatar Theodoros Naziridis

    Dear Artie,
    For NEF+JPEG issue, go to Photo Mechanic 5 Preferences, Contact sheet page and there unchek the “Combine RAW + JPEG into single thumbnail”. This will separate the thumbnails for JPEG and NEF files
    Also, Preferences, Launching page and there check the button “Edit the RAW photo” in “When in RAW + JPEG mode, editing a photo will:”
    Best regards

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Ah, Theo, my dear old friend. It is good to hear from you. And best of all your instructions were perfect.

      With much love, artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: thanks, as always. Your advice to get a D850 or 5D4, amounts, as you say, the advice to crop the image rather than the sensor. Have you done direct comparisons that you base that advice on?

  • avatar Glen

    You might need to update the driver for Photomechanic to open d850 RAW files.

  • Click on this computer. Open your SD or XQD card. Double or right click on DCM folder. Double click on file folder that shows. The folder with your photos is now open. Select View from top tabs. Go to right and select “Group by” and select type. You will now have all the jpegs in a group and the NEF in a group. Put them in two different folders or just delete all the jpegs. Now you will only have NEFs to work with.