Back in the Saddle Again. And an AF Point Question … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Back in the Saddle Again. And an AF Point Question ...

What’s Up?

While I am glad that Hurricane Dorian pretty much fizzled in Florida, it looks as if the folks in the Bahamas are really going to get hit hard some time on Sunday. I hope not …

I have been swimming and walking and stretching and exercising every day and continue to feel great. I take my Leica 8×32 Trinovid HD bins on my morning walks and keep a record of everything that I see. During the past week, I have seen several first-of-season species. Thos include Belted Kingfisher, Northen Flicker, Spotted Sandpiper, and today, an Eastern Kingbird.

IPT Updates

  • The 2019 Fall Sandbar Secrets Fort DeSoto IPT/September 27-30, 2019: One-half and three FULL DAYS: $1499.00. Free Morning Session on Tuesday, October 1. Limit 6/Openings 5. Afternoon session on Friday, September 25 at 4pm, followed by three full days. We photograph till sunset on Monday, September 30
  • The Return to Bosque Reduced Rate Scouting IPT. NOV 26-28, 2019 — 3 FULL DAYS: $1199.00. Limit: 8/Openings: 6. Extra Day Options: Join me for one to three extra In-the-Field Days at the end of the IPT as follows: FRI 29 NOV, SAT 30 NOV, and SUN 1 DEC for only $300.00/day.
  • The 2020 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) WED JAN 8, 2020 thru and including the morning session on SUN JAN 12: 4 1/2 days: $2099.(Limit: 8/Openings: 5)

Couples, IPT veterans, and folks wishing to sign up with a friend or with a partner are asked to contact me via e-mail

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 (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

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 getting folks the hot new SONY stuff: the 200-600, the 600 f/4 GM, and the 7R iv. And the wait-list is short for the Nikon 500 P.

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 on the morning of August 30, 2019 21 down by the lake near my home. Working while seated in the front seat of my SUV, I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR. ISO 400. Matrix metering at about 1-3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode was perfect with the histogram pushed all the way to the right. AUTO1 WB at 7:42am on a clear, sunny morning.

Two to the left and two up from the center — Single Point/Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was right on the crane’s eye. See the Nikon Capture NX-D screen capture below.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: a very significant +9. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Sandhill Crane head protrait

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Back in the Saddle Again

Since I added my morning walk about a week ago, I had been thinking about doing some photography down by the lake. So I got my stuff in the car, set up the tripod in the car with the FlexShooter Pro and my big Nikon glass with the 1.4X TC. Now while ILE is not great for bird photography in the summer, the Sandhill Cranes are always cooperative. Almost always numerous. And almost usually quite tame. The light was nice early. What drew me to this image was the sweet, distant grass background. Scroll down for the AF point info and a 100% crop.

Nikon Capture NX-D Screeen capture

You might need to click on the image to enlarge it so that you can see the selected AF point that was enhanced in Photoshop.

Show Focus Point

Both Canon and Nikon offer software that allows you to view the selected AF point and mode. SONY does not. With Canon, I used DPP 4 to view the selected AF point and did most of my CR.2 conversions there as well. With Nikon, I use Capture NX-D only to view the selected AF point and check the AFA value. Right now I am using Capture One for all of my Nikon, SONY, and Canon conversions.

In the screen capture above, some might need to enlarge the image to see the selected AF point that I enhanced with the Pen Tool in Photoshop.

AF Point Question

How would selecting an AF point three to the left and two up from the center and placing that point right on the crane’s eye have changed the image design? Would you have liked the change?

Image Clean-up

Take a close look at the original immediately above and compare it with the optimized image that opened today’s blog post and you will note that I removed a fly from the crane’s neck and cleaned up the bill as well.

Unsharpened 100% crop

The Unsharpened 100% Crop

When I become confident that I can consistently make SONY images of this quality I just might sell all of my Nikon gear …

Note that setting up the tripod in the car and working with the FelxShooter Pro allows me to create the sharpest possible images when working from my vehicle.

See the Setting Up a Tripod in Your Vehicle video here.

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

4 comments to Back in the Saddle Again. And an AF Point Question …

  • avatar Matt

    It seems like the placement of the bird’s eye would be more properly on a rule-of-thirds axis, in which case you have demonstrated that traditional rules don’t always work best.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Matt, As presented, the bird’s eye is just to the right of the upper left rule of thirds spot. And yes, if I moved the AF point one to the left, the bird’s eye would have been either right on or just to the left of the upper left rule of thirds spot …

      I think, however, that that would have been a bit better as the distance from the bill tip to the right frame edge as posted is very close to the distance from the back of the head to the left frame edge …

      with love, artie

  • Hey Arthur, The bird would be further back and more up in the frame. This looks fine to me as presented.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi John, Thanks for commenting. If I moved the point one to the left, the bird would have as you said, been placed back in the frame. But two up from the center is as high as you can go so the bird would not have been more up in the frame.

      One out of two ain’t bad.

      with love, artie

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