Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
January 16th, 2021

ILE GBH-Scape: Color or Black and White?

What’s Up?

I got some nice stuff on Sandhill Cranes on Friday morning. My favorite was mildly backlit, with a shaded foggy-water-with-all-dark tree-reflections background. Then I drove to the North Field, put on my heavy-duty waders, got out the loppers, and opened up a nice viewing window for my sunset photography. The sunset looked promising at first but soon fizzled.

Thanks to all who purchased The Art of Flower Photography by Denise Ippolito and yours truly based on what they read in yesterday’s Canon EOS R5 Multiple Exposure blog post here.

I got my Canon EOS R5, RF 100-500, and RF 1.4X teleconverter via 2nd-day air Fed-Ex from Steve Elkins at Bedfords yesterday afternoon. I’ve been back to swimming every day. I’ve increased my workout slowly over the past few weeks from 44 to 50 lengths (88 lengths to the mile). I’ve also ordered the standard adapter so that I can use my RF with my Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 macro lens. And one extra battery.

The forecast for the next few days is for variably cloudy skies with brisk northwest winds. Though such conditions are NTG for morning bird photography, I will be heading down to the lake twice every day.

I have a Zoom meeting with Patrick Sparkman set up for today — Saturday 16 January 2020 — to iron out one last detail for the RawDigger e-Guide. I am confident that we will be publishing the final version no later than this-coming Wednesday. At least that is the plan 🙂

This blog past makes twenty-seven days in a row with a new blog post. This one took about 1 1/2 hours to prepare (including the time spent on the post-processing). Please remember …

Please Remember

With income from IPTs approaching zero, please, if you enjoy and learn from the blog, remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so just might make it possible for me to avoid having to try to get a job as a Walmart greeter and will not cost you a single penny more. And if you use Bedfords and remember to enter the BIRDSASART code at checkout, you will save 3% on every order and enjoy free second-day air shipping. In these crazy times — I am out at least forty to sixty thousand dollars so far due to COVID 19 (with lots more to come) — remembering to use my B&H link or to shop at Bedfords will help me out a ton and be greatly appreciated. Overseas folks who cannot order from the US because of import fees, duties, and taxes can always help out by clicking here if they see fit.

The RawDigger e-Guide by Arthur Morris with Patrick Sparkman

RawDigger e-Guide and Video Advance Copy Available

Save $10 Now

The RawDigger e-Guide and Video is almost finished. It will sell for $51.00. If you are anxious to get started with RawDigger, learn to mega-Expose to the Right, and wind up with the highest quality image files, you can save $10.00 and have a chance to review a pre-publication copy of the guide by sending a PayPal for $41.00 to birdsasart@verizon.net with the words RawDigger e-Guide and Video Pre-publication Copy cut and pasted into the Subject line. The recent delay is the result of my recent conversations with Iliah Borg, the brains behind RawDigger. It is very likely that the Shock-your-World section will shock you.

In the new guide, we teach you why the GREEN channel is almost always the first to over-expose. We teach you how to interpret the Max G values. And most recently, we teach you a simple way to evaluate your exposures using an adapted RawDigger histogram. And tons more, of course. I am planning on having the RawDigger guide ready for sale by next Monday. Folks who saved $10.00 by pre-ordering will of course receive a link to the final PDF.

132 sold to rave reviews.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide (and Videos)

Click here to purchase the guide with one Camera Set-up Video. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your camera body so that we can send you a link for the correct video.

Click here to purchase the guide with two Camera Set-up Videos. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your two camera bodies so that we can send you links for the correct videos.

Click here to learn more about the SONY e-Guide.

Folks who have used my B&H affiliate links or purchased their SONY gear are invited to e-mail for discount information.

Great Topaz News!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plugins) will receive a 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Topaz Stuff

As I said just a while back and have said often many times before, I should have listened sooner. If you, like me, are new to the Topaz party, please use this link to purchase. Right now I can wholeheartedly recommend both Topaz Sharpen AI and Topaz DeNoise AI. Though I have not yet worked with JPEGtoRAW AI or Gigapixel AI, I have installed both of these plug-ins and look forward to trying them on some I-Phone 11 images fairly soon. If you are thinking like me, consider the Utility Bundle that includes all four plug-ins mentioned above at a money-saving price.

