Announcing the Nikon Z9 Guide for Wildlife Photographers « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Announcing the Nikon Z9 Guide for Wildlife Photographers

Which is Your Favorite Warren Hatch Image?


What’s Up?

Early on Wednesday I was working hard on the final edit of Warren Hatch’s Z9 guide, so I did not get down to the lake until 7:45am. I was home to get back to work by 8:15! In about twenty minutes of photography with a bad wind (NW), I made some very good images and kept 21 including my best-ever adult crane feeding young image. I was stoked by that one and will share it with you here soon. Or you can check it out on Facebook now.

Today is Thursday 12 May 2022. The forecast for this morning is the same as it was yesterday: clear with the breeze from the NW. I will head down to the lake early to check things out. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took about three hours and two months (of working on the guide) to prepare and makes sixty-two days in a row with a new one.

Please remember to use the B&H and Amazon links that are found on most blog pages and to use the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout when purchasing your new gear from Bedfords. Please, also, consider joining a BAA IPT. You will be amazed at how much you will learn!

Wanting a Nikon Z9?

The best way to get your hands on a Z9 is to join NPS (Nikon Professional Services) and then send your member number to Steve Elkins at Bedford via e-mail. Nikon insists that Z9s (and other hard to get stuff) go to NPS members. You can get one from B&H but they have a huge wait list …

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 waitlists 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.

You can purchase your copy here in the BAA Online Store for $69.00. Or Call Jim weekdays at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand.

The Nikon Z9 Guide for Wildlife Photographers

The Nikon Z9 Guide for Wildlife Photographers/by Warren Hatch
Editorial Consultant: Arthur Morris

In this downloadable e-book (you will receive a link by e-mail), you’ll learn everything a wildlife photographer needs to know about the Nikon Z9. The Z9 is one of the most complex camera bodies ever made. In this guide, the brilliant Warren Hatch will teach you exactly how to set up your Z9 for bird, wildlife, and nature photography. The camera offers hundreds of settings and options. Selecting the right combination of these is essential in order to effectively use the Z9 in the field.

This 83-page guide, created in the tradition of the many mega-successful BIRDS AS ART Camera User’s Guides, includes:

  • 1- Extensive information on the autofocus system and the optimal settings for the various shooting situations that wildlife photographers encounter including and especially for birds in flight.
  • 2- The camera controls – what they do and how to customize them for your shooting style and varying conditions.
  • 3- Configuring the camera so that you never need to take your eye from the viewfinder when the action unfolds.
  • 5- Insights and details on using legacy F-mount lenses on the Z-9.
  • 6- Practical advice about the camera batteries and chargers.
  • 7- How to take advantage of the new capabilities introduced with firmware v2.00.
  • 8- The AF-area Modes you should use and those you should avoid.
  • Order yours here in the BAA Online Store for $69.00. Or Call Jim weekdays at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand.

    This image was created by Warren Hatch. He used the hand held Nikon NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S lens and the Nikon Z9 Mirrorless camera body.. ISO 1600: 1/3200 sec @f/3.2

    Image #1: Wood Duck flapping

    Alan Murphy on the Z9 Guide

    I was excited to learn that Warren had written a guide to the Nikon Z9 as I have been learning so much about the camera from him. I’ve had the Z9 for several months. Whenever I was puzzled by my new mirrorless camera body, I’d call Warren. He always had the answer. Now, everything that he knows about this great camera body — it continues to amaze me, is available to everyone. Warren’s Z9 guide is great asset for Nikon shooters.

    This image was created by Warren Hatch. He used the hand held Nikon AF-S 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR lens (at 120mm) and the Nikon Z9 Mirrorless camera body with the FTZ II Adapter Kit. ISO 1000: 1/5000 sec. at f/4.5.

    Image #2: Bald Eagle juvenile turning in flight/cropped from a horizontal original

    The Backstory

    I’d been thinking about trying to find someone competent to write a Z9 for BIRDS AS ART ever since I heard that Nikon had released a mirrorless camera that was great for bird photography. Warren Hatch attended an IPT several decades ago, learned the basics, and was inspired by the original The Art of Bird Photography. When a participant on the last 2022 Homer IPT had to leave early, Warren joined the IPT for several days. He raved about his Z9. After he told me about the work he had done extracting metadata for the last ten years of Nikon camera bodies for ExifTool, I was pretty sure that I had found the author I needed for a Z9 guide …

    This image was created by Warren Hatch. He used the tripod-mounted Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Lens (at 24mm) and the Nikon Z9 Mirrorless camera body.. ISO 64: 1/5 sec. at f/11.

