July 3rd, 2015

A New Streak/Canon 100-400II Continues to Rock the UK Puffins...

What’s Up?

On Wednesday afternoon a huge thunderstorm hit the puffin island 15 minutes earlier than predicted at 3:45pm. Sideways hail and rain with 40+ mph winds left most folks drenched; the rule in Northumberland is to always have your rain gear along…. Lightning flashed and thunder boomed; our boatman skillfully got us back to port. The storm knocked out internet for about a day and a half. Thus, there was no blog post on Thursday.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few weeks we have sold nearly everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can see the complete listings here.

Recent News

Four more recently-listed lenses sold with the past few days. With the demands of cooking for 12, now 13 folks, and with the internet down for a good bit, I am once again far, far behind in updating the used gear page and answering e-mails. Heck, denise and I have barely had time to breathe…. I may have some time to catch up today. If I missed an important e-mail please re-send it. I will do my best.


atlantic-puffiin-flapping-_y8a8670-seabird-islands-off-seahouses-uk

This image was created on the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and the amazing Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -2/3 stop: 1/5000 sec. at f/5.6. AWB.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The selected AF point was on the bird’s upper breast just below the black neck band. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Atlantic Puffin flapping

600 II vs 100-400II

Though I have lugged the 600II on every landing, I used it only briefly until Thursday afternoon, and even then the 100-400II proved very valuable. The 100-400 II is lightweight, easily hand holdable, and super-sharp. With the 7D II it offers lots of reach, especially with the 1.4X III TC in place. As shown in today’s image, it is extremely versatile; without being able to zoom out I’d have seriously clipped the puffin’s wings. Lastly it’s ridiculously short minimum focusing distance of less than a meter, or about 3 feet, two inches, allows the creative photographer to envision and create images that simply were not possible before the release of this lens.

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens In Stock

For the very first time since its release, B&H has the 100-400 II in stock, ready to be shipped to you. Simply click on the logo link immediately above or use the product-specific text links in any blog post to purchase yours while supporting my efforts here on the blog .

The 100-400 II vs the 200-400 with Internal TC

As expected, I have received several e-mails asking for a comparison of these two great lenses, the Canon EF 100-400mm II and the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender. You should find find my detailed analysis here within a week.

The Single Negative?

What do you think is the biggest negative in this image?

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We want and need to keep providing you with the latest free information, photography and Photoshop lessons, and all manner of related information. Show your appreciation by making your purchases immediately after clicking on any of our B&H or Amazon Affiliate links in this blog post. Remember, B&H ain’t just photography!

…..

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use this link:

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. Many thanks to those who have written.

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 :).

July 1st, 2015

100-400 II Draws First Blood...

Stuff

I have slept great the first two nights with not a trace of jet lag. I always do great flying to places; not so good flying back home regardless of the direction. Tired as we were after the first day of puffins, most of us made it out after dinner to photograph a nearby castle (with the bonus of a rising full moon). After another great dinner of haddock two ways with steamed broccoli/cauliflower/kale prepared by yours truly the group continues to rave enthusiastically about the chef: me. This blog post, the 173rd in a row–what is wrong with me?, is scheduled to be published automatically at 9:00am eastern time on Wednesday, July 1.


atlantic-puffin-incoming-flight-_y5o4871-indian-lake-estates-fl

This image was created on Day 1 of the UK Puffins and Gannets 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. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f/6.3.

Center AF point (Manual selection)/AI Servo Expand/Shutter button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The selected and active AF point was on the base of the bird’s right wing, just past the plane of the eye, yet the eye was sharp. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Atlantic Puffin incoming flight

Day 1

We have a super-nice group, a mix of IPT veterans and first timers, all happy campers. We need to get out for day two on the puffin boats so I will be brief here. I brought the 600 II to the islands and barely used it….

With a year under our belt Denise and I knew that with the given sky and wind conditions that there were only two good locations on our morning landing, and that is right where we put the group. I used the 100-400 II with both the 1D X and with the 7D II, with and without the 1.4X TC.

The Image Optimization

As you can see by the animated GIF, I need to level and crop the image. I used content aware fill to fill in the two small triangles of added canvas. A healthy dose of Detail Extractor was applied to the brightest WHITEs on the sides of the head after selecting those with a Quick Mask and refined with the addition of a Layer Mask. That was followed by a 30% layer of my NIK 50-50 recipe and a Contrast Mask on the dark parts of the bird’s face only (after selecting those with the Quick Selection Tool.) Dust spotting and cleaning up the strip of vegetation along the lower frame edge pretty much finished the job.

