Don’t Forget … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Don't Forget ...

What’s Up?

We drove up to Hyde Park on Sunday to visit my 13-year old grandson Ilyas Reimov at the Anderson Center for Autism (ACA). He has grown more than six inches in a year and is now taller than grandpa. We enjoyed lunch at Coppola’s Italian Bistro on Route 9 in Hyde Park. The food was quite good and the wait staff is trained at ACA to deal with the wide variety of autistic children who come to dine with their visiting families. Next we all (daughter Lissy, her husband Ajiniayz, and grandson Idris hiked to the top of the hill at Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill to enjoy the view of Rhinebeck and the mountains beyond the Hudson River. Last was a walk around Rhinebeck and a visit to the farmer’s market. The ride up took a bit more than two hours; getting back to Long Island took only a bit longer despite what seemed like some horrific Sunday afternoon traffic.

I am hoping to get out to Nickerson Beach on Monday afternoon to take advantage of the forecast SW winds. If you would like to join me, please see the In-the-Field session info in the previous blog post.

FlexShooter Pro Update

We currently have FlexShooter Pro heads in stock here. We have all but one of the BigFeet in stock (phone orders only for now: 863-692-0906) but are sold out of the new FLN-60 BigFoot that was recently re-designed for the Nikon 600 VR. Click here to access the pretty much complete FlexShooter Pro story with videos.


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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 the 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. Most recently the price of used Canon 600mm f/L IS II lenses have been dropping like a rock with the introduction of the 600 III. You can always see the current listings by clicking here or on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

As used gear sales have slowed a bit in recent months — especially with dSLR bodies, there are lots of great buys right now on the Used Gear Page

Canon 200-400 f/4L IS lens with internal 1.4X Extender

BAA Record-low Price!

Gatorland In-the-Field veteran Ron Owen is offering a Canon 200-400 f/4L IS lens with internal 1.4X Extender (with extras!) in excellent plus condition for the BAA record-low price of $6599.00. The lens has a paint chip on the hood, a faint mark on the TC housing, and a ding on the plastic shield that covers the distance scale. Otherwise, it is near-mint. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the ET-120 (WII) front lens cover, a black LensCoat TravelCoat, a black LensCoat Hoodie, a Really Right Stuff LCF-53 foot, the original Canon foot, and the lens strap. Also included is a Canon Drop-In Polarizing filter, a Breakthrough 1.8 (6-stop) ND Filter with Canon Drop-in filter drawer, a Breakthrough 3.0 (10-stop) ND Filter, and insured ground shipping via FedEx (or UPS if the buyer prefers) to lower 48 US addresses only. Images of the lens are available upon request.

Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ron via e-mail or by phone at 1-904-612-3243 (Eastern time zone).

This is the world’s best lens for a trip to Africa. It kills also in the Galapagos and in South Georgia, the Falklands, and Antarctica. And I use mine a lot at Bosque and other dusty places where the built-in TC helps to keep your sensor clean. And I love it in the Palouse for its versatility. Most recently, I often found myself wishing that I had taken the 200-400 rather than my 500 II on the Bear Boat Cubs IPT. Many nature photographers use it as their workhorse telephoto lens as it offers 784mm at f/8 with an external 1.4X TC added. As you can see below, it is pretty good whenever you are working around relatively tame birds. The lens sells new at B&H right now for $10,999. You can save a slew of dollars by grabbing Ron’s lens along with all the extras right now. artie

Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Sale Pending

Multiple IPT veteran Phil Frigon is offering a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens in excellent condition for the BAA record-low price of $5999.00. The sale includes the lens trunk, the original product box and everything that came in it, an off-brand low foot, the original foot, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only.

Please contact Phil via e-mail.

