Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
June 17th, 2018

Why Get High? Kittiwake Pano Choice. How to Create Stitched Panos Easily in Photoshop

Stuff

On Friday we made our third trip in four days to the seabird colony at Hornoya. We had the east wind that we had hoped for and this time we had the clouds that we needed. Photography was great; images and the full story to follow.

The UK Puffins and Gannets IPT is slowly coming more clearly into focus …

BIRDS AS ART

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


Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can always see the current listings by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

Canon 24-105mm L IS Lens

Price Reduced

Charlie Curry is offering a Canon 24-105mm L IS lens in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $399.00 (was $424.00). The sale includes the front and rear caps, the lens hood, and insured ground shipping via major courier to continental US addresses only. Your lens will not ship until your check clears.

Please contact Charlie via e-mail or by phone at 1-407-448-7797 (Eastern time).

When I shot Canon, I rarely made a trip or headed out to the beach without my 24-105 in my Xtra-hand vest. Whenever I’d leave this amazingly versatile B-roll lens behind, I’d wind up regretting it. I use it for bird-scapes, photographer-scapes, landscapes, mini-macro scenes that included bird feathers, dead birds, and nests with eggs (the latter only when and if the nest can be photographed without jeopardizing it), and just about anything else that catches my eye. While I am nowhere near as good as Denise Ippolito is with this lens, I have made lots of good and saleable images with mine, the old version. artie

Three Nikon D850s Available Right Now!

Contact Steve below to get yours tomorrow.

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.

kittiawke-cliffs-i-phone-IMG_0243

This image was created with the hand held i-Phone 8+ (at 2X).

Image #1: the kittiwake nesting wall at Ekkeroy, Norway

The Situation

We passed this set of nests on the way to photograph at the spot where Anita and Amy had done well with some chicks in the nest on their previous visit. But for me, there were simply way too many nests way too close together. After we gave up and headed back to the van, I considered the scene above and noted that the bird at the nest marked by the white downward-pointing arrow had a small chick. And it looked as if I would be able to isolate it at 600mm. I wanted to get as high as possible while not putting myself in any danger. I chose to set up my tripod at the spot marked with the white X. Why did I climb the dirt mound to get as high as was safely possible?

Black-legged-Kittiwake-with-small-chick-PANO-A-_MAI5184-Ekkeroy,-Norway

This stitched pano was created on June 13, 2018 at Ekkeroy, Norway. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens and the Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering +2/3 stop as originally framed: 1/400 sec. at f/7.1. (Should have been +1.) NATURAL AUTO WB at 6:02pm on a cloudy afternoon.

Two down and two to the left Single Point/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was just below and just forward of but right on the same plane as the chick’s eye.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #2: Black-legged Kittiwake at nest with chick, stitched pano

Click on the image to enlarge and enjoy a larger version.

The Editing/Picking my Keepers

I kept 9 images from the sequence of about 30. That included a few frames of the chick getting fed. But I liked the more intimate mood of Images #1 and #2.

F-Black-legged-Kittiwake-with-small-chick-_MAI5184-Ekkeroy,-Norway

This stitched pano was also created on June 13, 2018 at Ekkeroy, Norway. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens and the Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering +2/3 stop as originally framed: 1/400 sec. at f/7.1. (Should have been +1.) NATURAL AUTO WB at 6:02pm on a cloudy afternoon.

Two down and two to the left Single Point/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was just below and just forward of but right on the same plane as the chick’s eye.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #3: Black-legged Kittiwake at nest with chick, stitched pano

Click on the image to enlarge and enjoy a larger version.

Your Preference?

Which of the two images above do you feel is the stronger one? Please — as always — let us know why you made your choice. And please remember that the more folks who comment the more everyone learns including me.

_MAI5185-Ekkeroy,-Norway

the original image capture for Image #2…

Why a Pano?

Above is the original image capture for Image #2. Image #3 was similarly framed. So why did I decide to create a stitched pano for each? The adult bird was a bit too centered with a bit too much room in the frame behind the bird. Worst of all, I saw in several other images in the sequence that I should have included more of the gnarly red rock that is just peeking into the frame on the upper left. Using one of those other images as my source material, I knew that creating a stitched pano would be a breeze.

for-pano-2-_MAI5176-Ekkeroy,-Norway

the source material from a previous frame in the series: _MAI5176.