Again, those who purchase Sharpen AI or DeNoise AI using my link, can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. I had a bit of trouble getting the two plug-ins installed and having them appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu. In addition, I will explain how to best learn about the two plug-ins by applying them on a Layer (in Photoshop).

New and Better Bedfords Discount Policy!

You can now save 3% on all of your Bedfords photo gear purchases by entering the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. Your discount will be applied to your pre-tax total. In addition, by using the code you will get 2nd day air shipping via Fed Ex.

Grab a Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and save $14.99. Purchase a Canon EOS R5 and your discount will be $116.97. Purchase a Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and save a remarkable $389.94! Your Bedford’s purchase no longer needs to be greater than $1,000.00 for you to receive a discount. The more you spend, the more you save.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would enjoy free overnight shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Central time). Be sure to mention the BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order to save 3% and enjoy free 2nd-day air shipping. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H and everywhere else. The wait lists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard to get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a9 ii, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and eager to please.



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.

This image was created on the morning of 11 January 2021 a the north end of the North Field at Indian Lake Estates. Working from my SUV, I used the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 266mm) and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 1600. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/640 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode; RawDigger showed that the raw file was about 1/3 stop too dark. AWB at 8:59am on cloudy morning.

Expand Tracking Flexible Spot/AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly.

Click on the image to see a larger and inexplicably sharper version.

Image #1: Great Blue Heron at edge of canal

GBH-Scape

I am not even sure why I took this image as it is the complete antithesis of my usual style — clean, tight, and graphic with butter-smooth backgrounds. Strangely, I like this detail-rich image. If you like it, please leave a comment explainig why. Maybe it will help me understand why I like it.

I rested the lens on the lowered car window and was a bit careless — the image needed 4.01 degrees of counter-clockwise rotation. Using the Ruler Tool (keyboard shortcut R), I drew a line from the bird’s eye to the reflection of the eye and hit Command + / (my personalized keyboard shortcut for Image > Rotate > Arbitrary). The latter is one of my very favorite shortcuts.

I ran DeNoise AI on Auto and Sharpen AI on Auto on the whole image after it was leveled and cropped. I like to crop before bringing an image into DeNoise (or Sharpen) as that helps speed up the Topaz renderings just a bit as the plug-in has fewer pixels to work on.

Click on the image to see a larger and inexplicably sharper version.

Image #2: Great Blue Heron at edge of canal black & white

Black and White

My go-to black and white plug-in is NIK Color Efex Pro. I usually go with either 004 — High Contrast (smooth) or with 003- Wet Rocks. With this image, however, I opted for 001 — Underexposed (EV -1). Why? It is hard to put my finger on anything specific, it simply looked best to me. It was the first time I had ever chosen that particular pre-set.

Multiple Choice/Fill-in Color or B&W Quiz

1- I liked the color version best because __________________________.

2- I liked the B&W version best because __________________________.

3- I liked each image about the same.

4- You should have deleted both of them because __________________________.

The last time I ran such a quiz, not a single reader bothered to answer. Maybe the second time will be the charm..

Whatever you think, I think that either the color version or the B&W would make a great jigsaw puzzle …

The BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide

You can purchase your copy here in the BAA Online Store.

The BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide

126 pages, 87 photographs by Joe Przybyla and Arthur Morris.
The PDF for this e-Guide is an electronic download sent via e-mail.

Purchase your copy here in the BAA Online Store.

