Small-in-the-Frame AF Tips for Nikon & Canon. And Amy Says … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Small-in-the-Frame AF Tips for Nikon & Canon. And Amy Says ...


My shoulder is feeling a bit better each day but it continues to bother me after five or so hours of sound sleep. So I get up and ice it and then go back to sleep. I went into town to get my teeth cleaned in the morning and blew up lots of balloons during the rest of the day. My exercise regimen right now includes ten different positions and takes about an hour if I do them back to back to back … I do them two or three times a day.

My D5 arrives tomorrow so I will be getting started on the Nikon AF Fine-tune Guide.

The Streak

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

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Patrick Sparkman saved $350 on a recent purchase!

The Nikon D850/D5 Focus Fine-tune Guide

I will be working on a Nikon D850/D5 Focus Fine-tune Guide soon as my replacement D5 arrives provided that my shoulder continues to improve. 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 so that you can obtain accurate results. I learned recently that the Nikon D500 DSLR does offer Automatic AF Fine-tune.

Folks who use one of my links to purchase a Nikon D850, a Nikon D5 DSLR Camera (Body Only, Dual XQD Slots), a Nikon D500 DSLR , or any Nikon gear totaling more than $2,000 will receive the new guide free. I hope to have it finished in two weeks but don’t hold me to it ๐Ÿ™‚

The Used Gear Page

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

Canon EOS-1D X Professional Digital Camera Body & and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens

Katherine Tryon is offering a Canon EOS-1D X in excellent condition (with less than 16,000 shutter actuations) and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens for the very fair price of $2324.00. The sale includes the lens strap, an extra LP-E4N battery (new-in-box), the battery charger, the manuals, the protective battery caps, the original box, and insured ground shipping via UPS to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Katherine via e-mail by phone at 1-904-613-9756 (Eastern time).

Two 1DX bodies severed admirably as my workhorse digital camera bodies for several years when I was using Canon gear. The original 1DX has a superb AF system and produces high quality image files. It is fabulous for photographing birds in flight and in action. Some folks wish that they had kept there 1DX bodies and not upgraded to the 1DX Mark II. artie

Amy Says …

I received this e-mail from physiotherapist Amy Novotny on March 10:

Artie, You have been one of my favorite patients. It has been a gift to work with you and meet you. Thank you for trusting me enough to follow my guidance. Keep it up. ๐Ÿ™‚ Amy

I wrote back and asked her to write up something simple describing my case and my progress. Here is her reply:

When I first met artie in January, he was desperate for help physically. At that time, he walked on his toes very unsteadily. He was not able to touch his knees together and leaned forward at his hips as though he might fall over at any time. He had numerous complaints of pain and limited motion throughout his body–left knee, low back, mid back, right shoulder, tingling in his hands, hip/buttocks with driving– to name a few. His ribs did not move at all, neither did his hips or pelvis because his back was so locked up. He was not able to squat and was told that he needed a knee replacement. After the first set of eight treatments, he left the clinic able to sit pain free to drive 25-30 minutes, he was able to squat to touch the floor (rather than having to bend over at the waist). He had days with no low back or left knee pain and his shoulder motion improved. He returned for nine more treatments in March and had slight regressions but was able to maintain a lot of his rib and upper body mobility. The focus became on his lower body and unlocking his hips from his low back to allow them to shift and move so as to allow for a normal walking pattern. We achieved that and I taught him how to walk again. He returned home pain free throughout his body. His case is one of my proudest as I could not have done this without his hard work and complete follow through with my instructions. Congratulations Artie!

Amy Novotny, PT, DPT

DHT Physical Therapy, Chandler, AZ 85224. 480-963-9339

Amy’s Impressions

Arizona Highways Photo Workshops Volunteer Trip Leader

My Thoughts

Even though Amy stated clearly from the get-go that my body was a wreck with nothing working the way it should, I did not think that I was that bad. And I do feel that I was desperate; I had had previous successes with a variety of alternative medicine treatments over the years and once I heard of Muriel McClellan’s elimination of her bone-on-bone knee pain I was looking for a miracle. With Amy’s help, I am well on my way. I just made plans to return to PHX for additional visits 30 APR through 10 MAY of this year.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was a visit to a local orthopedic surgeon. At the end of my session he said to me, “I am a great surgeon. I don’t need your business. I am doing 20 knee replacements every week. But as a friend, I must advise that you have knee replacement surgery as soon as possible …” I bought my first plane ticket to Phoenix the next day. ๐Ÿ™‚

This image was created on the morning of March 5, 2018 with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and the Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering -1 2/3 stops: 1/3200 sec. at f/6.3. AUTO2 WB at 7:42am on a clear day.

3D-tracking Shutter Button AF. The system activated a single AF point that fell on the bird’s face just below the eye.

AF Focus peaking Fine-tune: +4.

