Flight Photography with High Megapixel Camera Bodies … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Flight Photography with High Megapixel Camera Bodies ...


The shoulder continues to feel better but still lots of impingements with abduction and flexion. But I am finding it easier to do the everyday things with my left arm that we take for granted. And I slept a lot better on Tuesday night than I did on Monday night.

I got a ton of work done on the Nikon Focus Fine-tune Guide. As always, writing good how-to is a time consuming challenge. I do well by doing the task while writing about it; that ensures that all the instructions will be clear, accurate, and complete. At least that is the plan.

The Streak

Today makes two hundred thirty-four days in a row with a new educational blog post! This about an hour 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 Used Gear Page

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

Recent Sales

Jim Brennan sold his Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in excellent plus condition for only $1,219.00 on the first day of listing.
Jim Burns recently sold his EOS-1D Mark IV body in excellent plus condition for a BAA record low $998; not sure exactly when 🙂
David Solis sold a brand new Sanho HyperDrive Colorspace UDMA 3 1 TB wireless photo/video memory card backup for $399.00 after being contacted on the first day of listing.
David Solis sold his Canon EF 300 mm f/2.8L IS USM (the original version) lens in excellent plus condition for $2399.00 after being contacted on the first day of listing.
David Solis sold his Canon EF 500 mm f/4L IS USM (the “old five”) in excellent plus condition with perfect glass for the BAA record low price of $3399.00.
Les Greenberg sold his Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM zoom lens in mint condition to a local buyer and is sending me a check for 2 1/2% of the original asking price of $1599.
Joel Williams sold his Fujifilm XF 50 f/2 R WR lens in like-new condition for only $299 in early March.
Rajat Kapoor sold his Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens (the “old 1-4”) in near-mint condition the first day is was listed for $649.
Jim Brennan sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens (the “old five”) in near-mint condition and a Canon EF 1.4 III teleconverter in very good condition for $3,599.00 right after listing them in early March.
Gary Meyer sold his Canon EOS 7D Mark II in near-mint condition for $798 soon after it was listed in early March.

In addition, the sale of John Norris’s Canon 1DX Mark II — premium kit — (with less than 2,000 actuations!) in like-new condition but for a few small scuff marks for top left and bottom right for the BAA record-low price of $3,996.00 became pending on the first day it was listed.

New Listing

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens

Kevin Hice is offering a lightly used Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in near-mint condition for $4099.00. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the tough front lens cover, the lens strap, a LensCoat, the Canon drop-in polarizer (PL-C52 — W11) with inexpensive filter replaced by a Singh Ray LB Warming Circular Polarizer (about a $400 value), and 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.

Please contact Kevin via e-mail or by phone at 1-701-460-6112 (Central time).

The 300mm f/2.8 autofocus lenses have long been the first choice of the world’s best hawks-in-flight photographers with and without a 1.4X TC. When teamed up with either the 1.4X or 2X TC, it makes a great hand holdable walk-around lens. Grabbing Kevin’s near-mint lens will save you an incredible $2,000.00 as new ones are going for $6099 from B&H. I owned and used several versions of the 300 f/2.8 lens for many years until finally replacing my 300 f/2.8 II with the 400 DO II about a year ago. That said, the 300 f/2.8 II represents a great value as the 400 DO II sells new for 6,899.00. artie

This image was created on February 17, 2018 at Gatorland with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR AF lens and the Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering probably at -1/3 stop as originally framed: 1/4000 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. SUNNY WB at 8:24am on a clear morning.

Center Group/Shutter Button AF as originally framed; the bottom AF point in the diamond pattern was squarely on the bird’s eye.

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +11

Snowy Egret, mega-breeding plumage in flight

Flight Photography with High Megapixel Camera Bodies …

There are several advantages to using high megapixel cameras like the Nikon D850, the Canon 5D Mark IV, and the Canon 5DS R:

1-When you shoot wider, that is, with the subject smaller in the frame, you enjoy extra depth-of-field because the subject is relatively far away.
2-With the subject relatively far away, the bird will be moving more slowly relative to your position than if you had added a TC to a lower mega-pixel body in an effort to get more pixels on the subject.
3-With the subject moving more slowly relative to your position AF tracking and accuracy perform better resulting in sharper images.
4-You can execute relatively large crops and wind up with high quality images.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +11!

Note with today’s featured image that the Focus peaking AF Fine-tune of +11 makes a significant difference in image sharpness as compared to the default setting, zero.
Fine-tune values of +1 or -2 do not make any great differences but the idea of fine-tuning and micro-adjusting is to ferret out the combos that need some serious adjustments and to maximize the percentage of sharp keepers with all iterations of your camera bodies, lenses, and TCs.