    Image #3: Valley and mountains/Eastern Sierras

    The Backstory Continued

    When I broached the subject of doing a Z9 guide for BIRDS AS ART, he did not seem too thrilled. But I talked him into it. We sent him a few of my Camera User’s Guides for reference. I was shocked when he sent me a link to his first draft in what seemed like only a week. Even better, the layout and design of the document was beyond impressive. I was busy getting ready for the GNPA EXPO (and then came home with COVID) so it took me a while to get into it. As the editorial consultant, my job was to bust Warren’s b____s when it came to clarity and readability. So I did. We exchanged three or four edited versions, each one a great improvement from the previous version. When we were almost done, Warren enlisted the help of Kaitlin Marks-Dubbs who did a professional job of copy editing the document. The last step was to send the final draft to the esteemed and talented lifelong Nikon shooter Alan Murphy who gave the project his blessings. That brings us to the publication of The Nikon Z9 Guide for Wildlife Photographers by Warren Hatch. 🙂

    This image was created by Warren Hatch. He used the handheld Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens with the Nikon TC-14E II 1.4x Teleconverter for D-AF-S & AF-I Lenses Only and the Nikon Z9 Mirrorless camera body with the FTZ II Adapter Kit. ISO 1600: 1/1600 sec. at f/8 ISO.

    Image #4: Coyote with magnificent winter coat in snow

    So Who the Heck is Warren Hatch?

    When it comes to Nikon camera bodies and nature photography, Warren Hatch is not chopped liver.

    Warren retired from the information technology field eight years ago. He began as a computer programmer and retired as the Chief Information Officer of a multibillion-dollar consulting firm. He has been photographing full-time since then. His images have been honored by Audubon, Nature’s Best, and other international photo contests. Like me, photography is both his profession and his passion. For decades, Warren has made a concerted effort to understand what each and every camera body feature does and believes that his in-depth knowledge of his cameras’ buttons, dials, and capabilities has improved his photography.

    Because of his close ties to Nikon, Warren was one of the first in the US to get his hands on a Z9. Not to mention a Nikon NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S lens!

    For the past ten years, Warren has extracted the encrypted metadata from the Nikon NEF (raw) files for all Nikon professional camera bodies. The metadata contains the camera settings that include detailed autofocus information that is not available in Nikon’s NX Studio. He shares the extracted metadata with Phil Harvey who uses it in his hugely popular ExifTool software.

    This image was created by Warren Hatch. He used the hand held Nikon AF-S 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR lens (at 210mm) and the Nikon Z9 Mirrorless camera body with the FTZ II Adapter Kit. ISO 800: 1/3200 sec. at f/4.

    Image #5: Adult Bald Eagle in flight over grasses

    Homer 2022 Bald Eagle Highlights and Handholding Compositional Tips by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Enjoy and be inspired by just a few Homer Bald Eagle highlight images. Hand holding intermediate telephoto lens will always yield slightly different compositions. Learn more about that topic in this short (3:14) video.

    All images from Homer or Kachemak Bay, AK

    2023 Homer/Kachemak Bay Bald Eagle IPTs

    IPT #1: MON 20 FEB 2023 through the full day on FRI 24 FEB 2023. Five full days/20 hours on the boat: $5500.00. Limit 5 photographers

    IPT #2: SAT 25 FEB 2023 through the full day on THURS 2 MAR 2023. Six full days/24 hours on the boat: $6600.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 4.

    IPT #3: FRI 3 MAR 2023 through the full day on TUES 7 MAR 2023. Five full days/20 hours on the boat: $5500.00. Limit 5 photographers.Openings: 4.

    Save $1,000.00 by doing back-to-back trips. Save $1500.00 by doing all three.

    These trips feature non-stop flight photography as well as many opportunities to create both environmental and point-blank portraits of one of North America’s most sought-after avian subjects: Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). Other reliable subjects will include Sea Otter, Glaucous-winged and Short-billed (formerly Mew) Gulls.

    In addition, we should see Common Murre, Black Guillemot, Pelagic Cormorant, two or three species of loons, and a smattering of ducks including two species of merganser, all three scoters, Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Bufflehead, Harlequin, and Long-tailed Ducks. Close-range photographic chances for these species will require a ton of good luck. Some of these species, especially when in flocks, can, however, often be used effectively when pleasing creating bird-scapes.

    If we need to be out early, we will be the first boat out. If conditions are great, we will stay out. And when there is a chance for sunset silhouettes, we will be in the right spot.

    We will be traveling through gorgeous wilderness country; landscape and scenic opportunities abound.

    Also featured is a professional leader, often referred to as the world’s most knowledgeable bird photography trip leader, who is conversant in Canon, Nikon, and Sony. You will learn practical and creative solutions to everyday photographic problems. You will learn to see the shot, to create dynamic images by fine-tuning your compositions, to best utilize your camera’s AF system, and how to analyze the wind, the sky conditions, and the direction and quality of the light. This is one of the very few trips Homer trips available where you will not be simply put on the birds and told to have fun. You will learn to be a better photographer. But only if that is what you want.

