Four SONY Camera Set-up Guides Filmed! And a Photoshop Hanky-Panky Question … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Four SONY Camera Set-up Guides Filmed! And a Photoshop Hanky-Panky Question ...

What’s Up?

On a cloudy Sunday morning, Patrick and I enjoyed another great session with San Diego’s tame, beautiful pelicans. I left the 600 in the car and went with the 70-200 f/2.8 GM lens mostly with the 1.4X TC and the a9 II and the 200-600 with the a7 R iv. I have ordered a second a9 ii and a back-up 1.4X teleconverter for Homer. I still have room for you on this great trip.

On Sunday afternoon, Patrick and I spent more than five hours creating four SONY Set-up Videos, one each for the a9, the a9 ii, the a7R iii, and the a7R IV. As you might have suspected, we ran into some technical difficulties to go along with a bit of operator error 🙂 Patrick did the voice-over for the a9 and the a7R ii and I did them for the a9 ii and the a7R iv. Each video, however, includes some interesting dialogue on several salient points. I imagine that it will take Patrick a week or two to get the videos ready for publication.

After creating a great product-shot set to shoot the backs of the cameras for the four guides, Patrick brilliantly figured out a way to shoot an educational Zebras video using actual photographs. He is one smart dude. In the meantime, I will begin working on the illustrated AF and odds and ends text portions of the guide.

My flights to Houston and Orlando were easy-peasy on Southwest. My bags came out quickly. Jim picked me up right on the money at Door 13. After a quick dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse we headed home and arrived safely at 9:15pm.

Homer Bald Eagle Photography Lessons

Click on the play triangle to learn about getting the right exposure for black and white subjects in sun or on cloudy or snowy days, the best lenses for eagle photography in Homer, creating pleasing blurs, basic and advanced composition, and tons more in this free video. Click on the little broken white square lower right next to YouTube to view the video full screen. Hit Escape to exit full screen. Enjoy!

This image was made with a Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark II. ISO 400: 1/1000 sec. at f/4.

If you missed the Homer IPTs announcement (there are two separate trips), or if you are thinking of attending, be sure to see the complete offering here.

Image #32: Bald Eagles: No Room on the Ice

More On Homer

For the first trip only, I am offering a $500/person discount for those who sign up with a friend or spouse. You can access the complete trip offering here.

IPT #1: FEB 25 through the full day on MAR 1, 2020. Six full days: $4799.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 2.

IPT #2: MAR 3 through the full day on MAR 7, 2020. Five full days: $3999.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 2.

Via e-mail from Multiple IPT veteran Greg Ferguson:

I attended this IPT in 2011 and can only say it was the most intensive bird photography I have ever experienced. My arms were tired and sore from shooting so many action photos. It is highly recommended! I called Jim today and signed up for a reprise. Greg

Via e-mail from Multiple IPT veteran Dick Curtain:

I attended the Homer IPT in the past and can only say it was a great experience. Many eagles, beautiful scenery, great instruction, and many fond memories. Don’t miss it.

IPT Updates

  • The Greatest-ever Bald Eagle Experience IPTs:
  • IPT #1: FEB 25 through the full day on MAR 1, 2020. Six full days: $4799.00 (Price reduced to $3999.00!). Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 2.
  • IPT #2: MAR 3 through the full day on MAR 7, 2020. Five full days: $3999.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 2
  • The 2020 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT — MAR 19 thru the morning session 22 MAR 2020: $2599.00. Limit: 5 photographers/Openings: 4.
  • The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Archipelago Photographic Experience. August 17-31, 2021 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,999.00. Limit: 12 photographers/Openings: 7.


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

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 EOS-1DX, 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.

The Used Gear page has been very hot for the past month with the continuing price drops on both Canon and Nikon gear. And there have been some great buys on SONY stuff too. There are still lots of solid bargains right now on the Used Gear Page.

Recent Sales

BIRDS AS ART Used Gear Page Mega-hot!