I had thought about doing a guide to some of the great but little-known photo hotspots around central Florida for about a decade, but those plans never came to fruition. I met Joe online in the Avian Forum at BirdPhotographer’s.Net about two years ago. Joe’s photography has improved tremendously over the past few years; he credits the BAA blog, my books and PDFs, and his participation on BPN. The one thing that I learned right from the get-go about Joe is that he is a hard and tenacious worker, always striving to improve his skills and to grow his knowledge base. As he knew of more than a few good spots in central Florida, I broached the idea of us doing a photographic site guide that covered many of the little-known photographic hotspots from Brandon to Lakeland to Joe Overstreet Road to Indian Lake Estates (my Florida home for the past 20 years or so). After more than many, many dozens of hours of effort, The BIRDS AS ART Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide is now a reality. Thanks to Joe’s wife Dottie for her review of our writing. We all learned once again that writing is a process, a back and forth process. All thanks to the white pelicans of Lakeland. Here are the locations that are detailed in this e-Guide:

  • Indian Lake Estates: Sandhills Cranes with chicks and colts, lots of vultures, and Ospreys up the kazoo!
  • Gatorland, Kissimmee: Learn to make great images of wading birds in a cluttered rookery.
  • The Brandon Rookery: Great for nesting Wood Storks, Great Egrets, and more.
  • Circle Bar B Reserve, Lakeland: Here you will find a great variety of avian subjects in a great variety of habitats.
  • Lake Morton, Lakeland: There are lots of silly tame birds here including and especially American White Pelican during the colder months.
  • Lake Mirror, Lakeland: Tame Anhingas, Limpkins, and a zillion White Ibises at times.
  • West Lake Parker, Lakeland: Here you will have a chance for two difficult birds, Snail Kite, and Purple Gallinule.
  • Joe Overstreet Road, Kenansville: Crested Caracara, meadowlarks, Loggerhead Shrike, and many more on the fenceposts and barbed wire. Snail Kites at end of the road!

Each location includes a map, a detailed description of the best spots, best season, light and time of day instructions, the expected species, and an educational and inspirational gallery that is designed to open your eyes as to the possibilities.

You can purchase a copy here in the BAA Online Store.

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors.

January 15th, 2021

Florida Tickseed EOS R5 Multiple Exposures Two Ways

What’s Up?

Thursday morning was same old same old. A few crane images and a few vulture images. I gotta get out of this place 🙂 Last night I went down to the lake to try for some more wading bird landing/reed images. There was some color but not much wind so I did not do too well. But I am learning more about where I need to be so I am sure that I will get a few more winners.

Today is Friday 15 JAN 2021. I peeked out the back door at 7:15am — it was very foggy. By 7:30, the sky in the east was mostly clear. I will be heading down soon.

I was glad to learn this morning of the sale of Mansoor Assadi’s SONY a9. If anyone is interested in purchasing a used SONY a7r iv, please get in touch via e-mail.

This blog past makes twenty-six days in a row with a new blog post. This one took about 2 hours to prepare. Please remember …

Please Remember

With income from IPTs approaching zero, please, if you enjoy and learn from the blog, remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so just might make it possible for me to avoid having to try to get a job as a Walmart greeter and will not cost you a single penny more. And if you use Bedfords and remember to enter the BIRDSASART code at checkout, you will save 3% on every order and enjoy free second-day air shipping. In these crazy times — I am out at least forty to sixty thousand dollars so far due to COVID 19 (with lots more to come) — remembering to use my B&H link or to shop at Bedfords will help me out a ton and be greatly appreciated. Overseas folks who cannot order from the US because of import fees, duties, and taxes can always help out by clicking here if they see fit.

RawDigger e-Guide and Video Advance Copy Available

Save $10 Now

The RawDigger e-Guide and Video is almost finished. It will sell for $51.00. If you are anxious to get started with RawDigger, learn to mega-Expose to the Right, and wind up with the highest quality image files, you can save $10.00 and have a chance to review a pre-publication copy of the guide by sending a PayPal for $41.00 to birdsasart@verizon.net with the words RawDigger e-Guide and Video Pre-publication Copy cut and pasted into the Subject line. The recent delay is the result of my recent conversations with Iliah Borg, the brains behind RawDigger. It is very likely that the Shock-your-World section will shock you.

In the new guide, we teach you why the GREEN channel is almost always the first to over-expose. We teach you how to interpret the Max G values. And most recently, we teach you a simple way to evaluate your exposures using an adapted RawDigger histogram. And tons more, of course. I am planning on having the RawDigger guide ready for sale by next Monday. Folks who saved $10.00 by pre-ordering will of course receive a link to the final PDF.