The Source Material

The source material for both images came from a third image. Image _MAI5176 had been framed with a lot less room behind the end of the tail and a lot more room in front of the bird. And best of all, it included a lot more of the gnarly red rock. Note that rather than stitching both of the full frame originals that I cropped the source material so as to include only what I needed to add plus a bit of extra so that Photoshop could execute a prefect match. In cases like this, if you try to merge the two full frame images Photoshop might become confused and try to do the stitch using one part of the bird from one frame and the other end of the bird from the second frame. This is not at all what you want. Once the TIFFs were place in a separate folder, I hit File > Automate > Photomerge…, browsed to the pano folder I had created, chose Auto, and hit OK.

It’s that simple. Note that on occasion I <em>intentionally create source material in the field being sure to be in Manual mode and being sure to lock focus before creating my source material.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my 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.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack.

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 :).

June 15th, 2018

Pelican Horizontal Preening Tips ...

Stuff

On Thursday we made our second trip to the seabird colony at Hornoya. We had the east wind that we had hoped for but instead of cloudy bright conditions we had dead-clear blue skies the whole day. Things were tough when the day began and then they got worse. I napped in the shelter before lunch and woke up freezing. But this time I was prepared with extra layers.

Thanks!

Thanks for all the June 14 Happy Birthday good wishes via e-mail and Facebook; yesterday marked 72 blessed years. It was wonderful to hear from so many folks and especially nice to hear from Dr. Cliff Oliver, Joe Mac Hudspeth, Steven Inglima and Barbara Ellison of Canon, Jeff Kay — an old golfing buddy, webmaster Peter Kes, and dozens of IPT veterans. 🙂

My Error

In the previous blog post, The Promising Pool on the Delta, here, I wrote in part:

It was, however, expert birder and noted avian artist John Yrizarry who first identified that bird correctly after studying specimen skins at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. I was there when he met Tom and said in his heavy, eastern European accent, “Its a shtint alright, but it’s a Little Shtint!” John along with wife Mary led field trips mainly to Prospect Park in Brooklyn for several decades and inspired hundreds of folks to take up birding. They now live in Tuxedo Park, a village in Orange County, New York where they do lots of volunteer conservation work.

I am not sure how or why I remembered John’s accent as heavy, eastern European, but as you will see below, I was wrong. With apologies.

More On John Yrizarry (from Pieter Prall)

Pieter Prall

Artist, author, editor, illustrator, author and editor at Globe Pequot Press and at Collier MacMillan. Now lives in Rockaway, New Jersey.

Via Facebook message:

John’s mother’s family was Irish and his father’s family was Basque – from the Pyrenees Region. He generally accentuates his Irish Heritage. I would just correct your mention of the Eastern European accent relative to his actual heritage … which was Irish and Basque … Basque being from the mountainous Pyrenean region bordering Northern Spain and Southern France. He may have picked up some regional accent from the Yrizarry clan and his mother’s Irish clan … and then … he is from Brooklyn. Anyway I remember the instance of the Little Stint and how he made a great play of over- pronunciating that “schtint” name over-and-over in a theatrical manner and how he reveled in the honor of finding the true identity of that bird. By the way … my memory may be slipping … but wasn’t there a similar story about a Greenshank? He was always finding something good. What a character.

From Mary Yrizarry, via e-mail:

How are you and where are you? For an aging couple we’re doing pretty well. John needs a cane or a rollator walker to get around, but he’s still enthusiastic about all things nature. I’m enjoying our surroundings in Sterling Forest with him. Come see us if you’re in the vicinity. Comment on your description of John: John grew up in Brooklyn in a family with an Irish and Welch background and has a somewhat peculiar Brooklyn accent so I don’t know where you got the eastern European accent from. He greatly appreciates your acknowledging his correct ID of the little stint however. The Tuxedo Park library is having a show of John’s work with a reception this Saturday so although he hasn’t done much art recently, there are folks up here who appreciate his various talents.

Love from us both,
Mary Yrizarry

BIRDS AS ART

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


Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can always see the current listings by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

Three Nikon D850s Available Right Now!

Contact Steve below to get yours tomorrow.

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.

Brown-Pelican-2-year-old-preening-coverts-with-bill-pouch-_J1I1644--La-Jolla,-CA

This image was created on the first 2018 San Diego IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 400mm) and the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with Premium Kit: 64GB Card and Reader. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops as originally framed. 1/500 sec. at f/5.6.

AF Micro-adjustment via LensAlign/Focus Tune: -4.

