A Bad Morning in Lakeland. Using and Learning a Ton About My Canon Gear. My Thoughts on the R5/RF 1-5 Here Soon « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A Bad Morning in Lakeland. Using and Learning a Ton About My Canon Gear. My Thoughts on the R5/RF 1-5 Here Soon

What’s Up?

On Friday morning, our only session at DeSoto, I worked exclusively with my loaner Canon rig, the R5 and the RF 100-500 almost always with the RF 1.4X teleconverter.

On Saturday and Sunday morning Anita North and I decided to head back to Lakeland. The American White Pelicans that typically loaf on the bulkheads along the lakeshore have been roosting the base of a large, lighted ornamental X-mas tree in the middle of the lake. I was glad to learn that tree will be taken down after the holidays … On Saturday morning I went with the SONY 600 and the a9 ii, while on Sunday I again worked exclusively with my Canon gear: the R5, the RF 100-500, and usually the RF 1.4X teleconverter.

The more I use the Canon gear the more I learn. I will be sharing a ton with you here very soon by way of a comparison of the R5/100-500 with the SONY 200-600/a9 ii.

Though things were a bit on the slow side both mornings, we each made some really good images. Today’s featured images are all from our Saturday session.

BTW, I have not yet solved the DPP4 installation problem … Huge thanks to all those who tried to help.

Please Remember

With income from IPTs approaching zero, please, if you enjoy and learn from the blog, remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so just might make it possible for me to avoid having to try to get a job as a Walmart greeter and will not cost you a single penny more. And if you use Bedfords and remember to enter the BIRDSASART code at checkout, you will save 3% on every order and enjoy free second-day air shipping. In these crazy times — I am out at least forty to sixty thousand dollars so far due to COVID 19 (with lots more to come) — remembering to use my B&H link or to shop at Bedfords will help me out a ton and be greatly appreciated. Overseas folks who cannot order from the US because of import fees, duties, and taxes can always help out by clicking here if they see fit.

Back in Stock

We now have eighteen of the hugely popular Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro tripod heads in stock. Click on the preceding link to learn more about this amazing head, the ballhead that thinks its a gimbal head and — thanks to the amazing county-balanced spring mechanism — works great with any rig from the longest, heaviest super-telephoto lens to a camera-body-mounted wide angle. The latter is possible because of the bi-directional clamp; it is no longer necessary to travel with a gimbal head for long lens photography and a ballhead for scenic photography. And after just a moment’s adjustment, the double ball enables you to ensure that every image you take is on the level.

Wanted to Buy

If you have a used SONY 200-600 G lens that you would like to sell, please contact me via e-mail.

Topaz Still on Sale!

Right now Topaz is offering price reductions on the Utility Bundle and the Creator Bundle. The former normally sells for $359.96. It is on sale now for $249.95. Click here, scroll all the way down to the sale, and enter the ARTHUR15 code at checkout to save an additional 15%! The Creator Bundle usually sells for #279.97 and is now on sale for $149.99. Using the ARTHUR15 code at checkout brings the price down to $127.49!

The BAA Used Gear Page

The Used Gear page continues to be red hot! It is BAA Used Gear Page is the place to sell your used photographic equipment. We will help you to get your gear sold quickly for 20 to 60% or more than what the big guys are offering … Doubt me? Check out the Recent Sales list for the past ten months at the bottom of the page.

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

Great Topaz News!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plugins) will receive a 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Topaz Stuff

As I said just a while back and have said often many times before, I should have listened sooner. If you, like me, are new to the Topaz party, please use this link to purchase. Right now I can wholeheartedly recommend both Topaz Sharpen AI and Topaz DeNoise AI. Though I have not yet worked with JPEGtoRAW AI or Gigapixel AI, I have installed both of these plug-ins and look forward to trying them on some I-Phone 11 images fairly soon. If you are thinking like me, consider the Utility Bundle that includes all four plug-ins mentioned above at a money-saving price.