Canon R5/R6 AF e-Guide Info

So far, 70 folks have sent PayPals for their copy of the Canon R5/R6 AF e-Guide. And 28 who used my affiliate links to purchase their R5 have e-mailed for and received their free copy of the guide. If you e-mailed or sent a PayPal and did not receive your guide, please LMK immediately via e-mail.

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive so far. Three folks wrote stating that they had a better way of setting up AF on their R5s. When I wrote back explaining why they were in error, two of them back-tracked. One stubborn guy is still doing it his way — less efficiently. Be sure to scroll down to read about my plans for a Canon R5/R6 User’s e-Guide. Understand that the info in the BAA Canon R5/R6 Autofocus e-Guide is so important that I opted to publish the AF guide immediately as the R5/R6 User’s Guide will take at least a month to finish.

BAA Canon R5/R6 Autofocus e-Guide

Twenty-one pages. 3,452 words. 28-DPP4 screen captures showing the R5’s vaunted AF system in action. Note: the AF system of the R5 is identical to the AF system of the R6.

You will learn:

1- The two most useful AF Methods for general bird photography and for birds in flight.

2- How to set up your R5/R6 AF Menus.

3- What boxes to check (and un-check) under Limit AF Methods.

4- How to change the AF Method quickly, easily, and efficiently. Note: the default way of doing this is clunky, cumbersome, and inefficient at best. One person replied that this tip alone was worth the price of admission.

5- The only setting that should be used for Initial Servo AF pt for Face Detection + Tracking.

I you are currently using multiple back buttons either for general bird photography or for birds in flight, what you learn in this guide will change your life. For the better.

Here are the first three paragraphs of this e-Guide:

From the moment I learned about the new Canon mirrorless bodies, I read about using two or three back-buttons to focus using different AF methods. The word on the street said that the way to go for birds in flight was to use one button to acquire focus with Zone AF or with Large Zone: Horizontal AF and then switch to another button to activate Face Detection + Tracking AF and then use the shutter button to make an image. My immediate thought was, “This is insanity! There has got to be a better way.” In short, there is a far superior way to set up AF on your R5 or R6.

Remember that I got away from any form of back-button or rear focusing many years ago after finally realizing that it is always easier to do one thing (press the shutter button), than it is to do two things (press a back button and then press the shutter button).

The default method of switching AF Methods with the R5/R6 bodies is cumbersome at best. It involves first pressing the grid button (my name) on the upper right back of the camera and then pressing the hard-to-access M-Fn button to toggle through the AF Methods. This method is so bad that it will not be mentioned again in this guide.

The guide is free to all who have ordered an R5 or an R6 using my B&H affiliate link or from Steve Elkins/Bedfords using the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. Please send your receipt to me via e-mail. It will take me a few days to a week to verify the B&H purchases. Bedfords folks should expect their free e-Guides fairly quickly.

To purchase your copy of the e-Guide, please send a PayPal for $25.00 to birdsasart@verizon.net and be sure to include the words R5/R6 AF Guide in your PayPal e-mail.

Everyone who gets the guide will receive a free update no later than the first week in January.

Canon R5/R6 User’s e-Guide

I am working on a complete Canon R5/R6 User’s e-Guide. This will require a lot of research, a lot of time, and a lot of effort. I am hoping to have it complete by mid- to late January. As always, folks who use the BAA affiliate links to purchase their Canon gear will receive a substantial discount.

Understand that the info in the BAA Canon R5/R6 Autofocus e-Guide is so important that I opted to publish the AF guide right off the bat to help folks get started with their new camera bodies.

Great Topaz News!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plugins) will receive a 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Topaz Stuff

As I said just a while back and have said often many times before, I should have listened sooner. If you, like me, are new to the Topaz party, please use this link to purchase. Right now I can wholeheartedly recommend both Topaz Sharpen AI and Topaz DeNoise AI. Though I have not yet worked with JPEGtoRAW AI or Gigapixel AI, I have installed both of these plug-ins and look forward to trying them on some I-Phone 11 images fairly soon. If you are thinking like me, consider the Utility Bundle that includes all four plug-ins mentioned above at a money-saving price.

