Never Settle When the Sun’s Out … D850 Image Files. What Fish? And a Duck Behavior Lesson for Me!

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I have been feeling well and sleeping great. The hernia repair is healing nicely and the shoulder is doing quite well. Your get well wishes are appreciated. I have been resting and napping a lot and watching lots of NBA and NHL playoff games.

BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Nikon D850s Right NowI

D850s are at least 3 weeks back-ordered at B&H. I have helped several folks get a D850 in the past few days. Steve Elkins — see item next — has several on hand right now waiting for your phone call. From blog regular Gloria Matyszyk: My camera has shipped! Thanks for this great photography company connection!

Duck Behavior Lesson for Me!

In the recent blog post here, I wrote with regards to the drake Hooded Merganser:

If you have a clue as to what this bird is doing please leave a comment.

In the field I was convinced that the duck was swallowing a drink.

Max Warner posted this:

Most birds except members of the pigeon family and a few others cannot suck water upward and swallow when they want a drink. They get a bill full of water and then tip their heads up to swallow the fluid. I suspect that is what this drake is doing.

So I was pretty much 100% that I had correctly interpreted what I saw in the field.

Then I found the comment below held for moderation — don’t ask me why on that.

Jim Burns. May 5, 2018 at 10:50am:

Duck behavior quiz–Art, I’ll bet there was a female Hoody around, or at least your male Hooded Merganser was feeling frisky. I think this is a courtship display called “drinking,” where the male takes in some water, then compresses the crest and points the bill straight up, something not associated with simply getting a drink of water outside of mating season.

I responded:

Thanks Jim, I was about to write this: I will take that bet. ???? But then I re-read your comment more carefully and consulted “The Birds of North America” Hooded Merganser species account (No. 98) and found this in the section on Courtship Displays: Drinking is a ritualized behavior that can be distinguished form normal drinking motions by the strongly depressed crest and almost vertical orientation of the bill.

You are correct sir.

I did find this error in the account: Courtship occurs in small groups consisting of at least one female and several males. There was only a single male at Gilbert and this one was swimming around with two females.

IAC, well done and thanks for setting me straight.

with love, artie

As I say often it is amazing how much you can learn by revisiting the comments …

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Patrick Sparkman saved $350 on a recent purchase!



Booking.Com

Several folks on the DeSoto IPT used the Booking.Com link below, 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 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… 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.

Great-Blue-heron-with-fish-_DSC8770-Gatorland,-Kissimmee,-FL

This image was created on the 3rd afternoon the 2018 Gatorland IPT with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. ISO 500. Matrix metering -2/3 stop; 1/3200 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. SUNNY WB at 5:23pm on a clear day.

Three up from the center d-25//Shutter Button/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the curve of of neck slightly forward of the plane of the heron’s eye (as originally framed); at a distance of about 50 feet (at least), there was more than enough d-o-f to cover the eye.

Phase detection AF Fine-tune value: +4.

Image #1: Great Blue with prey

Never Settle When the Sun’s Out …

As I mentioned previously here it was looking like a pretty poor afternoon for Jim Dolgin and me. It was bright sunny and hot. Then, for no reason at all a nice Wood Stork landed on the boardwalk railing just to our right. We got close easily and began making some nice images as the bird was in the shade with a nice shaded green background. A couple with a baby carriage approached considerately. “Thanks,” I said, “If you stay to the right and go by slowly the bird might stay.” It did. And then amazingly, lots of folks showed up including several large families with and without baby carriages. Still the bird stayed on the railing. After about 15 minutes the stork simply looked around, jumped up, and flew away without any prompting. Photos soon. Then we moved back to our left to try some more flight photography.

The sun was coming over our right shoulders so we were scanning to our left for subjects. Then, looking to my right, I saw a great blue strike and come up with a decent fish. But I was about 45 degrees off sun angle. I thought that there was an opening to my left so rather than work so far off sun angle I gambled, grabbed my tripod, and moved about ten yards to my right. Bingo. I had a clear slot that left me about one degree off sun angle.

Whenever I am in a good situation that can be improved my moving left or right or getting higher or lower, I try to have the discipline to give up on the mediocre image and go for the best image … I’d rather wind up with nothing that with something that I know could have been better. In this case that approach worked well.

Great-Blue-heron-HEAD-with-fish-_DSC8770-Gatorland,-Kissimmee,-FL

This image was created on the 3rd afternoon the 2018 Gatorland IPT with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. ISO 500. Matrix metering -2/3 stop; 1/3200 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. SUNNY WB at 5:23pm on a clear day.

Three up from the center d-25//Shutter Button/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the curve of of neck slightly forward of the plane of the heron’s eye (as originally framed); at a distance of about 50 feet (at least), there was more than enough d-o-f to cover the eye.

Phase detection AF Fine-tune value: +4. Click on the image to see the spectacular D850 detail in a larger version.

Image #2: Tight crop of head and fish

D850 Image Files

As noted here are many occasions, sharp D850 image files feature incredible fine-feather detail and remarkable dynamic range with less noise in the dark and shadows than any camera I have ever worked with.

What Fish?

I think that the prey item here is a tilapia. If you car verify or correct that please do leave a comment.

NIKON-AF-e-Guide-cover

The Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide

Please click here to purchase.

The Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide: $30.00 (or free — see below for details on that).

by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART and Patrick Sparkman

There is lots of misinformation out there on the Nikon Automatic AF Fine-tune feature. Much of that involves vast over-simplifications. Patrick Sparkman and I developed a way of using the Automatic Fine-tune feature effectively with the D5, D500, the D7500, and the D850. Patrick, however, was on a roll and perfected a method for using the Focus Peaking feature available only on the D850 to quickly and accurately micro-adjust all lenses and TC-Es with your D-850. If you own a D850 you should be using D850 Focus Peaking AF Fine-tune rather than Nikon Automatic AF Fine-tune. It is faster and easier and more accurate. While there is some halfway decent info online with regards to Nikon Automatic Fine-tune feature, I have never seen a word about using the amazing D850 Focus Peaking capabilities to determine an accurate AF Fine-tune value. You can thank Patrick Sparkman for rectifying that situation.

With both Nikon Automatic AF Fine-tune and D850 Focus Peaking AF Fine-tune, the use of a LensAlign Mark II unit is recommended as best by far for accurate results and thus, this guide is written reflecting that. Taping a sheet of newsprint on a wall or using the FoCal kit does not assure you of the True Parallel Alignment (TPA) that is guaranteed when you set up your LensAlign properly. Without TPA your results will be off anywhere from a little to a lot. You can purchase the LensAlign Mark II alone here. Or you can purchase the LensAlign/FocusTune combo here. If you do not own either of those we suggest that you decide which to purchase after reading this guide through once. That said, we recommend the LensAlign/FocusTune combo for reasons that will become obvious as you make your way though the guide.

Do understand that much of the set-up information included in the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide is by necessity a duplication of information included in The LensAlign/FocusTune Micro-Adjusting Tutorial e-Guide.

Please click here to purchase.

If you have spent $2,000+ on Nikon gear (correctly) using my affiliate links, shoot me a copy of your receipt via e-mail so that I can send you your free PDF.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my (stupendous) efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.





Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store ????

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

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Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

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