Again, those who purchase Sharpen AI or DeNoise AI using my link, can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. I had a bit of trouble getting the two plug-ins installed and having them appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu. In addition, I will explain how to best learn about the two plug-ins by applying them on a Layer (in Photoshop). I amazed myself yesterday by completing this guide in the car on the way to and from Sebastian. Huge thanks to Anita for doing the driving. Please include a copy of your Topaz order when requesting the guide.

New and Better Bedfords Discount Policy!

You can now save 3% on all of your Bedfords photo gear purchases by entering the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. Your discount will be applied to your pre-tax total. In addition, by using the code you will get 2nd day air shipping via Fed Ex.

Grab a Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and save $14.99. Purchase a Canon EOS R5 and your discount will be $116.97. Purchase a Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and save a remarkable $389.94! Your Bedford’s purchase no longer needs to be greater than $1,000.00 for you to receive a discount. The more you spend, the more you save.

124 sold to rave reviews.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide (and Videos)

Click here to purchase the guide with one Camera Set-up Video. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your camera body so that we can send you a link for the correct video.

Click here to purchase the guide with two Camera Set-up Videos. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your two camera bodies so that we can send you links for the correct videos.

Click here to learn more about the SONY e-Guide.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would enjoy free overnight shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time). Be sure to mention the 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 and everywhere else. The wait lists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard to get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a9 ii, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and 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 by Anita North on 28 November 2020. She used the Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and the 61-MP Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 640. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/2500 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode. AWB at 9:03am in partly sunny morning.

Center Zone AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed to perfection.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2020: Anita North

Image #1: Great Blue Heron landing at nest with sprig

Patience Pays Off

On Saturday morning, the heron nest was not very active. The male was having a tough time breaking off twigs for the nest. Anita stuck with it while I wandered east along the shoreline in search of other subjects. I absolutely love the soft light, the evenly lit underwings, the flight pose, and the daintiness of this image. And the whimsy. Not to mention that the Anhinga in the Cypress tree is a nice extra.

This image was created on 28 November 2020. I used the handheld Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter, and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 640. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/500 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:40am on a mostly sunny morning.

Tracking Expand Flexible Spot AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed to perfection.

Click the image to see a larger version.

Image #2: Anhinga — immature calling

Carrying a Big Lens

As you may have learned in the How to Carry a Long Lens On a Tripod. Or Not? video here, the best way to see your shoulders healthy is to take your big lens off the tripod, carry the lens in one hand, and the tripod in the other.

When I got bored too quickly at the Great Blue Heron nest, that is just what I did. When I came across this sunning Anhinga, I wanted to get low so instead of messing with the tripod I simply sat down on the ground and used the knee-pod technique with the back off my left forearm resting on and supported by my left knee. I see that as handholding while cheating a bit.

This image was also created on 28 November 2020. Again, I used the handheld Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter, and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 2000. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/4000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:52am on a mostly sunny morning.

Center Zone AC was active at the moment of exposure and performed to perfection.

Click the image to see a larger version.

Image #3: American White Pelican in flight over Lakeland

Handholding at 840mm

A moment after the Anghina slid into the water to go fishing, a few of the big white pelicans began flying around so I simply grabbed the 600, set the exposure, and made a few images. It is a lot harder for me to keep a flying bird in the center of the frame when handholding the 600 as compared to handholding the much lighter 200-600. This bird was fairly well-framed in the raw file. I like the position and the clouds set against the blue sky. I am only able to handhold the big lens for a limited amount of time. If there is lots of flight action I need to get the lens onto the tripod.

The Location of the Nest Tree

As you can see by looking at today’s featured images, the GBH nest in Lakeland is pretty sweet. I kept 52 images from our single morning session and Anita also did quite well.

If you own a copy of the BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide and would like to know the exact location of the nest featured in today’s blog post, shoot me e-mail with the words GBH Nest Info in the Subject Line. Please be able to include some form of proof of purchase.

If you do not own a copy of the guide and would like to know the exact location of the nest in Lakeland, please send a PayPal for $20 to birdsasart@verizon.net and with the words GBH Nest Info somewhere in the PayPal.

The BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide

You can purchase your copy here in the BAA Online Store.

The BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide

126 pages, 87 photographs by Joe Przybyla and Arthur Morris.
The PDF for this e-Guide is an electronic download sent via e-mail.

Purchase your copy here in the BAA Online Store.

I had thought about doing a guide to some of the great but little-known photo hotspots around central Florida for about a decade, but those plans never came to fruition. I met Joe online in the Avian Forum at BirdPhotographer’s.Net about two years ago. Joe’s photography has improved tremendously over the past few years; he credits the BAA blog, my books and PDFs, and his participation on BPN. The one thing that I learned right from the get-go about Joe is that he is a hard and tenacious worker, always striving to improve his skills and to grow his knowledge base. As he knew of more than a few good spots in central Florida, I broached the idea of us doing a photographic site guide that covered many of the little-known photographic hotspots from Brandon to Lakeland to Joe Overstreet Road to Indian Lake Estates (my Florida home for the past 20 years or so). After more than many, many dozens of hours of effort, The BIRDS AS ART Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide is now a reality. Thanks to Joe’s wife Dottie for her review of our writing. We all learned once again that writing is a process, a back and forth process. All thanks to the white pelicans of Lakeland. Here are the locations that are detailed in this e-Guide:

  • Indian Lake Estates: Sandhills Cranes with chicks and colts, lots of vultures, and Ospreys up the kazoo!
  • Gatorland, Kissimmee: Learn to make great images of wading birds in a cluttered rookery.
  • The Brandon Rookery: Great for nesting Wood Storks, Great Egrets, and more.
  • Circle Bar B Reserve, Lakeland: Here you will find a great variety of avian subjects in a great variety of habitats.
  • Lake Morton, Lakeland: There are lots of silly tame birds here including and especially American White Pelican during the colder months.
  • Lake Mirror, Lakeland: Tame Anhingas, Limpkins, and a zillion White Ibises at times.
  • West Lake Parker, Lakeland: Here you will have a chance for two difficult birds, Snail Kite, and Purple Gallinule.
  • Joe Overstreet Road, Kenansville: Crested Caracara, meadowlarks, Loggerhead Shrike, and much more on the fenceposts and barbed wire.

Each location includes a map, a detailed description of the best spots, best season, light and time of day instructions, the expected species, and an educational and inspirational gallery that is designed to open your eyes as to the possibilities.

You can purchase a copy here in the BAA Online Store.


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 A Bad Morning in Lakeland. Using and Learning a Ton About My Canon Gear. My Thoughts on the R5/RF 1-5 Here Soon

  • Gordon Lindsay

    The heron shot is terrific great photo, Anita.

  • Ryan Sanderson

    On the R5, I presume you set up back button focus with different focus modes attached to each button. If so, how many different AF modes have you assigned? I typically have three—one is the spot focus, one is eye AF, and one is zone AF. I find this to be a very workable setup and adjusted to it wythun a few minutes. I was never a back button focused in the past. If you’re having any issues setting up the third option, please let me know and I can give you instructions on how to set up a third AF mode.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Ryan,

      Are you using the back buttons to switch AF modes, or do you have to hold them down to focus and/or to track? If the latter, why??? And if the latter, that is way too cumbersome for me.

      thanks with love, artie

      • Ryan Sanderson

        You can map a button to mirror the shutter button AF if you wish. You can also turn off the shutter AF. You hold the button down for the AF to work. Because each has its own assigned AF mode, you don’t have to cycle through anything.

      • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Thanks for getting back to me. I tried to e-mail you several times but they all got kicked back to me. I am a bit confused. Are you saying that I can program buttons to switch the AF mode while leaving AF and shutter release on the shutter button? If yes, how?

        If you are comfortable shooting me a phone number via e-mail I’d love to learn by chatting. Or you can try me at 863-221-2372.

        thanks with love, artie

  • James Saxon

    Love the Heron shot with the outstretched wings, high key background and the green in the stick to add a little color. Great photo, Anita.

  • Ralph Fletcher

    Wonderful great blue heron image, Anita!

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