If At All Possible, Join Me this week for the Pink Bonanza! Two Big Used Gear Price Drops Yield $5500.00 in Savings! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

If At All Possible, Join Me this week for the Pink Bonanza! Two Big Used Gear Price Drops Yield $5500.00 in Savings!

What’s Up?

Bill Schneider and I finished up his two days of private instruction in spectacular fashion at Stick Marsh on Saturday morning. We had dozens of spoonbills flying right at us and flaring to land. I was headed home before 10:00am. I will be sharing some of Bill’s images with you here in Monday’s blog post. I had been planning that for tomorrow, but the spoonbill photography was just too, too phenomenal to sit on. As below, I am hoping to sign up a few folks for this coming week as I am not sure how long this pink bonanza will continue.

As I have had several new sign-ups for the Alpha a1 group in recent days, I created a single Sony Alpha a1 Info and Set-up Group e-mail summarizing everything that we have come up with so far and clarifying some of the stuff we had been unsure of. See below for the details.

For the first time in a week, I got into the (warm) pool on a cool, windy afternoon. I enjoyed my swim tremendously. I will finish this short blog post early this morning on so that I can devote all day today, Sunday 20 March 2021, to finishing the Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide. In fact, with cloudy skies and a north wind I have decided to stay in this morning to work on the guide.

Today is Sunday 21 March 2021. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you have a great day.

This blog post took about an hour to prepare and makes eighty-nine days in a row with a new one. Please remember to use my B&H affiliate links or to save money at Bedfords by using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout.

The Stick Marsh Site Guide Subscription Service

Th Site Guide Subscription Service is a new concept. I will send a short site guide no later than this coming Monday that covers the basics. It will include a map of the rookery area with specific instructions and wind and weather advice. There were some good photographers at Stick Marsh yesterday. Many are skilled at hand-holding 500 and 600mm f/4 telephotos lenses. But with all due respect, none of them can come anywhere near me when it comes to analyzing the photo opps at a given location. With the exception of the aforementioned Fred — I think his full name was Fred Vaughn, every photographer got to their favorite spot and never moved. We moved around a lot and had great and different chances all day long. After each visit, you will receive an e-mail noting the best locations and anything new that I learned.

To sign up for the Stick Marsh Site Guide Subscription Service, send a PayPal for $100.00 to us at birdsasart@verizon.net and be sure to include the words Stick Marsh. Or, you can call Jim any day at 1-863-692-0906 to pay by credit card. At some point, we will get this item in the BAA Online Store.

I fully understand that you can go to Google Maps, find the Stick Marsh, visit, and likely make some good or great images. You might think, I can do fine just without artie’s advice. But you will do a whole lot better with it.

Please contact me via e-mail to explore the possibilities of morning In-the-Field Instructional Sessions at Stick Marsh.

The BAA Used Gear Page

The Used Gear page continues to be very active. The BAA Used Gear Page is the place to sell your used photographic equipment. We will help you to get your gear sold quickly for 30 to 70% or more than what the big guys are offering … Doubt me? Check out the Recent Sales list at the bottom of the page.

Used Gear Price Drops!

Canon EF 500 f4/L IS II USM Lens

Price reduced $350.00 on 21 MAR 2021!

Kirk Stitt is offering a Canon EF 500 f4/L IS II USM lens in excellent plus condition for a very low $4999.99 (was $5349.00). The sale includes a LensCoat, the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the front lens cover, the lens strap, 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 Kirk Stitt via e-mail or by phone at 1-900-800-9898 (Mountain time zone).

