Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
November 18th, 2017

The Times They May Be a Changing ...

Stuff

Midday on Friday I visited my 62-year old sister Arna in a nursing/rehab home. She is not doing well at all. It is a long story. That afternoon Anita North and I were off to Heckscher State Park where as many as five young Hudsonian Godwits had been hanging out for a month. Last week there were three left, and one of those was seen on Thursday. We had our hopes up and thanks to the kindness of BPN’s Isaac Grant we learned late in the day that the bird had changed parking fields. Alas, we did not find the bird.

On Friday evening there was a big family dinner meeting to discuss Arna’s care, treatment, and finances. Nothing was decided but by the time we all said good night everyone felt very close and loving.

I was thrilled to learn that Gary Wade sold his 400mm f/2.8 L IS Canon lens right after I suggested that a $500 price drop might do the trick. There are still lots of great camera body deals on the Used Gear Page here Do consider joining me on the Early Winter DeSoto IPT. Details below.

The Streak

Today makes one hundred thirteen days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one 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 480 … Good health and good internet connections willing.

Everybody’s Doing It…

Everybody’s buying and selling used gear on the BAA Used Gear Page. Sales of lenses especially have been picking up recently. There are lots of great deals on a variety of camera bodies right now, all with low prices. 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 charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They recently folded. And eBay fees are now in the 13% range. 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 months, we have sold just about 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. Even the prices on the new 600 II and the 200-400 with Internal Extender have been plummeting. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the yellow-orange menu bar at the top of each blog post.

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.

Piping-Plover-worn-juvenile-_W5A9493-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Pinellas-County,-FL-

This image was created at Fort DeSoto on the morning of November 11, 2017 with the Induro GIT304L Grand Series 3 Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and my favorite endangered species camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop as framed: 1/1250 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode. AWB in mostly sunny, very slightly overcast conditions.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -10.

One AF point to the left of the center AF point/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the front part of the faint neck-band pretty much on the same plane as the bird’s eye.

Image #1: Piping Plover, worn juvenile on clean sand beach

Be sure to enjoy an enlarged version by clicking on the image.

The Times They May Be a Changing …

For the past few decades, images like the one above were the apples of my eye: large in the frame subjects, low perspectives, clean and distant backgrounds, sharp focus, and shallow depth of field. Very recently I have begun leaning to smaller in the frame subjects and have come to realize that including some grasses, twigs, pebbles, leaves, or other accoutrements is not the end of the world. See below for a recent example.

Note: Both of today’s images were created while I was sitting behind my lowered tripod.

Image Sharpness

If you are impressed by the sharpness of today’s images, both made at 1200mm, note the AFA value of -10 for my 600 II/2X III TC i, and my main 5D Mark IV body. With a carefully done micro-adjustment, -10 will make quite a substantial difference in the sharpness of your images. Learn more about making accurate LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustments in the log post here.

Piping-Plover-worn-juvenile-walking--_W5A9483-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Pinellas-County,-FL--copy

This image was created at Fort DeSoto on the morning of November 11, 2017 with the Induro GIT304L Grand Series 3 Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and my favorite endangered species off camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop as framed: 1/1250 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode. AWB in mostly sunny, very slightly overcast conditions.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -10.

One AF point to the left of the center AF point/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on middle of the neck band as originally framed, directly behind and on the same place as the bird’s eye.

Image #2: Piping Plover, worn juvenile with turtle grass & ???

Be sure to enjoy an enlarged version by clicking on the image.

The Wider View

Here the bird had moved well left of sun angle but was headed back toward me so I was sitting farther from it than I had been. The bird was foraging along at a good pace in typical plover fashion, step, step, step, stop. I attempted to track him as he was stepping and with this image I succeeded in making a sharp one that included some colorful grasses in the frame. The optimized image above was cropped from three sides: below, left, and above while maintaining the original 3X2 proportion.

The Stronger Image?

Which of today’s two featured images do you feel is the strongest? Why?

DPP4pipl

A DPP 4 Screen Capture for Image #2

A DPP 4 Screen Capture for Image #2

I included the DPP 4 screen capture in today’s blog post for two main reasons:

  • 1- So that you could see the extent of my crop and how I saw the picture within the picture.
  • 2- To show you the placement of the AF point. In an ideal world I would have moved the AF point to the left so as to move the bird back in the frame a bit.

