Holding the Hammer Down. And a TC Question. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Holding the Hammer Down. And a TC Question.


Anita and Loren went down to the lake early and stayed till 11:30am! As I type we are headed over to DeSoto with a stop at Ikea in Tampa to order some cabinets that I looked at in Phoenix. We hope to get out to do a bit of photography late on Saturday.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog 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 went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can always see the current listings by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens

Ron Gates is offering a Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS lens (the original version) in excellent condition for $2399.00. The sales includes a LensCoat in good condition, the lens trunk, a Wimberley P-30 lens plate (a $55.00 value), the front leather cover, the rear lens cap, the lens strap, and the insured ground shipping via major courier.

Please contact Ron via e-mail or by phone at 972-890-4105 (Central time.)

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. Ron’s lens is priced to sell quickly. artie

Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS USM Lens (the old five) plus extras!

Ron Gates is offering a Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens (the original version) in near-mint condition for $3599.00. The sales includes a Canon drop-in Circular Polarizer (a $169.95 value), a Canon EF 2X Extender (teleconverter), the lens trunk, a Wimberley P-40 lens plate (a $55.00 value), the front leather cover, the rear lens cap, the lens strap, and the insured ground shipping via major courier.

Please contact Ron via e-mail or via phone at 972-890-4105 (Central time.)

The 500mm f/4 lenses have been the world’s most popular telephoto lenses for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many decades. I owned and used and loved my “old five” for many years. If you don’t have the cash for the 500 II and can handle the additional 1 1/2 pounds, then this is your best super-telephoto option. Most everyone can produce sharp images with this lens and a 1.4X TC. Folks with good to excellent sharpness techniques can do the same with a 2X TC. With the new 500 II selling for $8,999 you can save a neat $5400 by grabbing Ron’s pristine copy of the “old five” plus extras right now. artie

The Streak

Today makes two hundred fifty-nine days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took less than an hour to prepare including the time spent on the image optimization. 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.


BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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!


Several folks on the Gatorland IPT 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 the 2017 DeSoto IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens with the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 348mm) and my old favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/9 in Av mode (S in Nikon). AWB on a typically cloudy early morning at this location.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: extrapolated to -4.

Center Zone AI Servo/Expand/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The system activated a vertical array of 5 AF points on centered on the female’s face and neck. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Laughing Gulls copulating

Holding the Hammer Down

One of the few times that I push the shutter button and hold it down is when photographing copulating gulls or terns, that provided a decent situation with a relatively unobstructed view. As with today’s featured image, my favorite of a very long series. Why? The birds change poses so quickly that I want to have lots to choose from.

TC Question

Considering that I wound up at only 348mm, why did I have the TC on?

IPT Stuff

All IPTs include an introductory briefing before the IPT begins so you know what to expect, frequent in-the-field instruction and guidance (priceless), image editing and small group Photoshop instruction during and after lunch. Breakfasts are on your own so that we can get in the field early. Lunches are on me. Dinners are on your own as well so that we can get to bed as the days in spring will be long.

Rides with the leader are available on a limited basis for $50/day.

Registering for an IPT

To register for an IPT call Jim or Jen in the office at 863-692-0906 from Monday morning through Friday lunch with your credit card in hand to leave your $500 non-refundable deposit. Balances may not be paid by credit card so you will be asked to send a check for your balance along with the signed paperwork that you will find here.

Tame birds in breeding plumage and heron and egret 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.

(2 1/2 DAY option) FRI 27 APR through and including the morning of SUN 29 APR. $1199.

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.

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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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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.

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9 comments to Holding the Hammer Down. And a TC Question.

  • Hi Artie

    A great record shot of the Laughing Gulls copulating, it ticks all of my Photographic

    boxes.I dont like it I love it.

    Best and love
    Ps your Laughing Gulls look a bit like are Black Headed Gull in Summer plumage.

  • Hey Arthur, Grip it and rip it. The TC was attached to give you more reach if you had some action before or after this encounter. Have fun at Desoto.

  • avatar Steve Wampler

    Because you don’t have time to take it on and off while shooting. Also, as another person said, zooming in for a headshot you would need it on, as well as for other birds that may not be so close.

  • Was it to affect the background pleasingly?
    Nice work as always

  • avatar Adam

    It’s a bit of a non-sequitur, no? While the 100-400 offers plenty of flexibility, adding the 1.4x provides a more usable FL range particularly on the long end (140-560mm) with no penalty in MFD. Nice image.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Adam. Thanks for commenting. I checked out several definitions of non-sequitur and none of them jibe with your question as I was neither making an inference nor making a statement; I simply asked a questions …

      with love, artie

  • avatar Brian Patteson

    Well, being as how that lens is really only a 380mm tops in the bare configuration you weren’t too far from the upper limit, and birds move around. I’ve also found the resulting focal length around “400mm” with the TC is also sharper than the high end of the bare 1 to 4 v2. Plus you were using the full frame body, not the ubiquitous 7D2, which would put more (small) pixels on the birds with the bare lens at the same focal length.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Brian. Thanks for commenting. My understanding is that the lens is at less than 400mm when you are focused on relatively close birds. As for your statement that you have found the lens sharper at certain focal lengths with the TC I am simply not buying that unless the problem is with a lack of proper micro-adjustments … My understanding is that lenses with 1.4X TCs are inherently about 18% less sharp than the bare lenses alone.

      As I have stated here before all pixels are not created equal. That is why I abandoned the 7d II for the 5DS R and then for the 5D Mark IV.

      with love, artie

  • avatar frank sheets

    Hi Artie,

    When these guys and gals are doing their thing, there’s lots of interaction going on providing opportunities for tight combined head shots as well as the wing spread posture you got here. If you were getting some head shots you probably were at 560mm but when the male spread his wings you had to back out to a shorter focal length to avoid clipping the wings. A nice demo of the advantages sometimes of using a zoom compared to fixed a fixed length lens.

    If Anita and Loren are still hanging around, please make sure you pass on a bit “Hi” from us.

    Be good,