Switching Back to Nikon! Clean, Tight, and Graphic. And Thinking Wide for a Bird-scape … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Switching Back to Nikon! Clean, Tight, and Graphic. And Thinking Wide for a Bird-scape ...

Goodbye SONY!

Yesterday, I decided to sell all of my SONY gear and return to Nikon because I miss the 500 PF too much! SONY fire sale coming soon.

What’s Up?

I went back down to the lake on Tuesday afternoon. With a stiff west wind, there were whitecaps on the lake. I had some good chances with Crested Caracara; two have been hanging around for the past few days. I will be heading down to the lake again this morning, WED 1 APR 2020.


Below is a comment by award-winning photographer Paul Mckenzie at the blog post here.

There needs to be a complete mind-shift in the US/EU. Here in Hong Kong where I live, more than 99% of the population has been wearing masks since January. We have had relatively few cases and single-digit numbers of deaths. The vast majority of positive cases are from persons that have recently been in the US and EU. Masks work big time especially if everyone uses them. However, I do appreciate that there are shortages of masks in many geographies. I cringe when I see un-masked US politicians speaking into microphones …


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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 29 MAR 2020 at Indian Lake Estates. I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter and the 61-MP monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital camera body.. ISO 500. Exposure determined by Zebras: 1/3500 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:07am early on a sunny morning.

Tracking Flexible Spot M AF-C was active at the moment of exposure. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Sandhill Crane colt, head portrait

Clean, Tight, and Graphic

Clean, tight, and graphic has been the hallmark of my BIRDS AS ART style for well more than three decades. I do my best to follow my own oft-given advice: When the light is bright, think tight.. Since I’ve always been a head-hunter, Image #1 put a big smile on my face.

This image was also created om 29 MAR 2020. For this one I used the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 220mm) and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 1000. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/500 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode; I went for lots of Zebras on the white sky. AWB at 8:18am on a suddenly cloudy morning.

Tracking Flexible Spot M AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed superbly.

Image #2: Sandhill Crane colt and pine tree bird-scape

Thinking Wide …

The colt in Image #2 was about 30 feet from me. When it was a bit closer to me, I made some very lovely 3/4-frame vertical portraits of the whole bird at 353mms. I am not sure how I conceived this image, but I zoomed out, decided where to cut the pine tree, used Tracking Flexible Spot M to place the bird in the lower-left corner of the frame, and made only two images, almost as an afterthought … Bird-scapes rarely excite me. I kept only this one with the bird’s bill slightly open.

Which is the Best Image?

Which of today’s two featured images is the best? Be sure to let us know why you made your choice.

840mm and 200-600 Versatility

When I first got the SONY 600 GM, I assumed that there would be a lot of focal length overlap with the 200-600. But once I realized that I almost always used the 600 with a teleconverter — usually the 1.4X, it became obvious that having the 200-600 on my shoulder via an Black Rapdi Curve Breathe strap with the 600/1.4X TC rig on the tripod was a deadly, effective, and hugely versatile combination … To bad I am ging back to Nikon. Or is today April Fool’s Day?

If In Doubt …

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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 regularly visit the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


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32 comments to Switching Back to Nikon! Clean, Tight, and Graphic. And Thinking Wide for a Bird-scape …

  • Barry

    Gloves and masks are useful as has been pointed out but they have their limitations. Unless you have been trained in correct cross infection control, it’s easy to make a mistake and break the ‘chain’ – rendering the whole thing pointless.
    David Policansky has got it about right.

  • Charles Scheffold

    Love the wide shot! Beautiful.

  • Nice jokester, I was reading this on 4/2 and telling my lovely wife how you went from Canon to Nikon to Sony & now back to Nikon when I hit the April fools part… You got me! I like the close up But my favorite is the colt with the tree showing environment and full shot of bird and the open beak. Nice shots!!!
    Can anyone in the know comment on if spraying inside and outside of a mask with Lysol after use be helpful and will it extend the life of the mask????

    and here is a link which you guys may find informative regarding China’s alleged false reporting of the virus and the possible actual numbers they may have had as of Feb 2 2020.

  • ….and I switched back to Pentax…

  • Fred Innamorato

    That was a terrible April Fools Joke Artie. I almost had a heart attack!

  • David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Paul McKenzie is right. I don’t understand why our agencies haven’t advised masks, although they seem to be considering it now.

    I won’t say one of your images is better than the other. I like them both for different reasons (the reasons you give).

    • Fred Innamorato

      I have done research on the Virus and how it spreads and this is what I learned related to masks. A virus is a small molecule and not a living Bacteria. It is so small that unless you have a Respiratory Rated Mask N95 or better the molecule will pass through the mask very easily. So if you touch your unrated mask or move it around(which is likely) any virus molecules on your fingers or hands will be inhaled through it. This virus is so small and falls off your fingers and you will inhale it. So gloves don’t help either. Then once inside you it attaches to your normal cells and becomes a parasite to the normal cell. It eventually kills your normal cells and uses them to replicate itself.
      Warm soapy water breaks down the molecules thin protective shell easily as does Alcohol based products. The virus shell is similar to a fat protein and warm water and soap lather really get into the cracks of your hands better than anything and removes all the virus molecules. The molecules dissipate on hard surfaces eventually.

      So don’t touch your face even with a cloth or scarf type mask or an unrated mask is the key issue. I don’t think this is being very well explained. At least it wasn’t to me?? I am no expert but I do think my information is accurate enough to at least address the confusion on Masks.

