Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
October 22nd, 2017

The Best Skimmer Image, and The Exposure Answer ...

Stuff

Friday afternoon was wind against sun so I went out late and found some excellent backlit and silhouette situations. The east wind persisted on Saturday morning when IPT veteran Winn Krafton joined me in the pre-dawn darkness. After a very nice sunrise we had some good chances with flying pelicans, Common and Sandwich Terns, Snowy Egret, and Ruddy Turnstone. See some of the exciting keepers from those two sessions here.

The Streak

Today makes eighty-seven days in a row with a new educational blog post! This blog post took less than an hour to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not…), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of (I think) four hundred eighty something … Good health and good internet connections willing.

Booking.Com

Booking.Com came through for me twice again recently with both the DeSoto Fall IPT and next July’s UK Puffins, Gannets, and Bempton Pre-trip room reservations. And all the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward. 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 folks 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.

BlkSKimmer-EDITING

All four of these images were created on the early morning of Sunday, October 15 well before the sun came onto the birds. I used the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 400mm) and my favorite skimmer photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. The ISOs ranged from 800 to 1250. All at Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/320 sec. at f/6.3 (except for the last image at f/7.1) in Tv mode. AWB.

One AF point to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point fell somewhere on the bird face below the eye in each image. Please click on the image to enlarge it.

FocusTune/LensAlign Micro Adjustment: -5.

Black Skimmer at water’s edge (four ways)

Following Up; My Best Skimmer …

In the Black Skimmer Editing Practice blog post here, I posted two items:

Item #1: Black Skimmer Editing Practice

Click on the composite above to view the images larger. Which is the strongest image? Why? Which is the weakest image? Why? What do you think of the two images with the breaking wave included?

For those not blessed with eagle eyes here are the file numbers from left to right, top row first, then the bottom row.

  • _P3A3247 (at 7:50am)
  • _P3A3248 (five seconds after 3247)
  • _P3A3256 (40 seconds after 3248)
  • _P3A3270 (4 1/2 minutes after 3256)

My Favorite Skimmer Image

For the most part I do not like breaking waves in images of single birds along the shore. I will admit that 3247 is stronger than 3256, but I kept those two only for educational purposes. That left me with 3248 and 3270 with the latter image being the clear winner. Why? The bird is larger in the frame and super sharp. Ans I like the bubbles left over from a breaking wave near the bird’s feet. You can see my optimized version below.

Item #2: High Level Exposure Question

Considering that the exposure compensation for each image was +2 stops, why is _P3A3270 considerably brighter than _P3A3256? Please note that it has nothing to do with the fact that the light has increased; remember that I was in an automatic exposure mode, Tv …

The Exposure Answer

This was actually a very basic question and I was surprised that nobody came up with the right answer. For 3270, I had gotten closer to the bird and as a result the bird is larger in the frame. With more dark (feathers) in the frame, the meter opened up. Thus the lighter background. This principle goes all the way back to the crude exposure diagrams in the chapter on Exposure in the original The Art of Bird Photography. A second factor might have been that the light have gotten a bit stronger; that possibly brought the following principle into play: in soft light situations the meter begins to get smarter when the light begins to get brighter …

Black-Skimmer-winter-adult-in-surf-_P3A3270-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Pinellas-County,-FL

This image was created on the early morning of Sunday, October 15 with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 371mm) and my favorite pelicans in flight photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop off the sky in early morning light: 1/2500 sec. at f/6.3. (Should have been +1 2/3 stops off the sky). AWB.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. As originally framed, the selected AF point fell on the bird’s face just behind and below the eye (as seen in the DPP 4 screen capture below). Please click on the image to enlarge it.

FocusTune/LensAlign Micro Adjustment: -4 (extrapolated).

Black Skimmer, winter adult on the edge of the surf

Be sure to click on the image to see the larger version and the excellent sharpness.

My Favorite Optimized

Both Jake Levin and Greg agreed that 3270 was their favorite. Keith Swinndell liked 3247 best because the wave framed rather than cut the top of the bird’s head as it does in 3256.

