I took my own advice
and left the crazy cold N 40° latitude (-4° F/-20° C) for the warmer weather of Florida and just over a week of (primarily) bird photography. Although I had a 5D Mark III
and 1D X
along, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II
was glued to my hand for most of this trip and the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens
was glued to the camera most of that time. As noted in the title, this combination rocked and with relatively-cooperative birds, my take-home is a bit voluminous.
The subject shown here is a Great Blue Heron in breeding plumage. To capture this image, my first priority was to get in line between the sun and the bird with the low, late-day sun creating good subject lighting. By maneuvering to a slightly lower vantage point than the bird, I was able to create a background composed completely of blue sky. No distractions there.
A big challenge remaining was to get the bird properly aligned for a pleasing composition. A side-on angle to the bird with the head straight or turned slightly towards the camera usually works great. The challenge in getting that angle was that the bird, especially its head and neck, was constantly moving. I selected the top-right AF point in the center block of AF points (closely aligned with the bird's eye) and when the bird was in a position that worked for me, I quickly captured the image.
I was shooting handheld for maneuverability and setup speed reasons. The 7D II and 100-400 L II combo's size and weight are especially nice for this type of shooting.
Some are asking if the 7D II images are sharp enough for serious work and I can assure you that the answer is "Yes." EOS 7D II images are very sharp. Because ultimate image sharpness capabilities are not completely discernible from reduced-size images, I have made the full-size version of this image available for download here
. You are granted a license to use this image for personal gear evaluation purposes including further processing of the image. This is a 10.2 MB .JPG file that was sharpened very lightly. Sharpen to your taste (perhaps add a little saturation) and then follow the plane of sharp focus through this image to see what the 7D II and 100-400 L II can do.