Prepared Correctly By Luck: The Expected and the Unexpected. Why Low? More on Loving the Sony Alpha 1. And Beyond-the-Beyond Flight Bird-Eye/Face Detection AF « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Prepared Correctly By Luck: The Expected and the Unexpected. Why Low? More on Loving the Sony Alpha 1. And Beyond-the-Beyond Flight Bird-Eye/Face Detection AF

This Just In

4:31pm on Friday 15 October 2021

I just got off the phone with Steve Elkins and learned that Bedfords currently has several SONY a1 bodies in stock and ready to ship.

What’s Up?

I drove down to the lake for a peek on Thursday morning, but there was not much going on. I was glad to learn yesterday that three new folks who ordered recently from Bedfords had their Sony Alpha 1 bodies delivered and joined the SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom to see the Beyond-the-Beyond Flight Bird-Eye/Face Detection AF item.

Today is Friday 15 October 2021. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took about an hour to prepare including the time spent on the image optimization and the tight crop.

Remember that you can find some great photo accessories (and necessities, like surf booties!) on Amazon by clicking on the Stuff tab on the orange/yellow menu bar above. On a related note, it would be extremely helpful if blog-folks who, like me, spend too much money on Amazon, would get in the habit of clicking on the Amazon logo link on the right side of each blog post when they shop online. As you might expect, doing so will not cost you a single penny, but would be appreciated tremendously by yours truly. And doing so works seamlessly with your Amazon Prime account.

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, is also available in the BAA Online Store, it would be great, and greatly appreciated, if you would 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 for your major gear purchases. Doing either often earns you free guides and/or discounts. And always earns my great appreciation.

Important Note

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases when you purchase from Amazon using any of the links on the blog. Huge thanks, BTW 🙂

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.

I created this image on 10 October 2021 down by the lakeshore near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. With my legs spread wide to get lower, I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 600mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 1250. Exposure determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/2500 sec. at f/6.3 (wide open) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed that this image exposure was dead-solid perfect. AWB at 8:09am on clear sunny morning.

Tracking: Upper Zone/AF-C Bird/Eye Detection AF was active at the moment exposure and performed perfectly. Click on the image to view a hi-res version.

Image #1: Sandhill Crane adult in early morning light with a tiny scorpion on bill

Prepared Correctly By Luck I/The Expected

For this image, the 200-600 was the perfect lens choice. If I had been working with the 600mm f/4 on a tripod (with or without the TC), getting right on sun angle and getting low would have been much more difficult (if not impossible).

Why Low?

Considering the fact that that I was precisely on sun angle, can you figure out why I needed to crouch down to get low for Image #1?

I created this image on 10 October 2021 down by the lakeshore near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. While standing, I used the Induro GIT304L Grand Series 3 Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod/ Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter (at 840mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 800. Exposure determined via Zebras with ISO on the Thumb Wheel. Not sure for the crane that I was photographing: RawDigger showed that the exposure was about 2/3 stop under-exposed. This knowledge helps me to set the Exposure slider correctly during the raw conversion: 1/4000 sec. (don’t ask me why …) at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 8:31am on sunny morning.

Tracking: Zone/AF-C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed beyond perfectly (see the AF point screen capture below) and produced a sharp-where-it-needed-to-be image.

Image 2: Black-bellied Whistling Duck in flight

Prepared Correctly By Luck II/The Unexpected

There was a butt-ugly Anhinga on the new The Perch, its spread tail completely covered with whitewash. Almost inexplicably, I grabbed the 600 f/4 with the 1.4X TC from the rear compartment, put it on the tripod, and approached slowly. Out of the corner of my left eye, I saw a pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks flying toward me over the lake. I swung the lens to the left, acquired focus, panned smoothly with the birds, and fired off a burst of about fifty images. I kept five.

Image 2A: The original for the Black-bellied Whistling Duck in flight image

The Original

With the two ducks on different planes, there was no way to render them both birds sharp due to the shallow depth of field. Even at a distance. And that would have been just as true had I stopped down to f/8. I was happy that the a1 grabbed focus on the front bird. In the Sony Alpha 1 Info and Updates group, I have made suggestions on what to do when the AF system grabs the wrong subject. In any case, I ran Topaz DeNoise, leveled the horizon, executed a fairly large crop, eliminated what was left of the second bird, and cleaned up the out–of-focus house on the far shoreline.

The incredible image quality of sharp Alpha 1 image files allows for substantial cropping.

Image 2A: The original for the Black-bellied Whistling Duck in flight image

Beyond the Beyond Flight Bird-Eye/Face Detection AF

Whether you use the Sony Alpha 1 or the Canon R5 do not expect the science-fiction like AF performance seen in the screen capture above. The AF system gets it perfect on occasion, but surely not more than half the time. The good news with both of the afore-mentioned bodies is that even when the AF point is elsewhere on the subject, or even on the sky, that the images are either razor sharp or acceptably sharp. In such cases, I believe that the eye is being tracked, but the that system that records the AF position simply cannot keep up.

SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group

The SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group is going great guns as more and more folks chime in with thoughtful questions and experience-based answers. As the a1 is becoming more readily available, more and more folks are getting their hands on this amazing body. With two folks joining yesterday, we are now up to an astounding 83 lucky and blessed photographers! 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.

6 comments to Prepared Correctly By Luck: The Expected and the Unexpected. Why Low? More on Loving the Sony Alpha 1. And Beyond-the-Beyond Flight Bird-Eye/Face Detection AF

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>