One up from the center AF point/AI Servo Surround/Shutter Button AF as originally framed framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The selected AF point was on the folded wing feathers just below the center of the bird’s bill just this side of the plane of the bird’s visible eye. (As presented, this is a small crop for composition from the left and from below.) Click on the image to see a larger version.

2-year old Pacific race Brown Pelican preening

Pelican Horizontal Preening Tips …

When pelicans are standing upright and preening their breasts or their backs with their bill tips, you will almost always want to be working vertically. On occasion, they will preen by rubbing the bottom of their bill and even the top of their head against the feathers of the upper wing — the scapulars and the coverts, and the back. With this behavior, you will want to work with your camera held horizontally. At any given moment, the bird’s bill might be pointing skyward 90 — degrees to the ground, it might be pointing right at you, or it might be pointing straight back toward its tail — parallel to the ground, or anywhere in between. In general you will want to frame a bit wider that normal — that done best of course with a zoom lens — so that you will not clip the bill. Once all is in place and the action starts, you will want to hold the shutter button down and hope for one with a nice bill position, an open eye, and a decent look at the bird’s face. High frame-rate camera bodies like the Canon 1D XII and the Nikon D5 increase your chances for success.

Though not anywhere near full breeding plumage — come back next year for that — this is one of my all time Pacific race Brown pelicans. It is likely a bird in its second year with lots of remaining juvenal plumage — the brown feathers, but with the red bill pouch of an adult bird. It is rare to see this combination. You can see more photos of this bird in the Blue-eyed Chocolate-Covered Cherry blog post here.

SD-2019-card

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects, including and especially the Pacific race of California Brown Pelican. With annual visits spanning more than four decades, I have lots of photographic experience there … Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

2019 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) SUN JAN 20, 2019 thru and including the morning session on THURS JAN 24: 4 1/2 days: $2099.

(Limit: 10/Openings: 8.)

Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins; SAT JAN 19, 2019.

Please see the Dancing Grebe Morning Add-On Info below

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (nesting with eggs and possibly chicks) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heermann’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others are possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seals (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lions; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the IPT cards, there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Not to mention a ton of excellent flight photography opportunities and instruction.

Please note: where permitted and on occasion, ducks and gulls will be attracted (or re-located) with offerings of grains and healthy breads.

Learning Exposure, Whether You Like It Or Not

Whether you like it or not, we will be beating the subject of exposure like a dead horse. In every new situation you will hear my thoughts on the exposure situation along with my thoughts on both Nikon and Canon histograms and the subject of blinkies. Whether you like it or not, you will learn to work in manual mode and to get the right exposure every time as long as a bird gives you ten seconds with the light constant.And you will learn what to do when the light is changing constantly. What you learn about exposure will be one of the great take-aways on every IPT.

San-Diego-card-B-2019

Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT, there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

It Ain’t Just Pelicans

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography as well. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You will be guided as to how to make the best of all of those opportunities. And depending on the weather and local conditions and tides, there are a variety of fabulous photo chances available in and around San Diego.


san-diego-card-neesie

Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter? Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The San Diego Details

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, four 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo sessions, four lunches, and after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. An so that we can get some sleep, dinners will be on your own.

A $599 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 3385, or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 10/11//2018. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.


san-diego-card-b

Variety is surely the spice of life in San Diego. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Getting Up Early and Staying Out Late

On all BIRDS AS ART IPTS including and especially the San Diego IPT, we get into the field early to take advantage of unique and often spectacular lighting conditions and we stay out late to maximize the chances of killer light and glorious sunset silhouette situations. We often arrive at the cliffs a full hour before anyone else shows up to check out the land/sea scape opportunities.


clarkes-x-western-grebe-hybrid-courtship-rush-_r7a3968-lake-hodges-san-deigo-ca

This image was created in San Diego, CA with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the simply amazing, astounding, mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 500. Evaluative metering -2/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/6.3 in Av mode. AWB.

61-Point (Automatic selection)/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when photographing moving subjects). Though the optimized image above was a healthy crop from the original the result was a high quality 148+ MB 16-bit file. Click on the image to see a larger version. The AF system selected two AF points, one above the other, between the two birds;the eye of the bird on our right is razor sharp.

Clarke’s X Western Grebe courtship rush

The Dancing Grebe Add-On. FRI JAN 25, 2019: $399.