Black-necked Still, female feeding

The Situation

You have a fairly distant and thus small-in-the-frame subject in lovely habitat. You need and want to keep the bird on one side of the frame or another. What is the best AF strategy to use? Note: If you are working with a sleeping or resting bird, you choice of AF Point or AF-area mode with Nikon (AF Area Selection mode in Canon) really does not matter. If you can get an AF point on the bird you can stay in C — Continuous (AI Servo in Canon) and use just about any AF area, even single point. If there is not an AF point in the array that covers the bird you will need to go to Single (One-shot in Canon), switch to rear button focus, or use Focus Lock (as I do with Nikon via the AF-ON button). Problems arise when the bird is walking or swimming or foraging as in today’s featured image. And that goes double when the are constantly changing direction …

Small-in-the-Frame AF Tip for Nikon

When I first tried figuring out how to tackle this situation with my new Nikon gear, I went with either d-25 or d-72. The problem was that with so many AF points — 153 I think, 55 of those selectable — it simply took to long to move the array from one side of the frame to the other — ten taps I believe. When I encountered today’s Black-necked Stilt moving left and then right and the back the other way, I decided to experiment with 3D. This activates all 153 AF points and lets you pick one of the 55 selectable as your starting point. I went with the center AF point and was fairly amazed that when I re-framed the subject the AF point did a great job of staying right where I had placed it. So if I acquired focus with 3D with the center AF point on the bird’s neck and re-framed to move the bird to one side of the frame of the other, AF held accurately most of the time on the bird’s neck. And this worked well whether the bird was moving right or left. I will admit that not every image was perfectly sharp on the eye but the compositional freedom offered by 3D in this specific situation was fabulous. And I wound up keeping 20 very sharp images.

Small-in-the-Frame AF Tip for Canon

In the same situation with Canon I would have immediately gone to Large Zone AF. It does a great job of acquiring and holding focus with birds on one side of the frame or the other. I would need to switch from left Large Zone to right Large Zone as the bird changed direction but doing so requires only two taps of the joystick. I will admit that I almost never tried 61-Point AF with Canon; it is most similar to Nikon’s 3D.

Early Spring Photo Opportunities at ILE

BIRDS AS ART first-ever Master Class

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

The Master Classe will be a small group 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.

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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

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Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 :).

13 comments to Small-in-the-Frame AF Tips for Nikon & Canon. And Amy Says …

  • avatar Chris Caldwell

    Taking it easy and Amy’s confidence sound like good medicine. I wish you well. It is hard to be patient when there are so many more pictures to make. That being said…the body doesn’t lie.

  • avatar Muriel McClellan

    Thanks for the tip on getting a bird in focus when they are way to the right or left. Enjoying the discussion about Amy and her approach. She is the best.

  • Hey Arthur, Nice frame here love the ripples in the water and the low angle. Iโ€™m sure you know this but you can do what people call โ€œaround the worldโ€. If you are using a autofocus point on the very right and click right it will take you to the very left side of the autofocus points. Saving you some clicks. I know this works with Canon I donโ€™t know about Nikon.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks John. Yes, I had all of my Canon cameras set up that way and I have my two Nikon bodies set up to do the same. But both 3D and Large Zone makes things just a bit easier. And as in the Olympics, 1/100 sec. in bird photography can make a huge difference ๐Ÿ™‚

      with love, artie

  • avatar Chris Caldwell

    Mr. Artie, Thank you for having a piece about Physical Therapist, Amy Novotny. I went to many weeks of treatment with her over a period of 5 months. I was also desperate. I was unable to walk a couple of blocks without severe foot, leg, KNEES, and hip pain, and can now straighten both legs and walk without any pain. The practices you described are similar to the ones I did, too. All I can say is working with her was one of the most enlightening and healing experiences I have ever had. I would return to her in a second should my body need the work. She is exceptional!
    PS The breathing and balloon blowing are integral parts of the work.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I agree. I am going back at least more. I was a wreck to start ๐Ÿ™‚

      with love, artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Maybe things are more complicated, but for me, a small white bird in a large area of darkish background needs to be underexposed to avoid blowing the whites. That’s true of a white and black bird as well. I probably would have guessed – 1 2/3 or -2 and then checked for blinkies.

    I normally would have preferred the bird larger in the frame but the circular ripples are lovely and justify having it so small.

  • avatar Milton Heiberg

    The background would eat up the meter and give you a 50% gray background while it blows out the birds white feathers. It’s 10:15 AM and nobody else chimed in, so I thought I’d say hello! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Milton. Hope that you are Dani are well. Milton was my first and only photography teacher: 8 Tuesday nights in early 1984 at 23 West 23rd Street in Manhattan, the home of NYC Audubon.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    Gorgeous image with beautiful color–blue and green water, red eye, pink legs. I don’t understand the +1 2/3 exposure though. I don’t do well with exposure, so can you explain?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Elinor, You understand it better than you think: it should have been -1 2/3 stops. I fixed my typo. So now I ask you and the gang, why -1 2/3 stops for this image?

      with love, artie

      • avatar Elinor Osborn

        OK If there had been no white, would have -1 been good? Then to keep the white from overexposing you needed another -2/3? Or maybe even -2/3 for all the dark and -1 for the whites?