Afternoon Farming Lessons II « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Afternoon Farming Lessons II

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This image was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the 2X III teleconverter (hand held at 360mm), and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f/5.6.

The raised foot and the open bill add interest.

Afternoon Farming Lessons II

Tip #1:

In late afternoon search out relatively low perches with distant backgrounds. You will find the one in the image above in a bit of a clearing near the start of the boardwalk. It will be on your right (as your are facing north, that is, toward the ramp that leads up to the Gomek exhibit). If there is nothing on the perch, hang out; there will be soon!

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This head & shoulders portrait of a fading adult Cattle Egret was created with the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens, the Canon EF 1.4X III TC and the
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/60 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

Tip #2:

On bright sunny afternoons look for subjects that (as above) are completely shaded. Birds often perch close to the boardwalk on the left (again, as you are facing north). Birds in bright sun–especially white ones–do not make good photographic subjects until the sun is quite low in the sky (yet not obscured by trees or by other vegetation).

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This image of a young spoonbill with its wings raised was created with the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/5.6 in Av mode.

The dark brown primary tips indicate that this is a young bird, most likely about ten months old.

Tip #3:

If you own a long lens, look for the large bare tree that looms over the boardwalk; it will be hard to miss. Stay well back. (You will be facing south/southeast with the sun going down somewhat behind you.) Use a teleconverter if need be to reduce you angle of inclination; in general you do not want to stand right under the tree shooting up at the birds. Be patient. Most evenings a variety of birds will land and take off from the tree and at times there are some decent squabbles. The bird in the image above had just landed.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear that I used to create the images above (along with some related items). 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. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Man, I am loving this lens on my shoulder with the 2X III teleconverter. I also use it a lot with the 1.4X III TC.
2X III teleconverter. This new TC, which is noticeably sharper than the 2X II TC, is designed to work best with the new Series II super-telephoto lenses.
Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My workhorse professional digital camera bodies.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro Compact Flash Card. These high capacity cards are fast and dependable.

I pack my 800 and tons of other gear in my ThinkTank Airport SecurityTM V2.0 rolling bag for all of my air travel and recommend the slightly smaller Airport InternationalTM V2.0 for most folks. These high capacity bags are well constructed and protect my gear when I have to gate check it on short-hops and puddle jumpers. Each will protect your gear just as well. By clicking on either link or the logo below, you will receive a free gear bag with each order over $50.

6 comments to Afternoon Farming Lessons II

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    C;ear Ken, For birds in flight I almost always use the central sensor.

  • Artie –

    Thanks for the great tips; I’m headed over there this Friday. Really looking forward to my first visit to the SAAF 🙂


  • You are so blessed to find areas with high bird population. and of course you do a great job photographing these gracious birds.

    The question I have , and I know you are Cannon but I shoot Nikon, for shooting birds in flights would you use the Dynamic range or the single point, and if you use the Dynamic range wouldl you use 9, 21, 51 or 513D points for the Dynamic setting.

    Keep shooting great photos.

    Clear Ken

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I am blessed but not in that area. In that area I am smart 🙂

  • Great images and very good advice!

  • cheapo

    I guess I’ll have to get out more and find some local perches. The whole countryside is alive with fresh foliage here in the UK, so clear sky is at a premium if a bird is posing! :¬)