Digital Basics

Everything that I did to optimize today’s image is covered in detail in my Digital Basics File–written in my easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand style. Are you tired of making your images look worse in Photoshop? Digital Basics File is an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, details on using all of my image clean-up tools, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro basics, Contrast Masks, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs, Tim Grey Dodge and Burn, a variety of ways to make selections, how to create time-saving actions, the Surface Blur (background noise reduction) settings as taught to me by Denise Ippolito, and tons more.

APTATS I & II

Learn the details of advanced Quick Masking techniques in APTATS I. Learn Advanced Layer Masking Techniques in APTATS I. Mention this blog post and apply a $5 discount to either with phone orders only. Buy both APTATS I and APTATS II and we will be glad to apply at $15 discount with phone orders only. Please call Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-221-2372 to take advantage of this special offer. I am pretty sure that we have extended that offer to the BAA Online Store as well… No time to check right now. :)


dpp-4-guide

You can order your copy of “The Photographers’ Guide to Canon Digital Photo Professional 4.0″ (aka the DPP 4 Raw Conversion eGuide) by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris by clicking here.

The DPP 4 eGuide (PDF)

Learn how and why I and many other discerning photographers choose and use only DPP 4 to convert their Canon RAW files in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly. The latest version supports all of the newer Canon camera bodies and several older models including the EOS-7D and the EOS-1D Mark IV. The DPP IV Guide is the ideal companion to the 7D Mark II User’s Guide, a runaway best seller.


nickersonbeach-carda

The strange thing is that when I lived in New York, I never knew about this amazing and consistently productive location.

Nickerson Beach/JBWR (possibly…)/Black Skimmer/Oystercatcher/migrant shorebird IPT: August 13-16, 2015. 3 1/2 DAYS: $1399.

Meet and greet on the evening of WED August 12. Limit 10/Openings 3.

Most of our seven photo sessions will be spent at Nickerson beach photographing the nesting Black Skimmers. In flight, sometimes battling. Carrying fish. Chicks of varying sizes from a very few just-hatched to lots of fledglings. It is likely that we will get to see some Great Black-backed Gulls preying on the juvenile skimmers. They swallow them whole. There will be lots of gulls to photograph as well as some Common Terns. Locally breeding shorebird species include American Oystercatcher–pretty much guaranteed, Willet, which is likely, and Piping Plover, which is probable but we need to get lucky with those to get close….

Save a space by calling Jim or Jen at the office and arranging to leave your deposit of $499. I hope to see you there.


nickerson-beach-card-c

JBWR?

If local conditions are ideal we may visit Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to photograph southbound migrant shorebirds on one or possibly two mornings. Even if we do not visit JBWR we should get some good chances with the migrant shorebirds at the beach, especially Sanderling and Semipalmated Plover. Red Knot and others are possible.


nickerson-beach-card-b

As you can see, the oystercatchers are quite tame at Nickerson. And we will get you up early and we will stay out late.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge In-the-field Instructional Photo Workshop/Scouting Session. August 12, 2015. Morning only: $250. Cheap!

The tide will be pretty good at the East Pond…. If I learn that conditions there are un-photographable we will do Nickerson Beach as a back-up. This will work either as an add-on for out of town folks coming for the IPT above or as a stand alone session. Either way, you will, as always, learn a ton. And we might even get some good images.

Facebook

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

Support the BAA Blog. Support the BAA Bulletins: Shop B&H here!

We want and need to keep providing you with the latest free information, photography and Photoshop lessons, and all manner of related information. Show your appreciation by making your purchases immediately after clicking on any of our B&H or Amazon Affiliate links in this blog post. Remember, B&H ain’t just photography!

…..

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use this link:

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. Many thanks to those who have written.

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 30th, 2015

artie: Locked and Loaded /Photo by Jennifer Morris

Stuff

Our red eye flight to EDI was a piece of cake. I actually slept pretty well. Denise did not. We met the group at about 10:15 am, met met our transfer truck right on time, picked up our rental vehicles, stopped for a great lunch, and arrived at our lodgings just after 3:00pm. Then it was off to the local market for a group shopping trip. It was really great fun. Then your truly prepared a sumptuous dinner of baked chicken thighs, steamed cauliflower, and steamed kale. It was the first time for me and several others. It is super healthy, really tasty, and went great with the cauliflower. With lots of butter.

