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I suspect if I knew all the right questions, I might have figured it out (or come close) myself .
The lens is 600/4 mk. 1 in conjunction with extender 1.4 mk. 2. So, I was stopped down 1 stop to f/8.
The picture is about a 100% crop. Camera and lens mounted on a wimberley sidekick attached to RRS BH-55 ball head. 3-section tripod legs, no center column. Temp was in 50s, little wind, not sure of humidity (east coast near beach). Lens hood deployed, no filters. No cable release.
I understand that cropping is going to have a deleterious...Show more →
Looks like you have a good grasp of the fundamentals and especially good camera support.
I would agree with imagemaster that you could easily go a bit higher on ISO. With the 5D Classic, I almost always shot in the range of ISO 100, 200, and 400. With the 5D2, I do 160, 320, and 640 without skipping a beat, and though I might pause a bit for 1250, I use it when I want to, whereas I would think twice for 800 on the old 5Dc.
With the 5D3, I probably wouldn't skip a beat for ISO 1250, though the sensor is rather similar to the 5D2.
If it is anything like the 5D2, ... there is some evidence that the 160, 320, 640 and 1250 series have about 2/3 stops better dynamic range than intermediate values, for the 5D2.
With your image, you could probably have exposed it 1/3 or 2/3 stops higher to get better detail. Undexposure (like on the underside of the bird, hard to avoid in bright sun) can sabotage detail. You might be able to go a full stop higher and recover a bit of highlight detail with Photoshop, or just sacrifice a very little bit. Don't neglect 'Expose to the Right'.