The Nikon D850/D5/D500/D750 Focus Fine-tune Guide

I began work on the Nikon D850/D5/D500/D750 Focus Fine-tune Guide last Friday. There is lots of mis-information out there on Nikon Automatic AF Fine-tune. Working with Patrick Sparkman, we developed a way of using that feature effectively. Patrick was on a roll and perfected a method for using the Focus Peaking feature available only on the D850 to quickly and accurately micro-adjust all 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 and the older D750 both 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 🙂

Click on the image to get a better view.

Capture NX-D screen capture

A Healthy Crop …

Today’s featured image is only 23.7% of the original. That means that 76.3% of those original pixels were cropped away and discarded. The flattened 8-bit master file is 30.9 M. The flattened 8-bit TIFF is 130 M. The high mega-pixel camera bodies allow you to crop almost with impunity and maintain decent image quality, provided that the original image is sharp.

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: $1999.00. Limit: 4/Openings 3.

The Master Classe will be a small group — strictly limited to four photographers — 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 everyone’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.

Tame birds in breeding plumage and chicks are great fun.

Gatorland IPT #2. Sunrise: 6:48am. Sunset: 7:58pm.

3 1/2 DAYs: THURS 26 APR through and including the morning of SUN 29 APR. $1599. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 3.

Must purchase Gatorland Photographers Pass. Click here for details. All early entry. Late stays Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Gatorland IPT #2 should have lots of chicks, and lots of birds in breeding plumage. We will get to photograph Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, and Wood Stork. The Cattle Egrets in full breeding plumage will be present in good numbers. Learn my Gatorland strategy, to get the right exposure, flight photography techniques, my secret Gatorland spots, how to see the best situations (nobody is better at that than me), and how to make great images in extremely cluttered situations.

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 🙂

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 :).

9 comments to Flight Photography with High Megapixel Camera Bodies …

  • avatar Glen

    Good Morning Art, the example I gave applies universally. Stop signs, birds, everything. The only way to change DOF in the conditions stated is to change the F-stop. That’s it. I only underscore this fact for those that are trying to understand the concept, not to force my opinion on anyone. I agree with David, your images are superb! Your point about hi rez full frame sensors and loose framing is not lost on me. Keeping a bird properly framed, focused and large in the frame is a skill that still escapes me. I need to spend much more time on this to be proficient. Cheers!

    • avatar David Policansky

      Glen: Let me ask you a question I have struggled to understand. Let’s use your stop-sign example. Take a photo of the stop sign with the parking meter in the background with a “full-frame” mega-pixel body, say a Canon 5D IV, and a 500 mm lens. Then put that 500 mm lens on a crop-sensor camera (let’s make it have the same pixel density, so say a 7DII) and step back until the image is the same size in the frame. The ability to crop the images should be the same for both; what about the depth of field?

      • avatar Glen

        That’s a great follow up question DP. If everything is constant except subject to camera distance, the DOF will be different. What!!! How can that be? Any takers?

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. First, a typo: “Grabbing Kevin’s near-mint lens will save you an incredible $x,xxx.00.” Are those US dollars? 🙂 I think the right number is $2,000, which is a terrific deal.

    Thanks and fixed.

    Second, on cropping. There really is no substitute for getting closer. When you crop substantially, you magnify any departure from perfect focus, but also motion blur and atmospheric effects, which almost always are present to some degree. Sometimes there’s no other choice, but in my experience, the very best images I’ve made result from less cropping rather than more.

    Yes, less cropping is always better than more cropping. The point of this post and the recent hummingbird post was that the D850 files are so superb that a sharp one can stand up to remarkable crops and still look pretty darned good.

    I believe Glen is correct on his depth-of-field comments.

    I agree, and stated so clearly in my response to him. The problem is that his explanation had nothing to do with the example I gave. Apparently, at least to me.

    with love, artie

  • avatar Glen

    An observation on your current post with the four points on high pixel camera bodies. I would have added one word to point one when referring to depth of field relative to distance from the subject: apparent. As in apparent depth of field. Some people might misunderstand this concept. What do you think?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Slightly confused by your comment. When the subject is farther away you do have more depth of field … So unless I am misunderstanding you, “apparent” doesn’t fit.

      It the bird had been flying closer and all else was equal, the d-o-f would have been less.

      with love, artie

      • avatar Glen

        Hi again Art, DOF is a wonderful thing! For me to make my point I will use a static object as the subject. Say you photograph a stop sign perfectly in focus with a crop sensor camera and the parking meter behind the stop sign is just slightly out of focus. Then you photograph the same stop sign with the same lens and settings from the same distance with a full frame sensor camera body and it appears farther away in the frame. It will appear to have more depth of field. If you crop the full frame image to match the size of the image from the crop sensor camera, will one have more DOF that the other. The answer is no, they will both have the same DOF. The same will hold true for your bird example too. Does that make sense?

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          You are of course correct but we are talking apples and stop signs. In my example, the bird is closer in the second example, thus the d-o-f is less 🙂

          with love, artie