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BIRDS AS ART BULLETIN #13

CONFESSIONS & IMPORTANT MISCELLANY
LATEST INFO ON THE 1-4 ZOOM, THE WIMBERLEY HEAD, NEW REALLY RIGHT STUFF LENS PLATES FOR CANON LENSES, A REALLY DUMB MOVE, AND AN EXCITING NEW WEB SITE WITH THE FIRST ON-LINE BIRDS AS ART IMAGES MADE WITH THE 600 F/4 IS LENS AND 2X TCs.

Hello Bird Photographers, 

Confession #1: Though I still consider it the best lens in the world for photographing birds in flight (see FAQs on web site for details), I no longer carry my beloved "toy lens"--the Canon 400mm f/5.6 L--on my shoulder as my auxiliary intermediate telephoto. It has been replaced by the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L Image Stabilizer zoom lens. I have been using the 1-4 more and more every day and--contrary to some reports from other users--have been making razor sharp images at all focal lengths with wide open to moderately stopped down apertures. In addition, I have it used it wide open, handheld with the 1.4X tele-converter with excellent results (with static subjects) at 560mm. For bird photography, the versatility of this lens is unmatched; I find myself making images that I would never even have thought of before--especially of groups of birds in their surroundings. And though it is heavier than the 400 f/5.6L, it is also a superb flight lens. At Bosque Del Apache NWR late this fall, I used the 1-4 on a tripod before sunrise for "bird-scapes" and then again almost exclusively for the spectacular blast-offs. I only wish that the zoom were a bit smoother. I am even considering selling one of my 400 f/5.6s; I never ever thought that I'd  say that when the 1-4 first came out.....

Confession #2. I have gone back to using the Wimberley Tripod head for nearly all of my bird photography, and now use the Arca-Swiss B-1 Monoball only when photographing from my car window (where I set up my tripod in the car). (See "The Art of Bird Photography" for details.) For years, I have been using the Wimberley only in situations  with lots of flight-shooting, such as at Bosque and the Venice Rookery. Each year, after using the Wimberley for an extended period, I experience  problems handling the 600 f/4 (and now the 600 f/4 IS) when I go back to the B-1. This year, I could’t stand it and wound up putting the B-1 atop my Gitzo Carbon Fiber 1548; removing it almost immediately, and replacing it with the Wimberley. Why? The Wimberley offers amazing ease of handling and unmatched panning ability. It renders the big lenses weightless. The weight savings made possible by switching to the Carbon Fiber 1548 and the 600 IS (lighter by 2 pounds than the old 600 f/4) have made carrying my rig with the Wimberley a far easier chore than it was with a Gitzo 410 and the old 600.  Lastly, I have--with practice--become extremely proficient at leveling the tripod platform by lengthening and/or shortening two of the three tripod legs. (Again, see "The Art of Bird Photography" for details.) Important note to those using either the Arca-Swiss B-1G or the B-2: each of these heads weigh only about 1/2 pound (or less) less than the latest-generation Wimberley. IMHO, anyone using the B-2 should sell it immediately and replace it with a Wimberley as the B-2 has all of the disadvantages of the Wimberley and few of the huge pluses. (For the last time today, see "The Art of Bird Photography" for details on the pluses and minuses of the Wimberley.) New Bulletin subscribers note that you can order a signed copy of this book off my web site.

Important Miscellany:

Updates on new Really Right Stuff mounting plates for Canon lenses:

1- The new B63 plate for the Canon 500mm f/4.0 IS L lens is in stock.

2- The new B 62 plate for the Canon 600mm f/4.0 IS L lens is in stock.

3- For the 100-400mm IS zoom, use B-84, or B86 if the foot strut on your lens collar is marked "B," the newest style.

REALLY DUMB MOVE:  The placement of the focus lock buttons on the new Canon 500 and 600mm f/4.0 L IS lenses is absurd.  They are so far out on the lens barrel that short-armed folks could never reach them.  For long-armed photographers, it is still a long way to reach any of these four buttons.  Avoid the hassle by learning to use Custom Function 4. 

EXCITING NEW WEBSITE. 

See my article, Field Test: New Canon EF 600mm f/4L USM with Image Stabilizer at http://www.wildlight.com/equipment/2000/01/29

Click on an image to see it enlarged.  You will be amazed by the previously described Roadrunner head shot made at 1/50 sec. shutter speed at 1200mm focal length with the lens resting on the car window!!  In addition, most of you will enjoy exploring the rest of this new site. 

If you read this far, you must really be interested in bird and nature photography; you are my kind of gal/guy!

Best and great picture making,

AM

Listing of Archived Bulletins



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