The Image Optimization

After converting the image in DPP 4 and bringing the TIF file into Photoshop I attempted to eliminate the distracting stuff while leaving most of the grasses to convey an accurate sense of place. The moment that I saw the sharp RAW file on my laptop I immediately saw the picture within the picture, the crop from three sides that would leave me with a very nice image.

As is usually the case, I used the Spot Healing Brush, the Patch Tool, a bit of Content Aware Fill, and several small Quick Masks refined by layer masks to do the clean-up work.

DBII-cover

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) will teach you an efficient Mac or PC/Photo Mechanic/Photoshop workflow that will make it easy for you to make your images better in Photoshop (rather than worse). That true whether you convert your images in DPP 4 or ACR. See the blog post here to learn lots more and to read a free excerpt.

You can order your copy from the BAA Online Store here, by sending a Paypal for $40 here, or by calling Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II)

The few things mentioned above (and tons more) are covered in detail in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here. The new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. Do note that you will find the RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing tutorial only in the new e-guide. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

The two most recent and many of the older MP4 Photoshop Tutorial videos releases go hand and hand with the information in DB II):

  • The Wingtip Repairs MP4 Video here.
  • The MP4 Crow Cleanup Video here.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here.

You can 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. And you can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and (NeatImage) Noise Reduction techniques in the The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly.

DeSoto-recent-CARD

Recent Fort DeSoto Images

From bottom left clockwise back to center: Great Egret, blasting sunrise highlights; Black Skimmer, winter plumage in pre-dawn light; Roseate Spoonbill foraging; Brown Pelican, juvenile landing; hybrid heron X egret???; American Oystercatcher feeding; Royal Tern, worn juvenile; Great Blue Heron from below.

You can see a composite of more recent images in the DeSoto Sucked This Past Weekend blog post here.

Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT. 3 1/2 days: $1599

Saturday DEC 2 (afternoon session) through the full day on Tuesday DEC 5, 2017. Meet and Greet Introduction on SAT DEC 2, 2017

With no water in Estero Lagoon, Corkscrew Swamp and Anhinga Trail total busts for many years, and Ding Darling NWR managed into oblivion, Fort DeSoto has emerged as the premier bird photography location in the state. Join me in early winter to escape the cold weather and photograph lots of tame terns, gulls, herons, egrets (including Reddish Egret), shorebirds (including and especially Marbled Godwit), Osprey, and Brown Pelican. Long-billed Curlew, Wood Stork, and Roseate Spoonbill all range somewhere between likely and possible.

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 along with my favorite sunset location (sky conditions permitting). To register call Jim or Jen at the office at 863-692-0906 or shoot me an e-mail.

DeSoto IPT Details

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

Because of the narrow time frame, your $499 non-refundable deposit can be paid not by credit card. Call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906 to register. Your balance must be paid by check once you sign up. The balance check (made out to “BIRDS AS ART) should me mailed to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your balance check. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

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

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 πŸ™‚

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 :).

November 17th, 2017

On the Benefits of Being Truly Ready ...

Stuff

A Bronx Tale was great. Amazing music and a terrific cast, especially the young “C.” As expected, I cried almost from the opening number through the standing ovation. I had seen the movie for the first time a few months back.

Anita North and I met my B&H friends Izzy Flamm, Yosef Brown, and Nat Greenfield, we headed uptown a bit to Le Marais — “a rare( kosher) steakhouse, well done” — for two hours of fine food and wonderful conversation.

Do consider joining me on the Early Winter DeSoto IPT. Details below.

The Streak

Today makes one hundred twelve days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about 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 480 … Good health and good internet connections willing.

Everybody’s Doing It…

Everybody’s buying and selling used gear on the BAA Used Gear Page. Sales of lenses especially have been picking up recently. There are lots of great deals on a variety of camera bodies right now, all with low prices. 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 charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They recently folded. And eBay fees are now in the 13% range. 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 months, we have sold just about 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. Even the prices on the new 600 II and the 200-400 with Internal Extender have been plummeting. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the yellow-orange menu bar at the top of each blog post.

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.

Great-Blue-Heron-w-pinfish-_W5A9596-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Pinellas-County,-FL-

This image was created at Fort DeSoto very early (7:06am) on the very cloudy morning of November 12, 2017 with the Induro GIT304L Grand Series 3 Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and my favorite GBH photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 3200. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops off the grey sky: 1/500 sec. at f/4.0 in Manual mode. AWB in cloudy dark, completely overcast conditions.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -2.