It is scheduled to be published automatically at 9:00am eastern time on Tuesday, June 30. Tomorrow is our first puffin boat trip; everyone on the sold out UK Puffins and Gannets IPT is thrilled (and that includes the two leaders!) This blog post is the 172nd in a row.


artieat-mco

Yours truly at Orlando International Airport with 2 checked bags, my big Think Tank rolling bag, my Urban Disguise Laptop Bag, and my Xrtrahand vest by Vested Interest.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2015: Jennifer Morris

Par For the Course…

I’ve done this a few times. Yet each time for me is more exciting than the last. With all of my diabetic needs and supps it is not possible for me to travel with one checked bag so two it is, here are 47 and 45 pounds respectively.

The 29 inch Samsonite Four-wheel Spinners

About two years denise introduced me to these great bags. They allow me to get around airports without having to rent a luggage cart; heck, as much as I travel they have already paid for themselves.

Recently, after having one of her soft-sided spinners wrecked during a flight, she switched to one of the Samsonite Hard-sided 4-wheel Spinners You will need to scroll down. In the meantime, mine have held up quite well, even the zippers.

Laptop Security Tip

If you are not lucky enough to get TSA-Pre-Check, the tendency is, when you are going through security, to grab one of the large plastic trays, put your laptop in it, and place it on the belt first. Bad idea. I did that twice today and twice the tray with my Macbook Pro Retina was nearly toppled off the end of the belt by the stuff behind it. From now on it is everything else first, laptop last.

Think Tank Airport Security™ V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag

It is very simple, without my Think Tank Airport Security™ V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag, I am not going anywhere with my 600 II. Above it comes in at a svelte 44.25 pounds, 4 1/4 pounds heavier than the legal US limit. I have only twice been hassled for roll aboard weight, once flying out of Nairobi, and once in London. Be sure to have a big smile for the gate agent. Pull your rolling bag with the laptop bag atop it on the side opposite the gate agent. In other words, if you are handing over your boarding pass with your right hand, be sure to be pulling your roll-aboard with your left hand with the bag somewhat hidden behind you. And that goes triple if you are wearing a photo vest. Again, I have been hassled about the vest only a very few times in three decades of flying around the world. And I have always talked my way past the agents. Being a diabetic carrying insulin in the vest has saved me on occasion.

Think Tank Urban Disguise Laptop Shoulder Bag

Both denise and I use and love this amazing bag as it has tons of room and enables us to bring tons of extra stuff. A nine inch band of fabric allows you to easily slide the laptop bag safely and securely onto the extended handle of your Think Tank roller. If you take a close look at Jen’s image you should be able to note that feature. Combined with the two Samsonite spinners this allows me to make it through airports easily on my own without a cart. Carpeted areas can be a challenge with the spinners….

Please click on my Think Tank affiliate link here to earn a free gift when you purchase either a Think Tank Rolling Bag or an Urban Disguise laptop bag.

Delkin Flash Cards

As always, both denise and I will have a 64gb Delkin e-Film Pro Flash Card in each camera body so that we never have to change cards in the field thus reducing the risk of losing a card…. Please note the new lower prices here. I do have a few extra 32 and 64gb cards in a Delkin CF Memory Card Tote, mostly to protect against operator error….


bosque-2014-a-card

In 2015, we are offering a 3-DAY IPT before Thanksgiving and a 4-DAY IPT after the holiday. You can attend either and spend Thanksgiving Day with your family. Sign up for both and we will be glad to apply a $100 discount to your balance. We know that there are lots of less costly workshops being offered these days. Many of them are downright cheap. Please remember that you get exactly what you pay for. With us you will have two full time pros there for you every minute we are in the field. Together they have more than 28 seasons of experience at the refuge. If you want the finest in photographic instruction and want to be assured of being in the right spot at exactly the right time every day, do join us.

Bosque del Apache 2015 BIRDS AS ART/A Creative Adventure Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT). 3-FULL DAY IPT: NOV 22-24, 2015. $1149. Two great leaders: Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris. Meet and greet and introductory slide program after dinner on your own at 7:00pm on SAT NOV 21.