The 600 II has been the state of the art super-telephoto lens for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many years. When I was using Canon and could get it to my location, it was always my go-to weapon. It is fast and sharp and deadly alone or with either TC. With a new one going for $9,499, you can save a cool $3,500.00 by grabbing Phil’s excellent lens now. The lighter 600 III goes for $12,999.00! artie

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. Steve currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers 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 at Fort DeSoto Park in October, 2017. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens with my all-time favorite Canon body, the EOS 5D Mark IV.). ISO: 800. Matrix metering plus about 1 stop as framed, plus about two stops off the light grey sky: 1/400 sec. at f/5 in Manual mode was perfect. AWB at 3:17pm on a cloudy afternoon.

Image #1: Brown Pelican juvenile laughing

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Don’t Forget I

  • Fort DeSoto is the new Sanibel. The big difference is that De Soto can be great any day of the year, while Ding Darling was best in winter (until it was ruined by mismanagement at about the turn of the century.
  • When working while standing behind your tripod with long focal lengths, the angle of declination appears (and is) looks more shallow than if you had been using a shorter focal length while getting closer.
  • When working in Manual mode, there is no exposure compensation. By looking at the analog scale in the viewfinder and noting the position of the indicator, you can determine how much lighter or darker the image as framed at that instant is as compared to the exposure suggested by the camera.
  • The dark tones of the young pelican here influenced the meter to show only +1 as framed while it showed +2 off the all light grey sky …
  • As above, large dark or light areas in an image will affect the meter reading.
  • Canon gear is 100% capable of making excellent and even contest-winning digital images on a consistent basis.
  • Good photographers make good photos with whatever gear they have in their hands.
  • Pelicans do not laugh. When they are scooping up and swallowing small baitfish, they often look as if they just heard a good joke.

This image was created at Fort DeSoto Park in the fall of 2017. Again I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens with my all-time favorite Canon body, the EOS 5D Mark IV.). ISO: 1600. Matrix metering plus 1 2/3 stops off the light grey sky: 1/500 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode was perfect. AWB at 8:12am on a very cloudy morning.

Image #2: Sandwich Tern with Scaled Sardine (Greenback)

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Don’t Forget II

  • Canon gear is perfectly capable of creating sharp flight images. For me, AF tracking accuracy with both Nikon and SONY gear is more consistently accurate than it was with my Canon gear. That, in a nutshell, explains why I abandoned Canon.
  • The system or systems that are best for me are not necessarily what is best for you.
  • When working with teleconverters, especially with the 2X TCs and f/4 super-telephoto lenses, Canon out-performs Nikon hands down.
  • It is possible with any gear to consistently create sharp and pleasing flight images at shutter speeds as slow as 1/500 second. As with image #2 above, blurred wingtips often add to an image by implying motion.
  • Had I followed the oft-suggested guideline of shooting flight with a shutter speed of (at least) 1/2000 second, I would have been working at ISO 6400. That is something that I strive to avoid unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • The 5D Mark IV was my favorite Canon body. I sold both my 1D X and my 1D X II bodies and worked exclusively with the 5D IVs until the end of my personal Canon era.
  • As more and more folks are opting to get away from super-telephotos or switching in part or in whole to mirrorless or micro four-thirds gear, there are lots of great buys available on big Canon glass.
  • Cameras that produce relatively small image files (such as the Canon 1D X II and the Nikon D5) give the appearance of having less noise than higher MP bodies but that apparent gain is misleading. If you downsize a high megapixel image from a 5D IV or a D850 to the same pixel count as an image made with the faster frame rate/smaller file size bodies, the noise will be the same. In addition, the higher megapixel bodies offer greater dynamic range.

Thanks to Patrick Sparkman for helping me to finally understand the last item above.

Did I Forget Anything?

If I forgot anything with regards to today’s featured images, or if you have a question about anything above, please leave a comment.

Fort DeSoto in fall is rife with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or very early October. I hope that you can join me there this September. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The 2019 Fall Sandbar Secrets Fort DeSoto IPT/September 27-30, 2019: One-half and three FULL DAYS: $1499.00. Limit 6/Openings 5.