IPT veteran Steve Leimberg sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II Lens in near-mint condition for a BAA Record-low $5400.00 (was $5,989.00) in mid-January 2020.
Regular Used Gear Page seller John Bowden traded in his Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens in excellent-plus condition to a local camera store in early January 2020 and kindly sent me a check for 4% of the original asking price of $598.00.
Jerry Barrack sold his Canon 400mm f/5.6L lens (my old “toy lens”) in very good plus condition with some scuff marks here and there for the BAA crazy record-low price of $549.00 sometime in December.
Jerry Barrack sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Digital Camera Body in near-mint condition for $1599.00 (was $1,999.00) and a Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens for Canon EF in mint condition for $300.00 (was $399.00) in mid-January 2020.
Multiple IPT veteran William Schneider sold his FE Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens in mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $9,897.00 (was $10,697.00) in mid-January 2020.
Jerry Barrack sold his Canon EF 28-135mm (zoom) lens in near-mint condition for the you-might-as-well-give-it-away-free price of $99.00.
David Ramirez sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II lens in excellent plus condition for the BAA record-low price of $5299.00 (was $5699.00)
Jerry Barrack sold a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Digital Camera Body in near-mint condition for $1399 (was listed at 1,999.00) in December 2019.
Ken Siegel sold his Sony a7r III in mint condition for only $1949.00 (was $2049.00) in early December 2019.
IPT veteran Joe Randle sold his Canon 500mm f4L IS USM Super Telephoto lens (the “old five”) in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $2499.00 in December 2019.
Multiple IPT veteran Jake Levin sold his Canon EOS 7D Mark II in excellent plus condition for $648.00. in December 2020.
IPT veteran Richard Russ sold his Nikon D850 dSLR in near-mint condition for the very low price of $1996.95 and a Nikon 500mm PF lens in near-mint condition for the very low price of $3,096.95 the first day they were listed on January 11, 2020.
Errol Bellon sold his Nikon 80-400 AFS Nikkor f/4.5-5.6 G ED N VR lens in mint condition for a BAA record-low $1096.95 (was $1396.95).
Jim Lewis sold his Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II lens in like-new condition for a very low $3,198.00, a Canon Extender EF 1.4x III (teleconverter) in like-new condition for only $223.00, a Canon Extender EF 1.4x III (teleconverter) in like-new condition for only $223.00, and a Fujinon XF100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS lens is in excellent condition for $899.00 all right after they were listed on December 21, 2019.
Multiple IPT veteran and good friend Monte Brown sold his used Gitzo GT3530 LSV Tripod in very good condition for the practically giving-it-away-for-free price of $200.00 less than an hour after it was listed on 1/18/20.
IPT veteran Dane Johnson is offering a Canon EOS-1D X in like-new condition (with a low shutter count of < 7,100) along with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens in mint condition for the crazy low price of only $2,399.00 (was 2,599.00), a Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO USM Lens in like-new condition for the BAA record-low price of $4,099.00, and a 4th Generation Design Mongoose M3.5 Mongoose Action Head in like-new condition for the crazy low price of only $249.00 all in mid-December. BPN friend Ravi Hirekatur sold his Canon EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS lens (the original 1-4) in excellent condition for the BAA record-low price of $499.00 in late December 2019. Sensibly reducing the prices on the items that did not sell, multiple IPT veteran Jim Miller sold his rarely used Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens in near-mint condition for the new BAA record-low price of $399.00 (was $499.00), a Canon 580 EX II Speedlite in excellent condition for only $99.00 (was $199.00), a rarely-used, refurbished Canon Speedlite 430EX II (flash) in near-mint condition for $49.00 (was $99.00), a Canon Extender EF 1.4X II (teleconverter) in very good condition for $99.00 (was $169.00), and a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM L zoom lens in excellent condition for a BAA record-low $349.00 (was $449.00). All on the first day of the price reductions! By reducing the prices as I suggested Jim now has $1,000 dollars in his pocket rather than having those items collecting dust in his home ... BAA friend and multiple IPT veteran Paul Reinstein sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark IV in near-mint condition (shutter count 40,054) for the lowest-ever-by-a mile price of $1749.00 (was $1899.00). Joe Randle sold his Canon EF 24-70 f2.8L II USM lens in near-mint condition for the very low price of $899.00 in mid-January 2019. Multiple IPT veteran Jim Miller sold his rarely used Canon EOS 5DS R in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $1599.00 (was $1799.00) in early January 2010. Multiple IPT veteran Larry Master sold his Sony a7r IV Mirrorless Digital camera body in absolutely like-new condition for only $2898.00 (was $3098.00) in early January 2020. Top pro-Jim Zuckerman sold his Sony Alpha a7R Mirrorless Digital camera in excellent condition for $1399 in Late-December 2019. Joe Randle sold his Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II Zoom Lens in excellent plus condition for $999.99 in early January 2020.

Sony a 6300 Mirrorless Camera Body

Harold Marsh is offering a Sony a 6300 Mirrorless Camera Body in excellent to near-mint condition for $449.00. The sale includes the front body cap, a Pro master Crystal Touch LCD screen shield, the camera strap, the original box, the original and one extra Sony NP-FW50 battery, a Promaster external battery charger, a Hoodman Steel 32GB SD HCI memory card, the internal charging cord and adapter, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Harold via e-mail.

