Glad that I asked myself, Why Not? And Marsh Rice Rat? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Glad that I asked myself, Why Not? And Marsh Rice Rat?

Image Questions

Which of today’s featured images do you like best, the loosely framed image, #1, or the tightly framed image, #2? Please let us know why you made your choice.

Do you prefer the warmer tones in Image #1 or the somewhat cooler tones in Image #2?

What’s Up?

Yesterday, I continued trying to gather additional information regarding the permitting of the rehabilitation of Structure S-96 project at Stick Marsh. Gretchen Kelley, Senior Professional Engineer, Bureau of Projects and Construction, St. Johns River Water Management District, thoughtfully answered the questions in my most recent e-mail. My first contact was with FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission); they got back to me quickly and gave me wrong information. No one from Florida DEP (Department of Environmental Protection, Audubon Florida, or the USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service) has yet responded to my numerous e-mails and/or phone messages.

Considering that Roseate Spoonbill is protected both by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act and as a State-designated Threatened species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule, I continue to be baffled on all accounts. I will share my findings with you here very soon.

Today is Saturday 11 December 2021. I enjoyed a fine morning down by the lake as the fog was not as thick as it had been the past four days. I had a Great Blue Heron on The Perch before the sun broke through and came up with a new technique for using the a1’s tilt screen for shooting verticals from the car. I will share that you with you here soon. And once the sun came out, I had a ton of fun at the vulture tree. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took about two hours to prepare and makes 32 consecutive days with a new one.

Please 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.

Brand New and As-Good-As-Ever Bedfords BAA Discount Policy

Folks who have fallen in love with Bedfords can now use the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout to enjoy a post-purchase, 3% off-statement credit (excluding taxes and shipping charges) on orders paid with a credit card. The 3% credit will be refunded to the card you used for your purchase. Be sure, also, to check the box for free shipping to enjoy free Second Day Air Fed-Ex. This offer does not apply to purchases of Classes, Gift Cards, or to any prior purchases.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would like to enjoy getting 3% back on your credit card along with free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex 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 check the box for Free Shipping. That will automatically upgrade to free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex. 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 a 1, 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.

Important Note

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small percentage when you purchase from Amazon after using any of the Amazon links on the blog (including the logo-link immediately above). My link works with Amazon Prime and using it will not cost you a single cent. Huge thanks, BTW 🙂

Please Remember Also

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 (still!) save 3% on every order and enjoy free second-day air shipping. In these crazy times — I lost about fifty thousand dollars in income due to COVID 19 — 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.

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. If you are desperate, you can try me on my cell at 863-221-2372. Please leave a message and shoot me a text if I do not pick up.

This image was created on 10 December 2021 down by the lake near my home in Indian Lake Estates. Standing, I used the hand held Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. ISO 500. The exposure was determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/2500 sec. at f/4 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 9:01:32am on a foggy bright morning.

Tracking: Center Zone AF/C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed perfectly. Click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #1: Great Egret in marsh with rodent prey

Why Not?

As had been the case on Thursday, Friday morning was very, very foggy. I did not head down to the lake until after 8:00am. I started with some foggy tree-scapes. Oh, BTW, the female eagle has been on eggs for more than a week, sitting low in an old Osprey nest. Then I did some foggy vulture flight and — in the process — had a revelation regarding Sony Alpha 1 autofocus with birds in flight. I will be sharing my findings with the group in SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Notes e-mail #25 this weekend. After the vultures, I headed home. Just before turning right on Park Drive, I considered driving the North Field and checking the marsh. Why not?, I thought.

Just before the canal, I came across a Great Egret with a rodent in its bill. I sensed that the bird would be somewhat accepting of my presence, and I needed to get higher to get over the grasses so I grabbed the naked 600mm f/4, approached slowly, and made more than 70 images, the last at 9:01:32am. Then I decided to add the 2X TC and grab the tripod.

Tracking: Upper Center Zone AF/C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection in action!

Image #1A: Great Egret in marsh with rodent prey

Sony a1 Bird-Eye/Face Detection

When I write most days that Tracking: Center Zone AF/C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed perfectly, the screen capture above shows exactly what I am talking about.

This image was created on 10 December 2021 down by the lake near my home in Indian Lake Estates. Standing, I used the hand held Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. ISO 500. The exposure was determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/1250 sec. at f/8 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 9:03:07am on a foggy bright morning.

Tracking: Center Zone AF/C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed perfectly. Click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #2: Great Egret in marsh with rodent prey (1200mm)

Working at 1200mm

Note that I had no problem hand holding the bare 600mm f/4 GM lens, but when I added the 2X TC, I did not hesitate to get my rig on the tripod ASAP. Understand that errors of equipment shake are multiplied by a factor of four when the focal length is doubled. I made about a dozen images before the bird flew a short distance, landed behind a big bush, and swallowed its prey whole (as herons and egrets always do).

It took me less than two minutes to walk back to my SUV, add the 2X, set up the tripod, mount the rig, and get back in position to photograph. The more familiar you are with your gear, the better your images will be.

Marsh Rice Rat?

Some internet surfing on Saturday morning revealed that the prey item is likely to be Marsh Rice Rat, Oryzomys palustris. If you can confirm or correct that identification, please leave a comment.

Click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #2A: tight vertical crop of the Great Egret in marsh with rodent prey (1200mm) image

Sony Alpha 1 Image Quality at 1200mm

I am always amazed at how well sharp a1 image files can stand up to very large crops. And that is true of images created at 1200mm. In short: astounding.

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 another photographer joining yesterday, we are now up to an astounding 99 lucky and 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. The best news is that the first e-mail you will receive includes a .DAT file with my a1 settings on it, and explicit directions on how to load my settings onto your a1; talk about convenience!

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 group 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 Glad that I asked myself, Why Not? And Marsh Rice Rat?

  • avatar Jeff Walters

    The Egret delicatessen miniature swamp squatch rat!!! (sorry I had been watching an In search of Bigfoot show) By the way Artie have you ever……

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Thanks, you guys. And thanks for getting back to me, Bob. My bad; the shutter speed for Image #2 was incorrect as you both surmised. It has been corrected 1/1250 sec.

    with love, artie

    ps: 1/1250 sec. was more than enough to freeze the water droplets.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. I agree with Bob Eastman. You gave the shutter speed for image #2 as 1/2500 second.

  • Artie
    I love Image #2 a little tighter to show off the prey it has for dinner and the water droplets from the Rat pretty cool. I do however like the little bit of a warmer tone as in Image #1 it just feels more like Fall/Winter but not saying i do not like the cooler tone in #2!
    However did you just copy and past your settings from image #1 to image #2 as there the same, i was curious on the shutter speed to capture the water at 1200mm
    Thanks for sharing
    Always with love b

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Bob. I did copy the settings but think that I chanced the color temperature … I am confused by your curiosity about the shutter speed for #2. Please explain.

      with love, artie

    • Artie
      I was curious as to the shutter to freeze the water droplets if one needed to have a relatively faster shutter as in your 2500 or could it have dropped. Just didn’t seem right on the same settings as #1 was my curiosity with 1200mm and f8

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>