    You will learn to get the right exposure when it is sunny, when it cloudy-bright, when it is cloudy, when it is cloudy-dark, or when it is foggy. Not to mention getting the right exposure when creating silhouettes.

    You will learn to make pleasing blurs working in manual mode and to create silhouettes working in Shutter Priority mode.

    Most importantly you will learn to pick your best flight images from tens of thousands of images.

    You will enjoy working with the two best and most creative boat captains on their sturdy, photography-spacious, seaworthy, open-deck crafts.

    The second and third IPTs are the only Bald Eagle workshops that feature an incredibly helpful first mate.

    Only five photographers (not the usual six), plus the leader.

    Small group Photoshop, Image Review, and Image Critiquing sessions.

    All images from Homer or Kachemak Bay, AK

    What’s Included

    One four hour or two two-hour boat trips every day (weather permitting), all boat fees and boat-related expenses (excluding tips), ground transportation to and from the dock and back to the hotel each day, in-the-field instruction and guidance, pre-trip gear advice, small group post-processing and image review sessions, and a thank you dinner for all well-behaved participants.

    What’s Not Included

    Your airfare to and from Homer, AK (via Anchorage), the cost of your room at Land’s End Resort, all personal items, all meals and beverages, and tips for the boat captain and/or the first mate.

    Please Note

    On great days, the group may wish to photograph for more than four hours. If the total time on the boat exceeds 20 hours for the five-day trips, or 24 hours for the second trip, the group will share the additional expense at a rate of $225/hour.

    Some folks may wish to rent their own vehicle to take advantage of local photographic opportunities around Homer.

    Deposit Information

    A $3000 non-refundable deposit/trip is required. You may pay your deposit with credit card or by personal check (made out to BIRDS AS ART) and sent via US mail only to Arthur Morris. PO Box 7245. Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Your balance, due 90 days before the date of departure, is payable only by check as above.

    In Closing

    I have been going to Homer off and on for close to two decades. Every trip has been nothing short of fantastic. Many folks go in mid-March. The earlier you go, the better the chances for snow. The only way to assure that you are on the best of the three trips is to sign up for all of them. Can you keep up with me? If you have any questions, or are good to go for one, two, or all three trips, please let me know via e-mail or give me a call on my cell phone at 863-221-2372.

    10 comments to Announcing the Nikon Z9 Guide for Wildlife Photographers

    • Adam

      Am still waiting for the Z9 and hopefully Steve will come through? Managed to hold one at the LCS the other day and of the three flagship bodies, the R3 has the nicest balance/feel/ergonomics though the R3 suffers with its sensor. Supposedly Canon is coming out with a 32 MP cropped sensor and an RF 300 and 500 but based on the leak specs they’ll likely be old designs. What I really want is the best of all worlds, the A1 inside the R3 body with the Nikon PF lenses.

      • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Adam, Are you strong enough to lift a Z9? Most or all of Canon’s supposed “RF” stuff is based on the older EF lenses. For me, I am in the best of all worlds with two a1 bodies, a 600 f/4, the 200-600, the 70-200 II, and a pocketful of TCs. Different strokes.

        with love, a

      • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Adam, Are you NPS???


        • Adam

          I wish. CPS sure, but left Nikon eons ago and want to dip my toe back in. Yes, the Z9 is heavy but it feels great with the 500 PF and I’m sure it will be stellar with the 800 PF (we need long lenses around here). Purportedly, Nikon is bringing out a 200-600 and that along with the 800 PF would be ideal for me (size/weight/optics). The lack of innovation in Canon’s long glass is disappointing (and expensive).

    • Gloria Matyszyk

      Artie – I’m an NPS and ordered my Z9 last week late. Got the notice yesterday from Nikon that it is on the way. WTG Steve Elkins and Bedford! Again! Got the Z7ii quickly last year too. Gloria in Treasure Island

      • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        That is amazing. Folks who ordered a Z9 from B&H many months ago are still waiting, even NPS folks. Steve and Bedfords are great!

        thanks for using the discount code and saving 3%!

        with love, artie

    • Brian Patteson

      The Z9 and the 800PF will probably be a pretty wicked setup. I expect both will be hard to acquire for some time.

      • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        For sure. Best advice: join NPS and get in touch with Steve Elkins as above.

        with love, artie

      • Nelson

        Whike the Z9 is a huge step up for Nikon, it’s pretty clear it is not in same class (auto focus ) compared to the A1. Steve Perry from Backcountry gallery owna both rigs, and has tested extensively. His conclusion is the Sonys AF tracking and lock on aquisition is better with Sony.

        • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Hi Nelson. I agree. But the a1 is better for many other reasons as well. Including it’s lighter weight, Zebras, and the fact that it is far simpler to use. Not to mention 30 fps at 51 MP as compared to 20 fps with smaller raw files. But the fact is that many folks have stuck by Nikon; The guide is for them.

          with love, artie

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