Fast-focusing and 4K-shooting, the black Alpha a6300 from Sony is a versatile APS-C-format mirrorless digital camera designed for multimedia image-makers. Revolving around a redeveloped 24.2MP Exmor CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor, clean image quality is provided with a wide expandable sensitivity range to ISO 51200, along with accelerated readout speeds for internal 4K30 and Full HD 1080p120 video recording with full pixel readout. Stills shooters also benefit from the apt processing speed, which enables continuous shooting at 11 fps for up to 21 raw frames in a burst, as well as 14-bit raw file output. Complementing both stills and video, the sensor and processor combination also avails 4D FOCUS, which combines a wide-coverage 425-point phase-detection system with a 169-area contrast detection system for quick and precise focusing performance. This focusing system also enables High-density Tracking AF for more efficient and accurate tracking of moving subjects across the image frame. A well-rounded camera for both photographers and videographers, the a6300 is characterized by its speed and further qualified by its refined image and video quality. B&H

This inexpensive, first-generation, crop-sensor body combined with the SONY 100-400 or the SONY 200-600 would make a great entry-level SONY kit for nature and bird photography. The a6300 fits all SONY GM and G lenses. 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 over $1000.00, 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 has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.

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 January 21, 2020, our last morning at Morro Bay, CA. I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 433mm) with the blazingly fast and almost-always-accurate AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 1600. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/1600 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 9:26am on a partly cloudy morning.

Center Zone Continuous/tracking (C) AF.

Click to enlarge and enjoy the larger version.

Long-billed Curlew taking flight

The Situation

When I saw this bird lean forward, I zoomed out as fast as possible and fired off only two frames before the bird got ahead of my panning. As you can see, I did not zoom out enough. In the original, I clipped the primaries on both wings. Following my own advice: cut don’t clip, I executed a small crop leaving what to me is a dynamic image.

Photoshop Hanky Panky?

If you are sure that you see evidence that I did something fairly major in Photoshop to the image above, please leave a comment and state your case clearly. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t …

From left to right clockwise back to the center: Brown Pelican, Roseate Spoonbill downstroke, Brown Pelican sunrise silhouette, Double-crested Cormorant pre-dawn blur, Roseate Spoonbill flapping after bath, Brown Pelican taking flight, Roseate Spoonbill taking flight, Reddish Egret white morph breeding plumage in flight, and Reddish Egret dark morph breeding plumage in flight.

All images on this card were created by me on the Hooptie Deux at Alafia Banks on the 2018 trip.

You can click on each card to enjoy a larger version.

2020 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT — MAR 19 thru the morning session 22 MAR 2020: $2599.00. Limit: 5 photographers/Openings: 4.

3 1/2 days on the boat including four morning photo sessions and three afternoon sessions via customized pontoon boat.

Price per day Reduced from the 2018 rates! Please e-mail for details on IPT veteran and couples’ discounts. Pro-rated options may be available …

We will be leaving the dock very early for the morning sessions (weather permitting) in hopes of photographing pre-dawn fly-outs and blast-offs. All sessions are planned for the Alafia Banks Roseate Spoonbill Rookery. We might consider other options in the unlikely event of horrific weather. There will be lots of opportunities for flight photography of several species including and especially Roseate Spoonbill. Also likely for flight photography are nesting Brown Pelican, both morphs of Reddish Egret, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, White and Glossy Ibises, and Double-crested Cormorant. We should have some good chances with birds carrying nesting material. This IPT includes all boat and guide fees, in the field instruction, chest waders (feel free to bring your own of course to assure a perfect fit), and three working lunches on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. For the most part, we will be standing in mid-calf to knee-high water behind our tripods. We help you get in and out of the boat with your gear. This is likely not the best trip for folks with mobility or balance problems. Note however that some folks opt to stay on the boat to photograph. They usually have lots of chances for flight photography of spoonbills and other species but are almost always pretty far away from the spoonbills that land.

All images on this card were created by me on the Hooptie Deux at Alafia Banks

The Timing and Tides are Perfect!

I recently saw a similar trip advertised two months too late for breeding plumaged spoonbills … The 2020 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT represents an incredible opportunity to photograph Florida’s most wanted species. I do hope that you can join us. There will be a meet and greet at 7:00pm sharp on the evening of WED 18 MAR, 2020. All of the images on the cards were made on the Hooptie Deux from late-February through March, prime time for the spoonies in mega-breeding plumage. Many folks have written expressing interest so please do not tarry.

Please e-mail to hold your spot. Then you may either secure your spot by calling Jim or Jennifer at the office at 863-692-0906 and leaving the $500 deposit on a credit card or sending your check for payment in full to us as follows with the check made out to:

BIRDS AS ART and sent here via US mail:

PO BOX 7245
Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855

If you call to leave your deposit, you will be asked to mail your check for the balance.


Images courtesy of our guide; copyright 2017 Captain James Shadle (aka Froggie). All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

Everybody Loves Spoonbills!