With the success of the Canon EOS R5 and R6 mirrorless bodies, the series II super-teles are in high demand. The 500 f/4 super-telephotos have long been the world’s most popular lenses for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many decades. Canon’s Series II version is light, fast, super-sharp, and produces amazing images with both the 1.4X and 2X III TCs. The 500 II is relatively small, easily hand-holdable for some folks, and is much easier to travel with, focuses closer than, and costs a lot less than the 600 II or the 600 III!. Lastly, and you might find this amazing, the magnification for the 500 II is the same as it is for the 600 II: .15X. How is that possible? Magnification is calculated at the minimum focusing distance of the lens — 12.14 feet (3.7 meters) for the 500 II and 14.77 feet (4.5 meters) for the 600 II. Simply put, the 500 II focuses more than two feet closer than the 600 II. This lens sells new right now for $8999.00; you can save $4000.00 by purchasing Kirk’s lens now: if you are seriously interested, please do not tarry. artie

Sony Alpha a9 ii Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

BAA Record-Low Price
Price reduced $179.00 on 21 MAR 2021!

Arthur Morris, yours truly, is offering a SONY a9 ii conservatively rated as being in excellent plus condition for a BAA record-low $2998.00 (was $3177.00). The sale includes the original box and everything that came in it (except for the battery charger) and insured UPS ground shipping to lower-48 US addresses. I will throw in a copy of The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide and One Camera Set-up Video (a $100.00 value). Your new camera will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact artie via e-mail or by phone (or text) at 1-863-221-2372 (Eastern time zone).

From the moment I tracked that first incoming Brandt’s Cormorant, I knew that SONY a9 series bodies featured the world’ best AF. I upgraded to the a9 ii as soon as it was released for the slightly larger body size. I currently own two of them. A new a9 ii sells for $4,498.00; you can save an astounding $1500.00 by grabbing my a9 ii ASAP. Not to mention that the new Sony A1 sells for $6498.00 … artie

All with the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. Varying ISOs: 1/3200 sec. at f/6.3 (wide open) in Manual mode.

Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Image #1: Incoming Roseate Spoonbill images image

Fifteen out of Sixty-Six

Saturday morning at Stick Marsh was phenomenal. I’ve never experienced anything like it: incoming Roseate Spoonbills flaring to land and photographable with any handheld intermediate telephoto lens. With blue water backgrounds no less! The fifteen images above were my favorites out of 66 razor sharp Alpha a1 keepers. The focal lengths varied from 324 to 456mms.

If At All Possible …

If at all possible, find a way to meet me this Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and/or Friday morning (s) for one or more In-the-Field Instructional sessions. The weather right now is looking good for all four days with southeast winds that are ideal for morning flight photography. As I am not sure how long this fantastic opportunity will last as the breeding season progresses, out of town folks should consider flying or driving to get in on the action.

For folks who wish to do more than one morning session, lodging at my home is available. Alternatively, we can explore the possibility of getting lodging closer to Stick Marsh. If you are interested in learning the rates and exploring the possibilities, please contact me via e-mail or on my cell at 863-221-2372 ASAP (before 7pm eastern time).

Sony Alpha a1 Astounds

To learn exactly how I set up my Alpha a1 for flight to achieve results like those above, join the SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group.

SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group

The SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group is going great guns as folks chime in with thoughtful questions and experience-based answers. I learned a ton recently in group e-mail exchanges with Geoff Newhouse, Craig Elson and James Spillman. Like the R5, the a1 is an incredibly complex camera body. But the sad news is that if you are doing bird photography right now, the Alpha a1 pretty much obliterates the competition with 51,000,000 gorgeous pixels and a science-fiction-like AF system …

All who purchased their Alpha a1 bodies via a BAA affiliate link receive a free subscription to the Sony Alpha a1 Set-Up and Info group. This same service may be purchased by anyone with an a1 body via a $150.00 Paypal sent to birdsasart@verizon.net indicating payment for Alpha a1 Info Updates. New members will receive a composite e-mail that will bring them right up to where we are with the great camera body.

This image was created on 20 March 2021 at Stick Marsh. I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 374mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 640. Exposure determined with ISO on the Thumb Wheel. The exposure was shown to be 1/2 stop under by RawDigger: 1/3200 sec. at f/6.3 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 9:00am on clear morning.

Wide/AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #2: Roseate Spoonbill incoming stretch landing pose

The Advantages of Sitting on the Grass …

This image, featuring the buttery-smooth background, was made while I was getting my butt damp.

