Right Place. Right Time. No Light. Right Lens, Again! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Right Place. Right Time. No Light. Right Lens, Again!

Supporting My Efforts Here

If you enjoy and learn from the blog, please consider using one of my affiliate links when purchasing new gear. It will never cost you a single penny. To support my effort here, please order from B&H by beginning your search here. Or, click here, to order from Bedfords and enter the discount code BIRDSASART at checkout to receive 3% cash back to your credit card and enjoy free Second-Day Air Fed-Ex shipping. It is always best to write for advice via e-mail.

In many cases, I can help you save some serious dollars.

Live Life to the Fullest

Join an Instructional Photo-Tour. Better yet, sign up for both Homer trips.

What’s Up?

Everyone got to the AirBnB early so we headed out for a free afternoon of instruction. The tide was very low at East Beach but we tried. Steve Shore rented my Sony 600 and an a9ii. It took about six minutes to familiarize him the a9 iii and the Sony system, as advertised. By the next morning he was consistently making sharp, well exposed images at 1200mm. Put him down as another who trusted me on Sony. As I had done last January after a zero afternoon (see the last item below), we stopped under the big bridge. We were rewarded with a handsome Great Blue Heron in fresh juvenal plumage; the bird looked as if it had just left the nest that morning. All enjoyed a seared tuna and guacamole dinner prepared by Chef Morris πŸ™‚

Despite tales of “no birds at DeSoto” for the last several months, we had lots of great opps on Wednesday morning with about tens species of shorebirds, Royal and Sandwich Terns, Brown Pelicans, about six Reddish Egrets including a dancing white morph, Great Blue Heron and Snowy Egret, and White Ibis.

Today is Thursday 9 May 2024. We all hope that you too have a wonderful day.

If you plan on purchasing a Sony a9 III Mirrorless Camera (or anything else for that matter), please remember to use or write for either my Bedfords discount code or my B&H affiliate link. Folks who use one of my two affiliate links to purchase the a9 III will receive my .DAT settings (the complete camera set-up) along with a Buttons and Dials Guide.

Please remember to use the B&H links that are found on most blog pages and to use the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout when purchasing your new gear from Bedfords to get 3% back on your credit card and enjoy free second-day air FedEx. Please, also, consider joining a BAA IPT. You will be amazed at how much you will learn!

If an item β€” a Delkin flash card, or a tripod head β€” 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 earn 3% cash back 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.

Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens

Used Gear Page veteran Robert Hollyer is offering a Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens in Like-New condition for a BAA record Low $9,998.00. The sale includes the front lens cap, the rear lens cap, the lens hood, the lens strap, that hard case & strap, the original product box, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Bob via e-mail or by phone at 1-206-359-0018 PST.

I purchased my Sony 400mm f/2.8 two years ago to complement my 600mm f/4. Robert is selling his because he rarely uses it, opting instead for the 600mm f/4! It is far easier for me to handhold the 4 ounces lighter, much smaller, and better balanced 400 f/2.8 than it is to handhold the 600mm f/4. The 400 kills in extreme low light and for flight with or without the 1.4X teleconverter. This lens sells new right now for $11,998.00 at B&H and there are used copies going for $10998.00 as well. Act quickly to save a handsome $2,000.00 by grabbing Robert’s might-as-well-be-new 400mm GM lens. And you can’t beat the f/2.8 bokeh! artie

Join me in Little Rock, Arkansas this May for a great weekend of learning and fun. You can check out any and all of the latest/greatest photo gear. If you know any good nearby spots for bird photography, and/or if you would like a free (5-image) portfolio review, shoot me an e-mail.