Those registering for the 2019 San Diego IPT might wish to join me for the Dancing Grebe Add-On Morning as above. Please read the details carefully. You will need to wade at least mid-thigh deep with your tripod over an uneven bottom. Lightweight chest waders are advised. Long lenses are needed; a 100-400 will not cut it at this spot, even with a TC. Chances at this location (easily accessible from the IPT hotel), vary from day to day so there will be no guarantees. But when those grebes dance, it can be an amazing rush. We may also enjoy chances to photograph both species, Western and Clarke’s Grebes, at fairly close range.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my 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.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack.

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 :).

June 13th, 2018

The Promising Pool on the Delta ...

Stuff

On Tuesday we took the boat from Vardo to Hornoya Island to photograph some of the 100,000+ seabirds. The cliffs are dominated by Common Guillemot (our Common Murre), Black-legged Kittiwakes, Atlantic Puffins, and Razorbills. A good percentage of the Common Guillemots are of the bridled form. There are also about 500 pairs of Brünnich’s Guillemot (our Thick-billed Murre if I am understanding correctly), but I did not know what to look for before doing the research for this Stuff 🙂 If we return, I will be on the lookout for Brünnich’s Guillemot.

In spite of the fact that the photography was exceedingly difficult, and that we were all under-dressed and nearly froze to death, we had a great time. Photos and the complete story soon 🙂

This Just In!

After editing my images from Hornoya — you will not believe my keeper rate for the day — I realized that my best murre flight image was a Brünnich’s Guillemot.

BIRDS AS ART

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


Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can always see the current listings by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Price Reduced!

Jim Keener is offering a Canon EOS 5D Mark III body in excellent condition for the BAA record-low price of $999.00 (was $1149.00). The sale includes the front body cap, the charger, the original battery, and insured ground shipping via to continental US addresses only. The package will not ship until your check clears.

Please contact Jim via e-mail or by phone at 310-741-7435 (9am-9pm Mountain time).Carl via e-mail.

I owned and used this superb, full frame, 22mp digital body for several years. It was always my first choice for scenic, Urbex (urban exploration), and flower photography until I fell in love for a while with the 5DS R (for a lot more money!). Then I switched to the 5D IV body. In addition, I loved my 5D III body for birds with my big lenses and both TCs. I used mine to create many dozens of high quality images. Then I switched to Nikon. Jim’s body can be yours for a bargain price. artie

Five D850s Available Right Now!

Contact Steve below to get yours.

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.

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This image was created with the hand held i-Phone 8+ (at 1X).

Image #1: The Pool on the Delta

The Situation

We were headed north to Gedjne (say GED-nuh, rhymes with Edna) when Anita North suggested we take the dirt road to the left; so we did. Hoyholem Road led down to the Tana River. On our right were extensive mud and sand flats, on our left, a large expanse of short-grass habitat. The only birds that we saw for the first kilometer or so were a few distant Common Gulls. When we passed the pool seen in the photo above, I said, “Jeez, there should be some shorebirds in that perfect little puddle. We pulled ahead about 100 meters to an even smaller pool and got out to take a look. When I glanced back to my right I saw two small sandpipers land in the pool.

We set up and walked back towards the birds stopping along the way to identify them: they were breeding plumage Little Stints; I was excited!

Little-Stints-in-breeding-plumage-foraging-_MAI3955--Norway

This image was created on June 10, 2018 at the Tana River Delta. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and the Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering + 1 2/3 stops as originally framed: 1/640 sec. at f/6.3. NATURAL AUTO WB at 10:33am on a cloudy day.

Center d-9/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the bird on our right. The image above is a substantial crop from the original. Click on the image to see a larger version and you will see that the D850 image quality held up nicely.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #2: Little Stint, two feeding in shallow pool

Little Stint

Little Stint is a small calidrid sandpiper. Before last Sunday, I had seen only one in my life, that at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, NY in 1983. It was New York State’s first. Little Stint is an extreme rarity in North America with occurrences on both coasts. At the time, there was not a lot of good ID information on separating Little Stint from Red-necked (Rufous-necked at the time, I believe) Stint. I think that the late Thomas H. Davis Jr., all 6′ 9″ and 145 pounds of him, found the bird and initially thought that it was a Rufous-necked Stint.

It was, however, expert birder and noted avian artist John Yrizarry who first identified that bird correctly after studying specimen skins at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. I was there when he met Tom and said in his Irish/Basque/Brooklyn accent, “Its a shtint alright, but it’s a Little Shtint!” John along with wife Mary led field trips mainly to Prospect Park in Brooklyn for several decades and inspired hundreds of folks to take up birding. They now live in Tuxedo Park, a village in Orange County, New York where they do lots of volunteer conservation work.