I alternated between standing and sitting on the grass. The latter usually introduced a nice strip of o-o-f focus green marsh at the top of the frame. More importantly, it softened up the water by effectively moving the background farther from the subject. The images made when I was standing show more of the choppy water pattern. A nice beach chair just might be perfect. A 400mm f/2.8 lens in this situation would produce amazingly soft bokeh. On a clear, still morning, the backgrounds would be mind-bogglingly gorgeous.

I chuckle at the various internet experts who cautioned early on that the Alpha a1 did not play well with the 200-600 G lens. And Patrick and I laugh even harder when we read online that the 200-600 is not a sharp lens … The pair make a deadly combination for walk-around hand held bird photography. And you can add the 1.4X TC for even more versatility (and more reach)! And even the 2X n sunny days … And don’t forget that the a9 ii is no slouch when paired with the SONY 200-600.

Please note: If you purchase a new 200-600 (using one of my affiliate links of course), be sure to check the stability of the tripod mount (aka the lens foot). To do that, make sure that the lens foot is properly seated, then tighten the knob, hold the lens in your right hand, grab the lens foot with your left hand, and see if there is any play when you wiggle it. If there is, put it back in the box, get an RMA label, and have the seller ship you a new one.

On the Merritt Island IPT, I noticed that there was play in the lens mount with IPT veteran Jim Dolgin’s 200-600. The play is in the silver mount that you see when you remove the lens foot (as you should always do to save weight when hand holding). That silver mount should be rock solid. It is likely that Jim will need to have the lens repaired.

Image #2A: Topaz Sharpen AI on the head only of the Roseate Spoonbill incoming stretch landing pose image

Topaz Sharpen AI

As with almost ever image I process, today’s featured image was run through Topaz DeNoise AI. With many of my flight images, I select the head using the Quick Selection Tool, place it on a Layer, and see what Topaz Sharpen AI. Here, as suspected, the plug-in suggested that Stabilize would be best to correct the motion blur. Click on the screen capture above to see the huge improvement in sharpness in the After image on our right.

Great Topaz News!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plug-ins), will receive a 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. If the stuff is on sale (as it usually is), you save 15% off of the sale price! To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Those who purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or any other Topaz plug-ins using my link and then entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. Please include a copy of your Topaz receipt that shows the discount. Aside from the basics, the guide explains how to install the plug-ins so that they appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu.


With all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors.

10 comments to If At All Possible, Join Me this week for the Pink Bonanza! Two Big Used Gear Price Drops Yield $5500.00 in Savings!

  • avatar Michael Shaw

    Great Shots! Looks like so much fun! Congrats!

  • avatar James Saxon

    Love the angle of the banking bird. Very nice image. FYI, High Island is getting some of the same nesting action with Spoonbills, Egrets and Cormorants.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Jim. Maybe similar, but not the same photography-wise. I am taking about short lenses with blue water backgrounds …

      with love, a

  • avatar David Pugsley

    Love the spoonie. Thanks for sharing it with me yesterday.

  • avatar Kathy Kunce

    do you suggest that people be vaccinated to join your sessions?


    Interesting comments on the A1 + 200-600mm combination. Can you compare that combination to an R5 + 100-500mm for BIF? The A1 should be better than the R5, but the 100-500mm should better than the 200-600mm, at least for AF speed.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi David,

      Both are excellent. Especially if you have your cameras set up properly … Yes, that is a hint that folks need to purchase the BAA Camera User’s Guide.

      Why would you say that the 100-500 should be better for AF speed than the 2-6? The 2-6 is a faster lens — f/6.3 as compared to f/7.1. The speed of initial focusing acquisition with both rigs is much quicker than most photographers, including me. What is much more important is AF tracking accuracy for birds in flight. And as I have been saying, both are excellent.

      But Sony has Zebras for stills …

      with love, a

      ps: please remember to use one of my affiliate programs. B&H with a Payboo card is best for you in CA … I think.

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