Roseate Spoonbill is one of if not the most sought after avian photographic subjects in Florida. They are generally hard to find and somewhat difficult to approach. They are relatively easy to find at Alafia Banks—heck, you can’t miss seeing them, but even there they can on some days be somewhat difficult to approach. On some days we may be able to get ridiculously close to them. The huge incentive to get out to Alafia Banks in mid-February is the chance to photograph this species at the height of its spectacular breeding plumage…. with long telephoto lenses. A 500 or 600 with a 1.4X TC is perfect for this trip.

Mornings to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and Brown Pelicans (with lots of flight photography often with the birds likely carrying nesting material), Double-crested Cormorants, ibises (both Glossy and White) in breeding plumage. Some of the White Ibises may be sporting their spectacular, distended, red, naked (un-feathered) throat pouches—typically larger in the females. In addition, we may get to photograph egrets including Great and Reddish, both in full breeding plumage, shorebirds, and more. There will be lots of flight photography opportunities. Afternoon trips will most likely be back to Alafia Banks for the spoonbills with an option to visit a more sheltered inland rookery location for a variety of nesting birds. In the event of horrific weather, artie will either take the group to Fort DeSoto or will conduct an extensive image review/Photoshop session. This IPT includes lunches on the full days with small group image sharing and review and some over-the-shoulder Photoshop instruction.

The SONY Zebras Exposure Guide Short Video

If you own a high-end SONY camera body, there is absolutely no reason that you should not be getting a perfect or near-perfect exposure every time with every image even in the most difficult situations — white birds, dark backgrounds, dark birds against white skies, simply pick your shutter speed and aperture and then adjust the ISO on the Control Wheel until you see faint Zebras. It’s that simple. Learn how in the SONY Zebras Exposure Guide Short Video. To order your copy, please send a Paypal to us at for $30. Please state in the Paypal that the payment is for the SONY Zebras Exposure Guide Short Video.

Alternatively, you can place a phone order for the SONY Zebras Exposure Guide by calling Jim at 863-692-0906 MON to THURS and most FRI mornings.

Folks who have purchased a SONY lens and/or a SONY body using either my B&H affiliate links or from Steve Elkins at Bedfords will enjoy a $20 discount. If you qualify, please shoot me an e-mail so that I can confirm your discount.

Folks who have purchased the SONY 600mm f/4 GM lens using my links will receive the file for free. If you qualify for a free copy, please shoot me an e-mail so that I can confirm your discount.

After I confirm your discount, you can either call Jim or send us a Paypal (as above).

If In Doubt …

If you are 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 or Bedfords, 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 or Bedfords 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.


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

6 comments to Four SONY Camera Set-up Guides Filmed! And a Photoshop Hanky-Panky Question …

  • avatar Mukesh Patel


    Agree with you on A7RIV and 200-600 combo, never been happy with the results but it does great job with A9ii, my personal opinion is that lens AF and high resolution of the A7RIV simply overwhelms the processor and not able to focus fast enough for incoming subject. The A7RIV and 600MM and 400MM primes are my go to setup and does a great job for BIF.

    I always shoot with 2 cameras so I have the same plan, depends on the proximity of the subject from boat, I may also used 135mm f/1.8 with A7RIV. I am still debating about 400 f/2.8 GM, just because short day and low light condition. Will see how many gears I can carry. Really excited for this trip.



    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Mukesh.

      I am not sure that I follow your reasoning on the 200-600 a7R IV/200-600 II problems with birds in flight. But I am really looking forward to seeing your results with the a7riv with the two big SONY GM guns.

      Have you considered shipping some of your gear to the hotel using major courier ground? I have done that in the past (though not to Homer …)

      with love, artie

  • avatar Mukesh Patel


    Why a 2nd A9II for Homer?



    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Mukesh,

      I will be depending on my a9 ii for the flight and action stuff that will make up 80-90% of our photography. All cameras fail on occasion. And accidents do happen. So I need a second a9 ii as a backup. In addition, I might want to have two cameras set up at the same time for flight, say an a9 ii on my 70-200 f/2.8 and a second a9 ii on the 100-400 or the 200-600 if I opt to bring that. I am leaning towards bringing both.

      When we land with the long lenses I would have the a7R IV on the 600 f/4 on the tripod and an a9 ii on the 200-600 on my shoulder. I do hope to do some flight photography with the aR IV on all of my lenses but for the 200-600. I and others are convinced that the a7r IV/200-600 combination is not a viable one for flight photography … But nobody is sure why.

      with love, artie

      ps: I am very much looking forward to meeting and working with you in Homer!

  • avatar Joel Eade

    If you did anything major you concealed it well. The only thing I see on the enlarged image is a horizontal line where the leg of the bird joins the body but I am not convinced that it is a sign of photoshop manipulation.

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