Afternoon session on Friday September 25 at 4pm. That followed by three full days. We photograph till sunset on Monday, September 30

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds and terns in fall. There they join hundreds of egrets, herons, night-herons, and gulls that winter on the T-shaped peninsula. With luck, we may get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and Roseate Spoonbill. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, and White Ibis are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two along with some American Oystercatchers. We may very well get to see and photograph the amazing heron/egret hybrid that has been present for four years. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. In addition, Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed, Wood Stork might well be expected. And we will be on the lookout for a migrant passerine fallout in the event of a thunderstorm or two.

On the IPT you will learn:

  • 1- The basics and fine points of digital exposure; how to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure.
  • 2- How and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).
  • 3- How to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them.
  • 4- Lots about bird behavior and how to use that knowledge to help you create better images.
  • 5- To age and identify many species of shorebirds including sandpipers, plovers, dowitchers, and possibly yellowlegs.
  • 6- To spot the good situations and to choose the best perspective.
  • 7- To see, evaluate, and understand the light.
  • 8- To design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system.
  • 9- And perhaps most importantly, to evaluate wind and sky conditions and understand how they affect bird photography.
  • 10- How and when to access the magical sandbar safely.
  • 11- More than you could ever imagine.

Morning sessions will run at least three to 3 1/2 hours, afternoon sessions 2 1/2 to 3 hours. There is never a set schedule on an IPT — we adapt to the conditions. There will be a Photoshop/image review session after lunch (included) each day. That will be followed by Instructor Nap Time. This IPT will run with only a single registrant (though that is not likely to happen). The best airport is Tampa (TPA). Once you register, you will receive an e-mail with the hotel information. Do know that it is always best if IPT folks stay in the same general area (rather than at home or at a friend’s place a good distance away).

Folks attending this IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors; this is pretty much a staple on almost all BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours. Doing so will often present unique photographic opportunities, opportunities that will be missed by those who need their beauty rest and those who need to get home for a proper dinner. I really love it when I am leaving the beach at 9:30am on a sunny morning after a great session just as a carful or two of well-rested photographers are arriving …

Payment in full is due now. Credit cards are OK for your $500 deposit. You can register by calling Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand. If you leave a deposit you will receive an e-mail with your balance statement and instructions for sending your balance check. If you wish to pay in full right off the bat, you can make your check out to BIRDS AS ART and send it via US mail here: BIRDS AS ART, PO BOX 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, and clothing and gear advice in mid-August. Please remember that we will meet early on Saturday morning. Please shoot me an e-mail if you plan to register or if you have any questions.

IPT veterans and couples or friends signing up together are urged to e-mail for discount information.

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 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.


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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 :).

7 comments to Don’t Forget …

  • Hey Arthur, Really enjoyed the don’t forget points. Is the third point in Don’t forget II a typo. It says Canon out-performs Nikon Hands down. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? I thought you switched because the Nikon autofocus blew canon out of the water all around.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, John. You need to read the whole sentence; here is what I wrote:

      When working with teleconverters, especially with the 2X TCs and f/4 super-telephoto lenses, Canon out-performs Nikon hands down.

  • avatar Anthony Ardito

    Yes, Patrick Sparkman, thank you for helping me understand that too!

  • avatar Brooke Miller

    Artie, Typo: “Scaled Sadine” in Sandwich Tern photo description should be “Scaled Sardine”

  • I believe there is one aspect of keeping your Canon gear that you did not cover: the longer you wait to switch to mirrorless the less your old equipment will be worth on the used market. This is most prevalent with Canon DSLRs as they have not kept there line as current as the competion imho.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Jeff, Thanks for commenting. It goes without saying that the longer you wait to sell your used camera gear the less you will get from it. I am not sure that I agree with your “Canon DSLRs have not kept their line as current as the competition …” In addition, over the years, Canon gear has held its resale value much better than comparable Nikon gear …

      Also, not everyone is switching to mirrorless. Canon folks are going more to the 400mm DO II and Nikon folks to the fabulous 500 PF …

      with love, artie

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