Again, those who purchase Sharpen AI or DeNoise AI using my link, can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. I had a bit of trouble getting the two plug-ins installed and having them appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu. In addition, I will explain how to best learn about the two plug-ins by applying them on a Layer (in Photoshop).

New and Better Bedfords Discount Policy!

You can now save 3% on all of your Bedfords photo gear purchases by entering the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. Your discount will be applied to your pre-tax total. In addition, by using the code you will get 2nd day air shipping via Fed Ex.

Grab a Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and save $14.99. Purchase a Canon EOS R5 and your discount will be $116.97. Purchase a Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and save a remarkable $389.94! Your Bedford’s purchase no longer needs to be greater than $1,000.00 for you to receive a discount. The more you spend, the more you save.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would enjoy free overnight shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Central time). Be sure to mention the BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order to save 3% and enjoy free 2nd-day air shipping. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H and everywhere else. The wait lists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard to get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a9 ii, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and eager to please.



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.

This six-frame in-camera multiple exposure image was created on 2 January 2021 at ILE. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Levered-clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted-Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens (at 500mm) and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 2500: 1/200 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:22am on a cloudy morning.

Manual focus with Focus Peaking.

Image #1: Florida Tickseed six-frame twirl Multiple Exposure

In-camera Multiple Exposures

When I switched from Canon to Nikon four years ago and then from Nikon to Sony two years ago, the two things that I missed most were being able to create in-camera Multiple Exposure (MS) images and in-camera HDR (High Dynamic Range) images. Yes, you can create ME and HDR images after the fact with any camera, but doing so in post-processing requires a ton of work and often separate programs or Photoshop plug-ins. For lazy folks like me these two in-camera features are easy to use and a ton of fun.

Here I created a single raw file that was merged by the camera from six separate raw images. No fuss. No muss. No bother. No Layer Masks. Press the button six times and the camera does the rest. As the original had six stems, I opted to eliminate five of them by working large with a soft Clone Stamp Tool brush. After that, I ran a 65-pixel Gaussian Blur on a separate layer, added an Inverse (Black) Layer Mask and painted in the effect on both sides of the remaining stem to eliminate all traces of any tell-tale clone-stamp marks.

The techniques used to create a variety of Multiple Exposure images (both in-camera and after-the-fact) are covered in detail in The Art of Flower Photography by Denise Ippolito and yours truly. While skimming through the PDF to check on a few things for this blog post, I was stunned by the number and variety of outstanding, creative, artistic images (most but not all of those by Denise). If you are at all into photographing flowers, this e-Book is one to treasure and study.

BAA EOS R5 Camera User’s Guide (in progress)

Setting up an R5 for Multiple Exposure and HDR capture is tricky. The are multiple options for each. To succeed, you need to understand these options and know exactly how to set each sub-menu item so that you can achieve the results that you desire. In the upcoming BAA EOS R5 Camera User’s Guide, you will learn to do just that. Now that I am getting my very own Canon rig, I will be able to get back to work on the guide as soon as I complete the RawDigger e-Guide. At some point, I may offer a pre-publication version at a discount.

This two-frame in-camera multiple exposure image was also created on 2 January 2021 at ILE. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Levered-clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted-Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens (at 500mm) and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 2500: 1/200 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:17am on a cloudy morning.

Manual focus with Focus Peaking.

Image #2: Florida Tickseed two-frame Multiple Exposure sharp/soft blur

Soft/Sharp Blurs

Here I created a single raw file that was merged from two separate images by the camera. Again, no muss, no fuss, no bother. After converting the ME raw file, I converted the sharp raw file from the sequence. On the image, I painted a Quick Mask so that I could grab the sharp flower center and position it perfectly on the Soft/Sharp ME. Again, this technique is detailed in The Art of Flower Photography by Denise Ippolito and yours truly. You can even learn to create a soft/sharp blur from a single sharp image!

Focus Peaking with the R5

Focus Peaking with the EOS R5 is totally different from Focus Peaking with SONY mirrorless bodies. In the BAA EOS R5 Camera User’s Guide (in progress) you will learn how to set up Focus Peaking and how to use it.