The only two things of note during the otherwise straightforward image optimization was the RGB Curves Color Balance adjustment that did more to brighten the image than to correct any color casts and a bit of Gaussian Blur to the near shoreline. (I applied it to the whole image on a layer, added and Inverse (Black or Hide-all) Layer Mask, and then painted the effect in as needed. Learn exactly how I optimize my images in The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail.

DPP-4-BLK-Skimmer-no-wave-

The DPP 4 Screen Capture for today’s featured image

T

he DPP 4 Screen Capture for today’s featured image

Note the perfect placement of the selected AF point. Note the excellent exposure. Note the almost perfect RGB values for the brightest WHITEs: 237, 237, 233. Lastly, note that I moved the Color fine tune dot away from BLUE to reduce the BLUE color cast. Learn how and why I and other discerning Canon shooters convert nearly all of their Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 using Canon Digital Photo Professional in the DPP 4 RAW conversion Guide here

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.

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use the logo link above.

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here.

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 :).

October 21st, 2017

Lousy Afternoon/Not a Bad Morning ... Cheap Short-Notice Weekend Fort DeSoto In-the-Field Instruction

losy-afternoon--not-a-bad-morning

Lousy Afternoon/Not a Bad Morning …

Click to see a larger version.

Lousy Afternoon/Not a Bad Morning …

Friday afternoon was pretty bad but I made some magic by knowing where to be when and knowing how to create blasting highlights silhouettes on a bad wind. IPT veteran Winn Krafton joined me early on Saturday morning. We had fun and enjoyed some good opportunities. I is not too late for Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. Or next weekend.

Cheap Weekend Fort DeSoto In-the-Field Instruction

Saturday, October 21, 2017: Afternoon session — 4:00pm for 3 1/2 hours: $99.

Saturday October 21, 2017, both sessions including lunch: $329.

Sunday, October 22, 2017: Morning session — 6:45am for 3 1/2 hours: $149.

Saturday, October 28, 2017: Morning session — 6:45am for 3 1/2 hours: $149. Add lunch, image review, and Photoshop session: $249 (total).

Saturday, October 28, 2017: Afternoon session — 4:00pm for 3 1/2 hours: $99.

Saturday October 28, 2017, both sessions including lunch: $329.

Sunday, October 29, 2017: Morning session — 6:45am for 3 1/2 hours: $149.

Learn to get the right exposure every time, to approach free and wild (and often tame!) birds, and to design a pleasing image. And learn the location of my new Fort DeSoto hotspot. To register shoot me an e-mail or call or text me at 863-221-2372.

Canon lens rentals are available on a limited basis: 600 II, 500 II, 400 DO II, 200-400 f/4 with Internal TC, and 100-400 II.

Cheap but great instruction.

October 21st, 2017

Six Versions of the GBH sunrise scenic w/god-rays image

Stuff

On Friday afternoon I will drive to Brandon to get my almost brand new i-Phone 8+ replaced. I somehow managed to drop it out of my car at 35 mph last week 🙂 I did purchase the Apple Care insurance. Then I continue on to Fort DeSoto for another busman’s holiday, in hopes of running into the mystery heron/egret again.

The Streak

Today makes eighty-six days in a row with a new educational blog post! This blog post took less than an hour to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not…), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of (I think) four hundred eighty something … Good health and good internet connections willing.

Booking.Com

Booking.Com came through for me twice again recently with both the DeSoto Fall IPT and next July’s UK Puffins, Gannets, and Bempton Pre-trip room reservations. And all the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward. 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 folks 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.

RAW-file-GBH-SUNSET-_P3A3171-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Pinellas-County,-FL

This image was created on the late afternoon of Friday, October 13 with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 112mm) and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering -2/3 stop: 1/2,000 sec. at f/6.3 in Av mode. AWB.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Rear Button AF and recompose.

FocusTune/LensAlign Micro Adjustment: -2.

Great Blue Heron sunrise scenic with god-rays.

Please Note

Please note that by any standard the colors and contrast in the image above are boring!