Center Large Zone/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The system selected two AF points, one directly above the other, that fell on the bird’s upper and lower neck, right on the same plane as the bird’s eye.

Great Blue Heron with greenback (thread herring)

Be sure to enjoy an enlarged version by clicking on the image.

On Being Ready

It pays to check your camera body and lens (or camera bodies and lenses) as you head out for a photo session. You should be 100% sure of the following:

  • Camera on with fresh battery and clean card.
  • RAW capture
  • AF switch set to AF (not M!)
  • AI Servo AF
  • AF Area Selection mode: AF expand (with the center AF point) for horizontals, Upper Large Zone AF for both vertical orientations
  • Shutter button or rear button AF
  • Shooting mode (almost always Manual or Av)
  • Full or not full focusing range (the former for close subjects, the latter for flight and distant subjects)
  • ISO (this is totally dependent on the weather and sky conditions)
  • Chosen aperture and exposure compensation (or shutter speed and exposure compensation if in Tv mode)
  • 2-second timer off
  • High speed frame rate
  • IS set to Mode 2

If I left anything out, please leave a comment.

My Thinking …

As there was a big feeding spree going on, it looked as if Noel and I would be concentrating at first on Sandwich Terns in flight. As it was so dark, I set the ISO to 3200 so that at +2 2/3 stops I could get to 1/500 second (at f/4). As we approached the beach I noticed a GBH with a live fish off to our left and called it out. As we approached, I switched from center AF Expand to center large zone, confident that 1/500 sec. at f/4 would be perfect; even though the heron was darker overall than the terns, the silvery fish was very bright. The bird was standing by an ugly pile of grass so I made three images, checked the exposure — well to the right with no blinkies — and approached the bird slowly. That had the desired effect; the bird walked slowly away from me and then turned back into the wind so that it was perfectly square to the back of the camera, just as I had planned πŸ™‚

I acquired focus and fired off three quick frames. Then the bird swallowed the fish and resumed hunting. I got really, really lucky with the third frame as the bird had its bill open with the fish in am almost perfect position. (Completely in midair would have been absolutely perfect.)

Notice …

Notice that by being well prepared, knowing the settings on my camera, being sure of the correct exposure in advance, and by correctly analyzing the bird’s behavior, I was able to get the shot. Had I done a single thing wrong or if I needed to fiddle with this or that, I would have been up the proverbial creek without a good image.

The Before and After NeatImage Noise Reduction

The noise on the correctly exposed RAW (CR.2) file was not bad at all for ISO 3200. The noise reduction settings in my 5D Mark IV ISO 3200 recipe took care of the color noise and some of the luminance noise. As expected and as you can see above, NeatImage noise reduction dealt with the remaining luminance noise beautifully without messing with the detail. Do understand that our eyes often perceive noise as detail. With the light-toned noise free background I did not need to select the bird and was able to do a fast and dirty NeatImage noise reduction (that as detailed in here, by sending a Paypal for $40 DB II.

DBII-cover

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) will teach you an efficient Mac or PC/Photo Mechanic/Photoshop workflow that will make it easy for you to make your images better in Photoshop (rather than worse). That true whether you convert your images in DPP 4 or ACR. See the blog post here to learn lots more and to read a free excerpt.

You can order your copy from the BAA Online Store here, by sending a Paypal for $40 here, or by calling Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II)

The few things mentioned above (and tons more) are covered in detail in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here. The new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. Do note that you will find the RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing tutorial only in the new e-guide. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

The two most recent and many of the older MP4 Photoshop Tutorial videos releases go hand and hand with the information in DB II):

  • The Wingtip Repairs MP4 Video here.
  • The MP4 Crow Cleanup Video here.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here.

You can 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. And you can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and (NeatImage) Noise Reduction techniques in the The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly.

DeSoto-recent-CARD

Recent Fort DeSoto Images

From bottom left clockwise back to center: Great Egret, blasting sunrise highlights; Black Skimmer, winter plumage in pre-dawn light; Roseate Spoonbill foraging; Brown Pelican, juvenile landing; hybrid heron X egret???; American Oystercatcher feeding; Royal Tern, worn juvenile; Great Blue Heron from below.

You can see a composite of more recent images in the DeSoto Sucked This Past Weekend blog post here.

Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT. 3 1/2 days: $1599

Saturday DEC 2 (afternoon session) through the full day on Tuesday DEC 5, 2017. Meet and Greet Introduction on SAT DEC 2, 2017

With no water in Estero Lagoon, Corkscrew Swamp and Anhinga Trail total busts for many years, and Ding Darling NWR managed into oblivion, Fort DeSoto has emerged as the premier bird photography location in the state. Join me in early winter to escape the cold weather and photograph lots of tame terns, gulls, herons, egrets (including Reddish Egret), shorebirds (including and especially Marbled Godwit), Osprey, and Brown Pelican. Long-billed Curlew, Wood Stork, and Roseate Spoonbill all range somewhere between likely and possible.

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 along with my favorite sunset location (sky conditions permitting). To register call Jim or Jen at the office at 863-692-0906 or shoot me an e-mail.

DeSoto IPT Details

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

Because of the narrow time frame, your $499 non-refundable deposit can be paid not by credit card. Call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906 to register. Your balance must be paid by check once you sign up. The balance check (made out to “BIRDS AS ART) should me mailed to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your balance check. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

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

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 πŸ™‚

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 :).

November 16th, 2017

Catching Up Times Three: Coot, Pickerelweed, and Marbled Godwit

Stuff

It is 9:28am on Wednesday November 15 as I put the finishing touches on this blog post. I am on the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) on the way to Penn Station to see the new Broadway musical “A Bronx Tale.” Going to visit my friends at B&H on Thursday to celebrate $5,000,000+ in BAA affiliate sales. Mazel tov to all concerned. No swimming for me till I get back to ILE and 25 NOV.

Do consider joining me on the Early Winter DeSoto IPT. Details below.

This Just In

It is now 5:47am on Thursday November 16, 2017. I just spent almost an hour responding to the many comments in the Answers please: a-, b-, & c … blog post here. Even if you did not leave a comment there it would behoove the serious students to give it all a careful read. I will comment on the generalities in a future blog post.

ps: A Bronx Tale was fabulous!

The Streak

Today makes one hundred eleven days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about 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 480 … Good health and good internet connections willing.

Everybody’s Doing It…

Everybody’s buying and selling used gear on the BAA Used Gear Page. Sales of lenses especially have been picking up recently. There are lots of great deals on a variety of camera bodies right now, all with low prices. 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 charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They recently folded. And eBay fees are now in the 13% range. 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 months, we have sold just about 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. Even the prices on the new 600 II and the 200-400 with Internal Extender have been plummeting. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the yellow-orange menu bar at the top of each blog post.

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.

American-Coot-running-7D-II-1-4-_Y8A4474--Santee-Lakes,-CA

This image was created on the 2016 San Diego IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and the greatest-ever value in a digital camera body, the 1.6X crop factor Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 800: 1/2500 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB in soft, late afternoon light at 3:59pm.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point fell on the bird’s lower breast above the raised left foot; this was pretty much on the same plane as the coot’s eye.

American Coot running

Multiple Choice Exposure Quiz

In the Ugly as a Coot … And Multiple Choice Exposure Quiz blog post here, I wrote:

Given the lighting conditions as noted in the caption above, which would be the correct EC (exposure compensation) for this image?

A: +1 1/3 stops

B: zero (the metered exposure)

C: -1 1/3 stops

Most folks came up with the right choice. Southern Oceans group participant David Peake explained things perfectly when he wrote, The image is overall dark tones so the camera is likely to meter to bring the exposure up. This necessitates a compensation of -1 1/3. Don’t want to blow out those white highlights now.

A few folks thought otherwise. If you had any doubt, you need to study the section on Exposure Theory in The Art of Bird Photography and the section entitled “Exposure Simplified” in The Art of Bird Photography II (on CD). Please call Jim at 863-692-0906to order the downloadable version).

Pickerel-weed-(Pontederia-cordata)-blossom-multi-exposure-_P3A3966-Indian-Lake-Estates,-FL

This 5-frame in-camera multiple exposure was created early on the morning of Thursday, November 9, 2017 down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. I used the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 476mm) and my favorite bird aquatic wildflower photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/160 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode. AWB in bright early morning sunlight with clear skies.

Flexi-zone Single rear button AF in Live View (for mirror lock) with the 2-second-timer. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial.

No LensAlign/FocusTune Micro-adjustment is needed or applied when you focus in Live View via contrast off the sensor.