Image #2A: Topaz DeNoise AI green capture image

Topaz DeNoise AI on the Florida Tickseed two-frame Multiple Exposure sharp/soft blur image

After converting both raw files in Capture One, I grabbed the sharp flower center and moved it onto the ME soft/sharp blur. Once that was done, I flattened the image, created a new layer, and brought that into DeNoise AI. The Comparison View showed that for this image DeNoise AI was best by far. Be sure to click on the screen capture to see the complete elimination of noise in the flower center.


flower-guide-cover-1200-w

The Art of Flower Photography, a 203 page eBook/a link to the PDF will be sent via e-mail: $29.00.

The Art of Flower Photography

In 2014, I wrote: Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris are proud to announce the publication of The Art of Flower Photography, a 203 page eBook with more than 140 images: $29.00. A link to the PDF will be sent via e-mail. Get yourself a copy today so that you can learn and be inspired by the tour de force of flower photography how-to books. Purchase by clicking here, by calling BIRDS AS ART at 863-692-0906, or by sending a Paypal to us via e-mail.

Notice for i-Pad Users

It is easy to save and access any and all PDF files including The Art of Flower Photography and The Art of Bird Photography II on an i-Pad. Here is a link to a short easily-followed how-to tutorial: i-Pad PDF Tutorial.


flower-guide-dahlia-botanical-print

Dahlia, botanical print. Image copyright 2014: Denise Ippolito/A Creative Adventure.

Simply put, Denise Ippolito is a talented artist.

A Tour de Force

tour de force (ˈto͝or də ˈfôrs/) noun: an impressive performance or achievement that has been accomplished or managed with great skill. “The Art of Flower Photography is a tour de force.”


flower-guide-dahlia

Dahlia, tight portrait. Image copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

Like his bird photographs, artie’s flowers images tend to be clean, tight, and graphic.

The Project

Conceived by Denise Ippolito, six months in the making, The Art of Flower Photography is a summital achievement, the results of many hundreds of hours of effort. Thanks to Carol Carson for her careful review of the manuscript.


flower-guide-index

The Index of The Art of Flower Photography.

What You Will Learn?

In short, you will–as a glance at the eBook’s index above shows, learn everything about flower photography that you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

We cover lens, gear, and accessory selection, in-the-field techniques, image design and composition, understanding and using the light, getting the right exposure, aperture choice and depth-of-field, focusing techniques, and a variety of post processing and Photoshop techniques. Among others.

Part of the strength of this eBook is that though both denise and artie produce beautiful and inspiring images on a consistent basis, they often use different lenses and different techniques to achieve their visions. In The Art of Flower Photography you get to pick the brains of two very fine photographers.


flower-guide-gerbera-daisy

Gerbera Daisy after warping and rotation, Topaz Simplify BuzSim applied. Image copyright 2014: Denise Ippolito/A Creative Adventure.

Denise is as skilled and creative at the computer and in Photoshop as she is in a field of flowers.

Author Backgrounds

Denise Ippolito

Denise has been involved with flowers for much of her life. She is a fifth generation florist who owned and operated a successful flower shop. Subsequently, she then ran first one and then another garden center for the next ten years. Denise has since become a skilled flower photographer; and she has succeeded admirably. Her incredibly creative mind led her to experimenting with both in-the-field techniques and creative post processing effects using Photoshop and several plug-in applications to create the artistic flower renditions that are presented in this eBook.

Arthur Morris

Arthur is a world renowned photographer, and a member of Canon’s “Explorers of Light” program. Although Artie is perhaps best known for his superb bird photography, with thousands of his images gracing the pages of numerous books, magazines, and other publications, he has recently extended his subject matter by redirecting his lenses to capture images of flowers that emphasize their form, pattern, and texture.


tulipa-reknown-flower-center-_a1c4846-keukenhof-lisse-holland

Tulipa Renown. Image copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

On average, artie works with longer focal length lenses than denise. In this new eBook, he shares the techniques that he has developed for using super-telephoto lenses for flower photography. This image was created with the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens that denise owns but rarely uses as she much prefers the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens

The Team

The Art of Flower Photography combines the creative energy, the technical proficiency, and the artistic visions of Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris. Together they form a dynamic teaching team that lectures and conducts seminars and workshops across the country and internationally. They are both multiple award winning photographers who specialize in making world class images of birds, flowers, wildlife, the natural world and Urbex subjects.