When Lars Jonsson’s article on stint identification was published in American Birds right around that time, the confusion on separating the two species in breeding plumage pretty much ended. Lars Jonsson is a skilled and gifted Swedish natural history artist and painter. You can learn more about Lars and see some of his beautiful work on his website here. On a personal note, Tom Davis had written Lars about stint IDs in the earlty 1980s. Lars kindly sent Tom some pencil sketches that illustrated the differences between the two species. After Tom’s premature death, probably in 1986 or 87, his parents contacted me and bequeathed Lar’s letter to me. (They knew of me because I had taken over the shorebird survey for then Manomet Bird Observatory when Tom was stricken by a cerebral aneuyism in the early 1980s; he became hemiplegic from that day on, completely paralyzed on his left side as I remember it. Tom, who was my shorebird mentor, had done the survey for several years in the late 1970s.)

In Image #2 you can see the creamy white v-shape on the bird on our right that is lacking in Red-necked Stint. More on the ID below.

Little-Stint-in-breeding-plumage-_MAI3965--Norway

This image was also created on June 10, 2018 at This image was created on June 10, 2018 at the Tana River Delta. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and the Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering + 1 2/3 stops as originally framed: 1/800 sec. at f/6.3. NATURAL AUTO WB at 10:36am on a cloudy day.

Center d-9/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the bird on our right. The image above is a crop from the original. Click on the image to see a larger version and you will see that the D850 image quality held up nicely.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #2: Little Stint, breeding plumage

More on the ID

Little Stint in breeding plumage has whitish chin and upper neck with a prominent whitish line over the eye. Red-necked Stint in breeding plumage has completely un-streaked orange chin and neck and only a very faint eyeline. In 1985, two years after the Little Stint, I found and identified New York State’s first Rufous-necked Stint in early July of 1985. Picking that bird out from 1500 much duller, molting adult Semipalmated Sandpipers was a huge thrill for me. Tom Davis was taken to the East Pond by stretcher to see the bird but had no luck on his first attempt. On his second attempt, he was successful. It was his last life bird.

In North America Little Stint might be confused with the very common Least Sandpiper (in some plumages). But Least Sandpiper has yellowish legs and a fine-tipped slightly decurved bill. Little Stint has black legs and when the bill is seen from above, the bill tip is slightly bulbous (as seen in Image #3).

Life Birds

A life bird is a bird that you see and identify for the first time ever. Thus, Little Stint was not a life bird for me. More on that topic soon 🙂

Shorebirds; Beautiful Beachcombers

To learn more about shorebirds pick up a copy of my Shorebirds; Beautiful Beachcombers. Written for naturalists and birders, the text tells you everything you’ve always wanted to know about North America’s sandpipers, godwits, yellowlegs, phalaropes, plovers, avocets, stilts, and oystercatchers. Topics covered include identification and aging, shorebird behavior, their incredible migrations, feeding and diet, mating and breeding strategies, eggs, nests, and young, conservation efforts, and shorebirding tips. Also included are approximately 50 species accounts covering all of the regularly occurring North American shorebird species. With 70 of Arthur’s images and 26 more by some of the world’s best nature photographers, this book contains the finest collection of shorebird photographs ever published in a single volume.

Little-Stint-in-breeding-plumage-foraging-_MAI3969--Norway

This image was also created on June 10, 2018 at the Tana River Delta. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and the Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering + 1 1/3 stops as originally framed: 1/800 sec. at f/6.3. NATURAL AUTO WB at 10:38am on a cloudy day.

Center d-9/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the bird on our right. The image above is a crop from the original. Click on the image to see a larger version and you will see that the D850 image quality held up nicely.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #3: Little Stint, breeding plumage

The Photographic Strategy

Note that Image #1 was taken as a record shot to confirm the ID. With both birds on the same plane it was a surprise that it turned out to be a useable image. Over the course of the next five or six minutes the three of us approached slowly and carefully getting a bit closer each time. Note that the three images presented here today will not win any prizes. In fact, there are surely hundreds of better images of more brightly colored breeding plumage Little Stint. But seeing an old friend for the first time in 35 years and creating a few decent images was a big thrill for me.

Your Favorite?

Which of today’s featured images is your favorite? Be sure to let us know why you made your choice.

Little Stint?

If you have seen a Little Stint anywhere in the world, please let us know where, when, and in what plumage.

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Typos

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