The First-Ever RAW File/Image Optimization Challenge

I posted the following in the The First-Ever RAW File/Image Optimization Challenge blog post here:

If you would like to take a crack at this image please click here to download the RAW file. Save the image to your hard drive, convert it in the program of your choice, and then optimize it with the program of your choice. save the TIF. Then create a sharpened 900 pixel tall JPEG and shoot it to me via e-mail.
Assuming that I receive at least a few decent images, I will publish at least the best one here on Friday along with my optimized version.

If at least a few folks give it a try, we can play this game again. If not — well, you can figure it out. Those who try will wind up learning a ton. And who knows, they may create an image that is stronger than mine 🙂

The Reaction

About 20 folks responded by sending their version of the posted image. I responded to each by commenting on their version at times, offering suggestions for improvement. Many folks did a decent job but left to image too dark overall (for reasons noted immediately below). The way to deal with these situations is to do a Curves adjustment that includes pinning the light tones (in this case, the sky), and then pulling the rest of the curve up. Thanks to all who participated. Though it involves a lot of work for me, we will be doing this exercise again.

My Critique

The JPEG above represents the RAW file converted straight up in ACR (with no adjustments). The image overall is way too dark because of the underexposure that was needed to hold back the bright sections of the sky … As both the bird and the god rays are a bit too centered, I wish that I had moved two steps to my right so that the bird would have been closer to the lower left corner and the god rays closer to the upper right corner. I created the image at K-7600 to juice up the colors but the underexposure muted those quite a bit. I converted the image in DPP 4 and optimized it in Photoshop. I will share it with you here in a few days.

Nick-Clayton-_P3A3171-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Pinellas-County,-FL

Great Blue Heron sunrise scenic with god-rays.

Conversion and optimization by Nick Clayton.

Middle of the Road …

Nick Clayton’s version was well done — he did a nice job of boosting the colors — but is too middle of the road for me. In part, because he failed to deal with the tonality. Again, the way to deal with these situations is to do a Curves adjustment that includes pinning the light tones (in this case, the sky), and then pulling the rest of the curve up.

anthony-ardito-_P3A3171-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Pinellas-County,-FL-Master-copy

Great Blue Heron sunrise scenic with god-rays.

Conversion and optimization by Anthony Ardito.

Brighter

Anthony Ardito’s version was a brighter than the boring ACR-converted version that I posted. Please note that I cast no aspersions at ACR — had I wanted to, I could have just as easily boosted the colors and dealt with the tonality in ACR as I did in DPP 4.

Jerry-Turner-A-Challenge_P3A3171-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Pinellas-County,-FL

Great Blue Heron sunrise scenic with god-rays.

Conversion and optimization by Jerry Turner.

Getting Creative

Jerry Turner opted to soften up the wavelets by applying a fairly strong layer of Surface Blur and then reducing the opacity until a bit of wave detail showed. HIs first version had an unnatural glow around the brighter tones in the water; he eliminated that on his second try. I just noticed that he somehow introduced what looks like a large dust spot in the sky above the trees on the right. I am not a big fan of the CYAN water …

Michael-Eckstein-_P3A3171-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Pinellas-County,-FL

Great Blue Heron sunrise scenic with god-rays.

Conversion and optimization by Michael Eckstein.

More Creativity

Michael Eckstein used Topaz Impressions to come up with his version. I love the effect but he could have done a lot more with the color and contrast.

pat-dunnock-B

Great Blue Heron sunrise scenic with god-rays.

Conversion and optimization by Pat Dunnuck.

Over the Top?

Pat Dunnuck used Topaz Studio with a radiance adjustment to come up with her wild version. She sent many versions. Some were too light without much contrast. Though her last version, the one presented here, is way over the top, I do like her creativity. I am pretty sure that there is a less out of the box version that might be more pleasing while still being dramatic.

Great-Blue-Heron-at-sunset-_P3A3171-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Pinellas-County,-FL

Great Blue Heron sunrise scenic with god-rays.

Conversion and optimization by Arthur Morris.

artie’s version

Above is my version, converted in DPP 4 and optimized in Photoshop. I will detail the image optimization in a future blog post. How did I move the god rays to the right hand corner of the image?

Comments Welcome

Please feel free to comment on any of all of the images above. What did you like and why? Which is your favorite. Do you have any suggestions for improvement for any of the photos?

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.

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use the logo link above.

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here.

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 :).