Little Rock Photo EXPO
A Bedford Event: Inspire, Learn, Discover
HUGE TWO DAY INTERACTIVE TRADE-SHOW
May 17-18, 2024
State House Convention Center
101 E. Markham St., Little Rock, Arkansas

​Don’t miss the Photo Expo in Little Rock! Regardless of your experience level, join hundreds of photographers, as we take over Little Rock on May 17-18, 2024. The Little Rock Photo Expo offers a remarkable experience packed with presentations, hands-on demonstrations, and a massive trade show featuring all the major photographic companies. Explore the latest gear, trade in your old camera equipment, and gain valuable insights from our experts. Get up close and personal with world-renowned keynote speakers and seize countless unique photo opportunities. Bring your camera and get ready for a weekend of fun, learning, and inspiration to elevate YOUR photography to new heights.

Click here to learn more and follow the links to see the schedule of events and/or register. Use this discount code at checkout to save $20.00: VIPEXPO24.

ddc 728w

Save 15%!

If you’d like to try out a new lens or if you need a lens for a specific trip or project (or for an IPT), LensRentals.com is the only way to go. To save 15%, simply click on the logo link above, arrange for your rental, and type in BIRDSASART15. If you type the gear you are looking for in the search box, it will pop right up. LensRentals.com offers affordable insurance. You can decline it, opt for LensCap: Damage Only, or select LensCap: Damage & Theft. Then hit PROCEED TO CHECKOUT. After you enter all of your info but before completing your order, be sure to scroll down to Promo Code box and enter the BIRDSASART15 code to save 15%.

I checked on renting a Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens for a week. The cost is only $122.00. LensCap: Damage Only coverage can be added for a very low $18.00. Going with LensCap: Damage & Theft would be $27.00. The shipping charge varies. They offer an interesting program called Lensrentals HD. By signing up for this shipping discount program ($99.00/year), you’ll get free Standard Shipping on all the orders you place.

Renting a Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens for a week will cost you $536.00. The two coverage options come in at $76.00 or $114.00. Less your 15% discount when you enter the BIRDSASART15 code into the Promo Code box at checkout and enter the BIRDSASART15 code in the Promo Code box at checkout to save 15%.

Remember, to save the 15% on your rental you must start your search by clicking on the logo above, or on this link: LensRentals.com



B&H

To ensure that I get credit for your B&H purchases, you can always click here. The tracking is invisible but greatly appreciated. And, you can use your PayBoo card. You must use the website to order. B&H will reopen on Fri April 14. Thanking me for the past 4000 educational blog posts could not be any easier and will not cost you one penny. Please shoot me your B&H receipt for major purchases.

Many folks have written recently stating that they purchased a Sony a1 from B&H and would like their free membership in the Sony 1 Info and Updates Group, a $150.00 value. When I check my affiliate account, their orders have not been there. When I let them know that they get credit for B&H purchases only if they use one of the many B&H affiliate links on the blog or begin their searches with this link, they are always disappointed. If in doubt, please contact me via e-mail and request a BH link. I am always glad to help and to guide you to the right gear.

Bedfords Simplified

Click here to start your search. Choose standard shipping, and when you get to the payment page, enter BIRDSASART in the discount code box and hit apply. You will be upgraded to free second day air Fed-Ex and receive 3% cash back on your credit card once your stuff ships. Either is greatly appreciated by yours truly.

Bedfords Amazing 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, prior purchases.

Visit the Bedfords website here, shoot Steve Elkins an e-mail, or text him on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592.

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. And the same is true in spades when ordering new camera bodies or lenses. My advice will often stave you some serious money and may help you avoid making a seriously bad choice. 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 7 May (happy 50ieth birthday to my younger daughter Alissa) 2024 at a little known spot outside of Fort DeSoto Park. Seated using the knee-pod technique, I used the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens and the ridiculously amazing Sony a9 III Mirrorless Camera. The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the rThumb Dial. ISO 1600: 1/500 sec. at f/2.8 (wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file brightness was determined to be dead solid perfect. AWB at 7:59:20pm in the shadow of a huge bridge. Sunset would be at 8:09pm.

