If I’ve Said It Once… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

If I've Said It Once...

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Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens with the 2X III TC and the EOS-1D Mark IV. Hand held at 140mm. Ooops! (This is a substantial crop.) ISO 400: 1/2000 sec. at f/7.1. Image copyright 2011 and courtesy of: John Snodgrass.

If I’ve Said It Once…

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. If you are taking a walk or a ride in nature never ever do so without having at least an intermediate telephoto lens on your shoulder (or on the passenger seat if you are driving).

One of my favorite sort of secret spots on the SW FLA President’s Week IPT is a dock well south of Englewood, Florida where we bait both Brown and White Pelicans with fish for the purpose of photographing them in flight and on the water. You can learn of this location and learn all about photographing at there and at dozens of southwest Florida hotspots in the BIRDS AS ART Southwest Florida Site Guide. For more information or to purchase, scroll down here.

We arrived early after a very good morning at the Venice Rookery and after a short nap during INT (Instructor Nap Time) I headed out onto the big pier to try to catch some small bait fish with a cast net. I looked at my 70-200 IS L II lens with the 2XIII TC and the Mark IV in the back of my SUV and decided not to bring it. A few folks joined me including co-leaders Denise Ippolito, Randy Stout, and Dan Cadieux. We were joined by John Snodgrass, one of the participants. Everyone had a lens but me. I guess that you can see where this is going.

Well, there was no bait in the water so I gave up rather quickly. On the way back, my co-leaders were lagging a good distance behind John and me. I pointed out an Osprey hovering about 500 yards out to the east. He dove, and then struggled to get out of the water with his late lunch. And then he began flying a steady course. Right at us. And right down sun angle. As it got closer and closer to the pier, the bird veered slightly away from us and then flew right by us with a big struggling sea trout in its talons. I was screaming instructions to John who had begun firing while the bird was far away. The first image of a five frame burst made once the bird was up in the blue sky and close to us, was the best. That image opened this blog post.

John, from Atlanta, Georgia, is a helluva nice guy. He attended the Jamaica Bay/Nickerson Beach IPT this past August, is signed up for one of the great Homer trips, and will be on a bear boat trip this August. He is working hard at improving his photographic skills and made lots of excellent images on the SW FLA IPT, but none hurt as much as the one above 🙂

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear that I used to create the image above. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Man, I am loving this lens on my shoulder with the 2XIII teleconverter.
Canon EF 2X III TC. It seems that the new 2X (the EF 2X III) is noticeably sharper than the old one (the EF 2X II).
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. And this is the very best professional digital camera body that I have even used..

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro Compact Flash Card. Fast and dependable.

If you are considering the purchase of a major piece of photographic gear be it a new camera, a long lens, a tripod or a head, or some accessories be sure to check out our complete Shopper’s Guide.

7 comments to If I’ve Said It Once…

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Hey John, Well I did spot it and got way too excited but you were the one holding the lens! Way to go. Got some nice stuff this morning of an Osprey carrying a big load of moss. Will post it somewhere soon.

  • JOhn

    I couldn’t have done it without you. You spotted it, instructed it and improved it. I was just an instrument of your wonderful coaching and direction.

  • cheapo

    I know what you’re saying Mario, but this is nature, and we’re just lucky to be able to enjoy it and capture the image for posterity.
    Haha, Arthur! Do pro photographers really yell in public? “John! Looklooklook! Osprey! Diving! Fish supper! Aargh! My lens is back in the vehicle! If you don’t get a good shot, you’ll ride in the back of the pickup all the way home!”
    HEH. I can imagine it, but I’m sure it’s not so.

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Mario, If anything, having me standing there screaming excitedly probably messed John up more than it helped him.

  • A.K.Sircar

    Excellent shot. The fish appears to be almost the size of Osprey.

  • Great photograph from John but I think rather than luck it was preparation – having the right lens and having Arthur next to him!

  • cheapo

    What a superb piece of luck for your friend John! Here in the UK Ospreys were seriously endangered at one time, and I have never actually seen one myself. That fish probably weighs almost 3/4 of it’s captor’s weight!