Tens of thousands of Snow Geese, 10,000 Sandhill Cranes, ducks, amazing sunrises, sunsets, and blast-offs. Live, eat, and breathe photography with two of the world’s premier photographic educators at one of their very favorite photography locations on the planet. Top-notch in-the-field and Photoshop instruction. This will make 21 consecutive Novembers at Bosque for artie. This will be denise’s 7th workshop at the refuge. Nobody knows the place better than artie does. Join us to learn to think like a pro, to recognize situations and to anticipate them based on the weather, especially the sky conditions, the light, and the wind direction. Every time we make a move we will let you know why. When you head home being able to apply what you’ve learned on your home turf will prove to be invaluable.

This workshop includes 3 morning and 3 afternoon photography sessions, an inspirational introductory slide program after dinner on your own on Saturday, 11/21, all lunches, and after-lunch digital workflow, Photoshop, and image critiquing sessions.

There is never a strict itinerary on a Bosque IPT as each day is tailored to the local conditions at the time and to the weather. We are totally flexible in order to maximize both the photographic and learning opportunities. We are up early each day leaving the hotel by 5:30 am to be in position for sunrise. We usually photograph until about 10:30am. Then it is back to Socorro for lunch and then a classroom session with the group most days. We head back to the refuge at about 3:30pm each day and photograph until sunset. We will be photographing lots of Snow Geese and lots of Sandhill Cranes with the emphasis on expanding both your technical skills and your creativity.

A $449 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 7/25/2015. If you cancel and the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. 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. Whether or not your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris.”) You can also leave your deposit with a credit card by calling the office at 863-692-0906. 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.


bosque-cardlarger

In 2015, we are offering a 3-DAY IPT before Thanksgiving and a 4-DAY IPT after the holiday. You can attend either and spend Thanksgiving Day with your family. Sign up for both and we will be glad to apply a $100 discount to your balance.

We know that there are lots of less costly workshops being offered these days. Please remember that you get exactly what you pay for. If you want the finest in photographic instruction and want to be assured of being in the right spot at exactly the right time, do join us.

Bosque del Apache 2015 BIRDS AS ART/A Creative Adventure Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT). 4-DAY IPT: (three full and two 1/2 DAYS) NOV 28-DEC 2, 2015. $1499. Two great leaders: Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris. Meet and greet at 3pm on SAT NOV 28 followed by an afternoon photo session at the crane pools and the introductory slide program after dinner on your own.

Tens of thousands of Snow Geese, 10,000 Sandhill Cranes, ducks, amazing sunrises, sunsets, and blast-offs. Live, eat, and breathe photography with two of the world’s premier photographic educators at one of their very favorite photography locations on the planet. Top-notch in-the-field and Photoshop instruction. This will make 21 consecutive Novembers at Bosque for artie. This will be denise’s 7th workshop at the refuge. Nobody knows the place better than artie does. Join us to learn to think like a pro, to recognize situations and to anticipate them based on the weather, especially the sky conditions, the light, and the wind direction. Every time we make a move we will let you know why. When you head home being able to apply what you’ve learned on your home turf will prove to be invaluable.

This workshop includes 4 afternoon (11/28through 12/1), 4 morning (11/29 to 12/2) photography sessions, an inspirational introductory slide program after dinner on your own on Saturday, 11/28, all lunches, and after-lunch digital workflow, Photoshop, and image critiquing sessions.

There is never a strict itinerary on a Bosque IPT as each day is tailored to the local conditions at the time and to the weather. We are totally flexible in order to maximize both the photographic and learning opportunities. We are up early each day leaving the hotel by 5:30 am to be in position for sunrise. We usually photograph until about 10:30am. Then it is back to Socorro for lunch and then a classroom session with the group most days. We head back to the refuge at about 3:30pm each day and photograph until sunset. We will be photographing lots of Snow Geese and lots of Sandhill Cranes with the emphasis on expanding both your technical skills and your creativity.

A $599 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 7/25/2015. If you cancel and the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. 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. Whether or not your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris.”) You can also leave your deposit with a credit card by calling the office at 863-692-0906. 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.

Facebook

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

Support the BAA Blog. Support the BAA Bulletins: Shop B&H here!

We want and need to keep providing you with the latest free information, photography and Photoshop lessons, and all manner of related information. Show your appreciation by making your purchases immediately after clicking on any of our B&H or Amazon Affiliate links in this blog post. Remember, B&H ain’t just photography!

…..

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use this link:

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. Many thanks to those who have written.

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 :).