Laughing Wood Stork Focal Length? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Laughing Wood Stork Focal Length?


We did well on the Wood Storks on Thursday afternoon. We had the best morning of the year with the Roseate Spoonbills on the first day of the second Spoonbill IPT. The afternoon looked bleak with strong east winds and bright sun, but at about 4:30pm the wind turned around to the west as Captain James (Froggie) Shadle had predicted and we had a banner 90 minutes with flying and banking and landing pelicans. Sunset was a bit of a fizzle. It was early to bed after smoked salmon and goat cheese dinner in the room.

The Streak

Today makes two hundred eight days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about 30 minutes to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not…), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections and my continuing insanity willing.


Several folks on the Spoonbill IPTs used the Booking.Com link below and got great rates and saved a handsome $25.00 in the process. If you too would like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and to earn a $25 reward on your first booking. Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks 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. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

Mongoose Warning

Right now the BAA Online Store has just two Mongoose M3.6.heads in stock. A price increase is coming. You can figure out the rest.

This image was created on the afternoon of Thursday, February 23, 2018 with my new Nikon gear. ISO 800. Matrix metering at zero: 1/2000 sec. at f/10. Sunny WB at 4:41pm on a clear afternoon.

Upper left of center d-9 Shutter Button AF.

Wood Stork yawning

Sharpness and Focal Length

Just the sharpness based on the JPEG above and the unsharpened tight crop below. Then, using your knowledge of the new gear that I own and the EXIF data in the caption, guess the focal length. This bird was photographed on the free afternoon session at Brandon, FL.

This is an unsharpened crop of today’s featured image

The Unsharpened Crop

As above, judge the sharpness and take a guess at the focal length. You are invited to explain your answer. Just so you know, my opinion on the sharpness is that it is just fine, more than sharp enough to sell, and more than sharp enough to make me happy.

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13 comments to Laughing Wood Stork Focal Length?

  • David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Looks to me as if you were using a long focal length because the background is way OOF despite what must have been a fairly small aperture no wider than f/5.6 and more likely no wider than f/8, see below). I know you have a Nikon D850 and a Nikkor 200-500. It’s hard for me to believe a 2X or 1.7X TC would have been this sharp so I’ll guess 500 mm plus 1.4X TC to give you 700 mm. Well done in any case.

  • Don M.

    Hi Artie,

    I’m going to guess 640 mm and that you used your 200-500 mm zoom with a teleconverter. Here is my logic.

    I used an equation:

    focal length = image size x distance to subject ÷ subject size

    I set some assumptions as follows:

    image size = 20 mm
    distance to subject = 105 feet or 32,000 mm
    subject size = 39.5 inches or 1000 mm

    This gives me a focal length of 640 mm which suggests either the 200-500 mm zoom with teleconverter or the 600 mm.

    Then, I looked at the bokeh and sharpness of the image. I believe they are consistent with the 200-500 mm zoom and teleconverter. If the 600 mm was used, I think the bokeh would be smoother and the image sharper.

    Best wishes,

    Don M.

  • Warren H

    I am going to guess that you were using the D850 with the 200-500 and a 2x. Since the aperture was f10 and not f11, you were not at the full 1,000 mm (500 x 2), you had to be pulled back some to get f10. So my guess is 800 mm using the 200-500 at 400 and a 2x.

    Other clues include the use of ISO 800. there appears to be decent light, but you had to go to a higher ISO due to the small aperture. You could not open up the aperture due to the lens combo.

    • Warren H

      I realized my mistake! You used autofocus, so the lens combo aperture could not be higher than f8. So, I change my guess to 200-500 @ 500mm with the 1.4tc, resulting in 700mm @f8. You then closed the aperture a little for better sharpness.

  • Hi Artie

    A good record shot of a Wood Stork yawning, when was a amateur, my judges always said what sorts the men from the boys in Nature Images, the subject needs to be doing something, so that ticks that box. But why f10 aperture?. A small point the plumage on the wing lacks any detail, or is my Macs screen?

    Best and love

    Where you using extenders hence f10

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      #1: please note that in soft light WHITEs often show little feather detail.

      #2: Based on this and a previous comment you might wish to invest in a new monitor. Note also that the WHITEs in the “Hooper Swan” image that you sent me were grey not white.

      with love, artie

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      ps: see Bryan Holliday’s comments on the TC below …

  • William Maroldo

    Since I have the D850 and the same 600 f/4, I would guess that you used these (with no TC). I also think F/10 is overkill, F/8 would have sufficed. Of course I’ve been wrong before….

  • 1200mm. Your new 600 plus the 2x. You are demonstrating how sharp the 2x actually is, and you usually stop down a bit to f10 with that combo.

  • Guido Bee

    I’m going with D5 and the 200-500.
    Not really sure why except that it says D850 and 600 + 1.4x underneath just to throw off people like me….
    Nice shot, by the way. As far as the results from the change from Canon to Nikon, I don’t really see much (read ZERO) difference in the images: they are still great. Gives support to the concept that the most important equipment in photography is 6″ behind the lens.
    All the best, and thanks for all the efforts on the blogs. I’m still learning.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Guido. Sorry about the misleading widget. It was left over from a previous post. That was not the gear that I used to create this image.

      with love, artie

  • Adam

    Without knowing the distance between the subject and the photographer and whether one was using a FF or crop, it would be only speculation. With the narrow DOF as evidenced by the sharp eye and blurred bill/feathers from the crop, at f/10 I suspect that you were shooting with your 850 with the 600mm + 1.4x tc at a reasonable distance.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Not bad but not spot on. I only own full frame Nikon bodies. The clues are there to lead you to the right answer. More specifically, the EXIF clearly explains why it would not have beeb 600mm plus TC-E14 …

      with love, artie