It Was a Wet Muddy Night in the Marsh. The SONY 200-600 G Lens in Low Light? Part I « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

It Was a Wet Muddy Night in the Marsh. The SONY 200-600 G Lens in Low Light? Part I

What’s Up?

The White-mouthed Day-Flowers are blooming profusely in my front yard. I spent an hour with them sitting on the ground with the splayed Induro GIT 304L and the Levered-Clamp Mini (just two left in stock!). Then it was down to the lake to check on the large colts and the small colts. All were A-OK.

I created a one hour video entitled High Speed Picking Your Keepers With Mega-High Frame-Rate Camera Bodies. Details soon. I almost finished e-mail #17 for the SONY a1 Info and Updates Group. It includes detailed information on Finder (Refresh) Rate and a first-ever settings offer. As the Sony Alpha a1 is becoming more and more available, The SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group is growing almost daily. There are now an astounding 59 members in the group. I watched the US Open Golf (congrats to Spaniard John Rahm) and several NBA and NHL Playoff games. And had time for a walk in the heat and a swim. Though I have been walking on hot and humid afternoons I have seen some good birds. On Saturday I had two Great-crested Flycatchers and two Blue-grey Gnatcatchers in the dead oak tree in front of my house and on Sunday, while walking along a ditch less than a block from home I flushed a Great Horned Owl!

Today is Monday 21 June. Don’t faint: I took the morning off from photography! And no, I am not sick. I am feeling great. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day.

This blog post took more than an hour to prepare and makes 177 consecutive days with a new one. Please remember that if an item — a Delkin flash card, or a tripod head — for example, that is available from B&H and/or Bedfords and is also available in the BAA Online Store, it would be great if you opt to purchase from us. We will match any price. Please remember also to use my B&H affiliate links or to save 3% at Bedfords by using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout. Doing either often earns you free guides and/or discounts. And doing so always earns my great appreciation.

Only at BAA: Levered-Clamp FlexShooters in Stock!

We have just two Levered-clamp Flex-shooter Minis left in stock. They are available in the US only from BAA.

Folks with a big lens should, of course, be working with the Levered-clamp Flex-shooter Pro. This new head on just about any decent tripod like the Induro GIT 304L or the Induro 204L (for travel), is dead-solid-perfect for those whose intermediate telephoto or telephoto zoom lenses are their workhorse lenses for bird and nature photography, for all macro lenses with a tripod collar, and for wide angle lenses with a Wimberley P-5 Plate on the camera body. The levered-clamp is super-fast and secure. Though it weighs only 1lb., 2.4 ozs, this elegantly manufactured head is rock-solid. It takes only seconds to level all FlexShooter heads for smooth, square-to-the-world panning, and these innovative and patented spring-counterbalanced double ballheads will completely eliminate ballhead-flop.

We have lots of Levered-clamp Flex-shooter Pro heads in stock. Though they are the best head around for long lenses and for general purpose nature, B&H does not even carry them! I use and rely on mine most ever day that I am out there.

Please Remember

With income from IPTs now close to 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, are invited to help out by clicking here to leave a blog thank you gift if they see fit.

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.

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 second-day air 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 (Central time). Be sure to mention the BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order to save 3% and enjoy free 2nd-day air shipping. 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 (remember those?) 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.

This image was created on 18 June down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates. While seated in the wet grass, I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 289mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 2500. Exposure determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/500 sec. at f/6.3 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 7:47am on a cloudy dark morning.

Wide/AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed almost perfectly: it tracked the bird’s cheek slightly forward or and just below the eye.

Sandhill Crane small colt with mud on breast

It Was a Wet Muddy Night in the Marsh!

As with most Least Tern twins, crane twins almost always feature one lighter, more golden bird, and one darker, browner or greyer sibling. This is one of the latest hatched pair, now small colts. After an overnight rain, both of the young cranes had very muddy breasts.

Note that getting low by sitting down effectively moves the background farther from the subject. In general, the lower you go, the softer and smoother yours backgrounds will be.

The SONY 200-600 G Lens in Low Light? Part I

We’ve been learning that in many low light situations, working with the 600 f/4 if possible saves you 4 clicks, 1 1/3 stops of ISO. But there are many times when the versatility and lighter weight and hand hold-ability of the 200-600 wins the day. On the wet morning of 18 June, the cranes were moving constantly while feeding in the North Field. Had I been on the tripod with the 600 f/4, I would not have been able to get up and down quickly to stay with the family, and I certainly would not have been able to zoom out to 289mm!

And let’s not forget that Topaz DeNoise does wonders with the relatively high ISO images. More on that magic soon.

Sony Alpha a1 AF

Barring operator error, the performance of the Sony Alpha a1 AF system at any focal length — including at 1200mm as seen in several recent blog posts — is, when the a1 is set up properly as detailed in the in e-mails to the Sony Alpha a1 Info & Updates group, more than remarkable. Early on, there was lots of discussion within the group with many preferring multiple back button approaches. For me a simple shutter button approach with the right AF settings that yield 99% sharp-on-the-eye images is best. By far. It is super-simple and mega-effective. In recent SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group e-mails, I shared what I have learned as to when and it what situations it is best to abandon Wide. And with what. The group has already learned to limit the AF Area choices and to switch AF Areas quickly and conveniently. The default method of switching AF points with the C2 button is both slow and cumbersome. In addition, recent e-mails have detailed the best program to use to pick your a1 keepers and the big problem with the Camera Set. Memory menu item.

SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group

For me, today’s featured image would not have been possible without my Sony Alpha a1. The speed of initial focusing acquisition is amazingly quick as is the tracking accuracy. And all of that will be even truer for tomorrow’s featured image.

The SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group is going great guns as folks chime in with thoughtful questions and experience-based advice. We are now up to an astounding 59 blessed folks! Early on, we discussed the myriad AF options. I gave my opinion as to the best one for flight and general bird photography. More recently, we have been in contact with folks at SONY sharing our thoughts, experiences, and frustrations with the EVF blackout problem.

All who purchased their Alpha a1 bodies via a BAA affiliate link will receive a free subscription to the Sony Alpha a1 Set-Up and Info Updates after shooting me their receipts via e-mail. (Note: it may take me several days to confirm B&H orders.) This same service may be purchased by anyone with an a1 body via a $150.00 PayPal sent to indicating payment for Alpha a1 Info Updates. Alternatively, folks can call Jim weekdays at 1-863-692-0906 to pay via credit card. New members will receive composite e-mails that summarize all previous discussions.


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

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