      If you are infected with the virus I guess the mask could reduce how far your cough out the molecules is why they recommend wearing some type of mask even if it is not rated for this virus.

      • Adam

        That’s by-in-large accurate and even N-95 masks are only 95% efficient at reducing particles of 3 microns or less. The emerging thought process is that since so many people are transmitting the disease asymptomatically, that by having everyone wearing a simple mask/scarf it may decrease the virus burden in the environment for the rest of us. So yes, a scarf or regular mask won’t decrease an individual’s likelihood of inhaling droplets in the air, but it may reduce the number of droplets produced by an infected person sneezing/shedding.

        What’s really disturbing about this virus as opposed to seasonal influenza (A/B) is the rapidity with which patients become ill and the degree of the pulmonary involvement. Of those who become symptomatic they decline quickly; patients become acutely short of breath, are intubated, and many succumb to renal or cardiac failure.

        • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


          Dr. Klinghart would surely disagree with you on the rapidity comment. He states that it takes 5-7 (days) to become symptomatic after being infected.

          And a great many folks — about 80% — become mildly symptomatic and never need hospitalization. Yes, COVID 19 sucks, but we could do without the hysteria 🙂

          with love, artie

          ps: I asked this before, are you a doctor?

          • Adam

            Hi Artie, he’s correct as far as the onset of the illness and that’s part of the problem which contributes to the infectivity. People are shedding virus for days before they may be experiencing symptoms. As a front line caregiver, I can attest to the rapidity of the clinical decline of ailing Covid-19 patients. We really don’t know the number of asymptomatic or barely symptomatic cases of Covid-19; estimates vary anywhere between 50-85%. And to that end, not all or even many Covid-19 patients will suffer the worst manifestations but a significant percentage of those who are sick enough to seek medical care follow that course. There are few modern, familiar infectious diseases which demonstrate the ferocity and expedient decline seen with Covid-19. That’s one of the reasons clinicians are so affected by these circumstances. It is difficult to describe the experience of caring for a 50 y.o. male with a history of hypertension who presents with a slight fever, sore, throat, fatigue, and minor shortness of breath who within two hours requires intubation, mechanical ventilation, and Is barely clinging to life.

            It is beyond the scope of the blog to postulate the reasons why this virus is so problematic – it involves multiple factors including lack of global immunity, genetic susceptibility, the way the virus fools the immune system similar to HIV, how easily it appears to spread, etc.- and the uncertainty contributes to the hysteria. We lose between 20-40k people to the seasonal flu every year and yet people don’t panic in the way they do when dealing with Covid-19. Projections at the low end estimate suggest as many as 10x that number may die from Covid-19 (I pray not) and without the mitigation or treatment modalities being utilized it could be many times higher.

            Stay safe, keep shooting, and continue doing the right things.

      • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


        A big part of the problem as I see it is folks touching public surfaces while out and about and unknowingly touching their mouth, eyes, or noses before they get home to wash their hands …

        I have the urge to scratch the bottom of my nostrils about 3 times a minute 🙂

        with love, artie

        ps: I will have my spray bottle of HoCl with me the next time I have to shop which will not be for quite a while.

      • David Policansky

        Fred: Gloves work if you use them properly. Wear gloves into the store, get your stuff, leave the store, take off and discard your gloves and immediately wash (or sanitize) your hands. When you get home, wash your hands, wipe down or wash the groceries, and wash your hands again. As for the masks, you’re not trying to prevent the passage of a viral particle but instead to prevent passage of the water droplets bearing the viral particles. If the mask cuts that by 1/3, that’s better than nothing. As soon as it’s safe after being in the store, remove the mask and either discard it or wash it. Look, nothing is foolproof, but by reducing every probability you can, and in particular staying home as much as you can, you are both reducing the risk of infection to yourself as much as you can and reducing the chance of causing infection to others as much as you can. This virus is nasty but it’s not magic.

      • Barry

        Allow me to make a correction. A virus is not a molecule. A virus is a little packet of self-replicating DNA or RNA (genome) enclosed by a protein capsule (capsid) and usually an outer lipoprotein envelope.
        Strictly speaking, outside the cell, it’s called a virion.
        Simply put, inside the body, a virus in the body attaches itself to the cell membrane, penetrates the membrane, uncoats itself and replicates multiple times until the cell bursts releasing more virus to attack new cells.
        Hope that helps.

  • Richard Curtin

    Really like the wider image! Vertical bird and oof tree. Really brings your attention to the tree.

    Guess I’ll cancel my Sony order……

  • Loren Charif

    Nice try . Happy 4/1!

  • Gloria Matyszyk

    Good laugh!

  • Pat Fishburne

    We’ve been fooled by your April Fools jokes before, I’m not buying this one!

  • Jim Babbitt

    Yes, I remember the long ago promised “move to San Diego”. Still waiting.

  • Michael R Goodman

    Hope the fire sale on your Sony still happens!

  • David Policansky

    April Fool’s day is officially cancelled this year, Artie. 🙁

  • Wait until Next April Fools and switch to Canon Mirrorless and new Rf lenses.Those will rock! 🙂

  • Maggi Fuller

    Not again! Yes, I’ve been following you that long….

  • April Fool’s Day on the Sony gear!!!

  • Andy

    Love the image under the tree. The composition is very pleasing!

  • Andy

    I remember one April 1 when you announced a Canon to Nikon switch:)
    We sure all need a smile today. Stay safe!

  • Joel Eade

    April fools!!!!!

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