Tracking Zone/AF-C performed to perfection. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #1: Great Blue Heron in fresh juvenal plumage with tiny baitfish

First Crack at the Beautiful Young GBH

Using the knee-pod technique, I am confident of making sharp images at 400mm using a shutter speed of 1/500 sec. But that is not fast enough to freeze the action when a heron or egret strikes at a fish. It was fine, however, for making a sharp image of this young bird with its minuscule dinner. The head angle in this image is not quite ideal.

This image was created on 7 May (happy 50ieth birthday to younger daughter Alissa) 2024 at a little known spot outside of Fort DeSoto Park. Seated using the knee-pod technique, I used the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens and the ridiculously amazing Sony a9 III Mirrorless Camera. The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the rThumb Dial. ISO 3200: 1/1000 sec. at f/2.8 (wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file brightness was determined to be dead solid perfect. AWB at 8:00:50pm in the shadow of a huge bridge. Sunset would be at 8:09pm.

Tracking Zone/AF-C performed to perfection. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #2: Great Blue Heron in fresh juvenal plumage

The Perfect Lens for the Situation

See the Miracle Under the Bridge item below to learn about the last time I checked under the bridge. Even on sunny days, there is little light at this location so the 400mm f/2.8 GM lens is often perfect. As above, sitting and resting my left forearm atop my left knee, I am 100% confident of making sharp images at 1/500 sec. But after I missed the first strike, I doubled both the ISO and the shutter speed so that I might be able to freeze the action if and when the bird struck again. It did, but was angled away. Anyhoo, I was thrilled that I decided literally at the last second to stick the 400 f/2.8 GM in an old lens bag and bring it to DeSoto.

This image of the same bird was created on 7 May (happy 50ieth birthday to younger daughter Alissa) 2024 at a little known spot outside of Fort DeSoto Park. I used the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens and the ridiculously amazing Sony a9 III Mirrorless Camera. The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the rThumb Dial. ISO 3200: 1/1000 sec. at f/2.8 (wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file brightness was determined to be dead solid perfect. AWB at 8:01:10pm in the shadow of a huge bridge. Sunset would be at 8:09pm.

Tracking Zone/AF-C performed to perfection. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #3: Great Blue Heron in fresh juvenal plumage

Optimization Variation

I’ve said it often here in the past, “If you optimize several images from a series starting each one at scratch, the results will usually vary noticeably even if you are working in the same ambient light. I will admit though, that with Images 1-3, I went for a different look for the background as far as color and texture. Which background do you like best? Why?

This image was created on Thursday 11 January 2024 on a 2 1/2-DAY Fort DeSoto (private) IPT. Standing at full height, I used the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera). The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the Thumb Dial. ISO 1250. 1/500 sec. at f/2.8 (wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file brightness was determined to be perfect (ho hum). AWB at 5:09:47pm on a cloudy-dark afternoon.

Tracking: upper center Zone/AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled performed to perfection. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy the sharper high-res version.

Image #4 (a re-run): Great Blue Heron, territorial threat display

Miracle Under the Bridge

In January past, I visited the same location after a terrible afternoon and the two folks on the private IPT and I were rewarded by two threat displaying Great Blue Herons. Read the whole story in the Miracle Under the Bridge blog post here.

Typos

With all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors.

3 comments to Right Place. Right Time. No Light. Right Lens, Again!

  • avatar David Policansky

    What Adam said, except for the idea that GBHs aren’t intrinsically interesting. They are. Apropos of nothing, a friend calls what you did below, and what I do very often, a “cannibalism.” I like the term. The s in “tens” is cannibalized from “species.”

    “…with about tens species of shorebirds…”

  • A second vote for the more saturated blue water of Image #1. But I’d consider a darker take on the heron, more like that in Image #3, to go with the more lively water.

  • avatar Adam

    Leave it to you to make GBH images intriguing. I find the “popcorn ceiling” background in image 1 the best and the threat display most interesting. Agree with you on the head angle comment and were you able to capture the fling and swallow or was its head turned unfavorably?

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