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We received tons of feedback and many questions on the Great Egret image made with stacked 2X tele-converters on the Canon 600mm f/4L Image Stabilizer lens.
Many folks commented that the image appeared very sharp on their monitors, a few said that it looked soft.  And a very few were unable to open the image despite my re-e-mailing it.  (It was a j-peg created on Adobe Photo Shop 5.5.)  Special thaks to Jeff Page who sent detailed technical advice and great suggestions for sending future images with Bulletins. 
Peter LaTourette was the first of many to point out that stacked 2Xs yield an effective aperture of f/16, not f/11 (four stops darker than the wide open aperture of f/4) as I stated incorrectly in Bulletin #19.  (Hell, I was really tired.....)  In any case, I I am sorry for the screw-up. 
All are assured that the image is beyond-comprehension sharp when viewed on a lightbox with a Schneider 4X loupe.  When I first saw the series of images, I said, "When did I get that close to a gorgeous Great Egret?"  Then I realized that they were the images of a bird on top of the rookery, more than 100 feet away. And realized that they were made with the stacked 2X TXs..... I was stunned by how sharp the images were.
Some folks asked if I used a tripod.  The answer of course was YES.  (Those folks have never met a 600mm f/4 lens--the IS version weighs more than 12 pounds wiithout the camera body.   In fact, I used the Gitzo Carbon Fiber 1548 and a Wimberly Head.  The Wimberely Head was totally locked down.  The bird was scratching but did hold it's head still for quite a while so that I had time to focus and lock the tripod head.  Remember, I was shooting at 1/100  and 1/125 sec. at 2400mm!
Many folks asked about the 12mm extension tube.  With the Canon system, an extension tube is needed so that the TCs are able to mate. With Nikon, you need to file off a pin on the front of the rear tele-converter.  I did let them know that they should own a copy of "The Art of Bird Photography," as the INFO on stacking TCs is covered in the text.  Some replied that they already owned it and really were serious about improving their photography.  I told them, YOU'VE GOT TO READ THE BOOK!  (Visit the web site to order a signed copy if you do not  have one.)
Here are some of the recent e-mails:  
My reply to Mike Butcher:
Hi Mike,
I've been an avid reader of your e-mails (and books) and have come to expect
 tremendous shots.  The attachment is no exception, and certainly looks sharp
 on my screen.
 Could this same image could have been made with a non-IS lens and
 stacked TC's?
Absolutely NOT.  NOT without IS technology.
In this situation, does the IS feature make a big difference or could your older 600mm/f4 lens have done as well (assuming you stayed away from the vibration-prone 1/4 - 1/30 shutter speeds)??
No chance in hell with stacked doublers.
From your description, it sounds like the 12mm tube was mounted between the TC's.  Does the extra extension (doubled by the in-board TC) have any effect on maximum working distance - could you have used this rig at 200 feet?
I don't know what's up with stacked 2Xs at infinity, I'll have to check but feel that it will focus to infinity.   With the 2X and the 1.4X stacked, you can focus on the sun as their is extra focus past infinity built into the lens......
 With the added distance between the camera and mounting point (and the additional connections points), do you use any type of bracket (attached to both camera body and lens foot, to keep all this balanced and rigid?
No.  I simply slide my Really Right Stuff plate forward in the mount to balance the whole rig.  That is why I like L   O   N  G  plates.  AND, I MAKE SURE THAT THE IMAGE STABILIZER IS ON AND SET TO MODE ONE!

Mike, thanks for your thoughtful questions.  Some of them that I get make me want to pull my hair out.  Best,  AM
My Reply to Kim Likakis:
Dear Kim

 Hi Artie - Please take me off your quasi-Canon mailing list.  Thanks.>
No problem.  Sticking your head in the sand is a great way to avoid learning
about new technology.  Best and great picture making, AM
My reply to Juli Wilcox:
Hi Juli,
 What's the main thing to remember as far as technique with 2 2x's?
Use perfect sharpness techniques as described  in "The Art of Bird Photogrpahyplus a few new ones that I've developed for the Wimberley  Head.  
Did you take closer to a few dozen or a few hundred shots to get this one?
I took about 8 head shots, all sharp but head angle to me and light not to good.  Took about 5 scratching shots like the one shown (it takes more than a few seconds to frame the shot and tighten the two Wimberley knobs).  All were sharp.   
Did you get other great shots with the stacked 2x's? 
Took a long series of another Great Egret with a big stick.  Got one very sharp one but many were soft--due to improper focus, I believe.  Was using Provia pushed one stop then and shooting at 1/250 sec......  Go figure. 
I have been using the 1.4 and 2x with a 12mm and don't think much of the results so my question on technique has nothing to do with idle admiration.
IS is no subsitute for sloppy technique (nothing personal).  Experienced photographers emplying perfect sharpness technique will be able to push the envelope that much farther when using IS.  They will be able to make sharp images at slower shutter speeds and at ridiculous focal lenghts (like 2400mm).  I guess, then, that your next question will be "What are maximum sharpness techniques?"  Best,  Artie
The next Bulletin will detail maximum sharpness techniques that I have devleoped for the Wimberly Head.  (By the way, we will have Wimberley heads to ship in a few days:  regular head: $565 with Kirk clamp plus $15 shipping.  Sidekick: 250 with Kirk clamp plus $10.00 shipping.)
My reply to Dave McShaffrey (and others):
Hi Dave,
I've had a Nikon LS 2000 for a few years, and I always find it necessary to sharpen a bit to get back to the sharpness of the original.  Perhaps this Laser Fast software makes the difference
As far as sharpness, I simply do not know.....
What is Laser Fast?  Is it an enhancement to the Nikon Scan or is it a third-party effort?
It is superior (so I am told) third party software for the LS 2000.  It costs about $600; I purchased it on the advice of several experienced friends.  Best,  AM
Best and great picture making  to all.
P.S. The Baton Rouge programs and field shoots were a huge success.  Lake Martin was mildy disappointing as the birds, thousands of them, were far away, but one GREAT spoonbill nest and lots of wonderful  macro 
opportunities made for lots of teaching and learning.  Thanks  to all who attended.  
Note: Arthur Morris has been a Canon contract photographer since 1994 and continues in that role today.  If you  received this bulletin in error, or would like your name removed from the subscriber list, simply respond by e-mail and request same.  

Listing of Archived Bulletins

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