Pickerelweed, 5-frame multiple exposure

Pickerelweed Multiple Exposure: one frame, five images …

In the Free 5D Mark IV User’s Guide Excerpt. One frame, five pickerelweed images … blog post here, I posted this:

Image Design Question

Why do I wish that I had lowered the position of my lens six inches?

I was surprised that no one came up with the correct answer. By lowering my tripod and thus the position of the lens about six inches, I would have moved the out-of-focus brown strip down in the frame so that it was placed just at the top of the green stem (rather than bisecting the blossom). Yes Eleanor, there would have been more “light green in the background” but you missed the main reason.

Marbled Godwit Straightforward Image Optimization Challenge Results

In the Marbled Godwit Straightforward Image Optimization Challenge Results Offer a Tremendous Opportunity for Learning … blog post here, I posed the following questions.

  • 1-In general, do you prefer the cropped or the un-cropped versions?
  • 2-Do you think that the image needed to be leveled?
  • 3-Which image is a big overexposure?
  • 4-Which image or images have the best beach clean-up?
  • 5-Which image is presented too dark?

My Answers

#1: I far prefer the un-cropped versions. Had you asked me that same question 15 years ago I would surely have said that I preferred the cropped versions. In general, my tastes have changed– matured if you would — to preferring the bird smaller in the frame while including more habitat. Of the cropped versions, Image #7, by Rachel Hollander was my favorite. Rachel is one of the excellent moderators in the Wildlife Forum on BPN.

#2:There is no right answer here as either choice (or somewhere in between) might be correct; there are no firm indications either way. It is simply a matter of personal preference.

#3: Image #9 as presented is the only one that has been processed much too light. There are RGB values in the highlights in the 250s with more than a few 255 readings.

#4: The very best beach clean-ups for me were in Images #2, 10, and 12. Images #13 and 16 were quite good as well but just a tad behind.

#5: Image #18 was the only one processed well too dark.

In a few days, I will post a short critique each of the submitted images.

aardito_P3A3701-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL-Edit-copy

Image #1

Image #1

AMcL

Image #2

Image #2

eade

Image #3

Image #3

ford

Image #4

Image #4

garymeyer_P3A3701-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

Image #5

Image #5

hlevesqueGodwit-1

Image #6

Image #6

hollander

Image #7

Image #7

hpine

Image #8

Image #8

JfriedGodwit_jaf-1

Image #9

Image #9

BobJones

Image #10

Image #10

khice

Image #11

Image #11

marbledgodwit_stambaugh

Image #12

Image #12

Marc-Van-Daele_P3A3701-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL_PostprocessingByMarcVanDaele

Image #13

Image #13

MMor

Image #14

Image #14

thill

Image #15

Image #15

NHGodwit

Image #16

Image #16

rafael

Image #17

Image #17

MECK

Image #18

Image #18

DeSoto-recent-CARD

Recent Fort DeSoto Images

From bottom left clockwise back to center: Great Egret, blasting sunrise highlights; Black Skimmer, winter plumage in pre-dawn light; Roseate Spoonbill foraging; Brown Pelican, juvenile landing; hybrid heron X egret???; American Oystercatcher feeding; Royal Tern, worn juvenile; Great Blue Heron from below.

You can see a composite of more recent images in the DeSoto Sucked This Past Weekend blog post here.

Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT. 3 1/2 days: $1599

Saturday DEC 2 (afternoon session) through the full day on Tuesday DEC 5, 2017. Meet and Greet Introduction on SAT DEC 2, 2017

With no water in Estero Lagoon, Corkscrew Swamp and Anhinga Trail total busts for many years, and Ding Darling NWR managed into oblivion, Fort DeSoto has emerged as the premier bird photography location in the state. Join me in early winter to escape the cold weather and photograph lots of tame terns, gulls, herons, egrets (including Reddish Egret), shorebirds (including and especially Marbled Godwit), Osprey, and Brown Pelican. Long-billed Curlew, Wood Stork, and Roseate Spoonbill all range somewhere between likely and possible.

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 along with my favorite sunset location (sky conditions permitting). To register call Jim or Jen at the office at 863-692-0906 or shoot me an e-mail.

DeSoto IPT Details

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

Because of the narrow time frame, your $499 non-refundable deposit can be paid not by credit card. Call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906 to register. Your balance must be paid by check once you sign up. The balance check (made out to “BIRDS AS ART) should me mailed to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your balance check. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

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

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 πŸ™‚

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 :).