The First Review

The first review is in. From Carol Carson via e-mail:

Inspiration and instruction from two experts with different shooting styles–how can you top that? Denise and Artie have produced a must-have addition to the flower photographer’s eLibrary.

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors.

January 14th, 2021

Not a Head Shot! SONY AF Point Display after-the-fact News Coming Soon. And Topaz DeNoise ISO 8000 Magic

What’s Up?

Wednesday was another totally grey day. I walked the pier with the a9 ii/200/600 and created 360 intentionally blurred images. I kept four. None will probably ever see the light of day, or be featured on the blog … Many times when I walk with a zoom lens — be it a SONY lens or the Canon RF 100-500 with the R5, I am working to learn more about the AF system and to fine tune my understanding of exposure …

SONY folks are advised to check out the Coming Soon item just below.

It is partly cloudy here this morning — Thursday 14 January 2021 with light winds from the SW. I hope that it stays cloudy for my walk so I can try some more blurs.

This blog past makes twenty-five days in a row with a new blog post. This one took about 2 1/2 hours to prepare. Please remember …

Please Remember

With income from IPTs approaching zero, please, if you enjoy and learn from the blog, remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so just might make it possible for me to avoid having to try to get a job as a Walmart greeter and will not cost you a single penny more. And if you use Bedfords and remember to enter the BIRDSASART code at checkout, you will save 3% on every order and enjoy free second-day air shipping. In these crazy times — I am out at least forty to sixty thousand dollars so far due to COVID 19 (with lots more to come) — remembering to use my B&H link or to shop at Bedfords will help me out a ton and be greatly appreciated. Overseas folks who cannot order from the US because of import fees, duties, and taxes can always help out by clicking here if they see fit.

SONY AF point display after the fact!

Coming Soon!

We recently learned about an amazing new program that will show SONY AF points (and to a limited degree, the AF info). We hope to be sharing that info with you here soon.

RawDigger e-Guide and Video Advance Copy Available

Save $10 Now

The RawDigger e-Guide and Video is almost finished. It will sell for $51.00. If you are anxious to get started with RawDigger, learn to mega-Expose to the Right, and wind up with the highest quality image files, you can save $10.00 and have a chance to review a pre-publication copy of the guide by sending a PayPal for $41.00 to birdsasart@verizon.net with the words RawDigger e-Guide and Video Pre-publication Copy cut and pasted into the Subject line. The recent delay is the result of my recent conversations with Iliah Borg, the brains behind RawDigger. It is very likely that the Shock-your-World section will shock you.

In the new guide, we teach you why the GREEN channel is almost always the first to over-expose. We teach you how to interpret the Max G values. And most recently, we teach you a simple way to evaluate your exposures using an adapted RawDigger histogram. And tons more, of course. I am planning on having the RawDigger guide ready for sale by next Monday. Folks who saved $10.00 by pre-ordering will of course receive a link to the final PDF.

Great Topaz News!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plugins) will receive a 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Topaz Stuff

As I said just a while back and have said often many times before, I should have listened sooner. If you, like me, are new to the Topaz party, please use this link to purchase. Right now I can wholeheartedly recommend both Topaz Sharpen AI and Topaz DeNoise AI. Though I have not yet worked with JPEGtoRAW AI or Gigapixel AI, I have installed both of these plug-ins and look forward to trying them on some I-Phone 11 images fairly soon. If you are thinking like me, consider the Utility Bundle that includes all four plug-ins mentioned above at a money-saving price.

Again, those who purchase Sharpen AI or DeNoise AI using my link, can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. I had a bit of trouble getting the two plug-ins installed and having them appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu. In addition, I will explain how to best learn about the two plug-ins by applying them on a Layer (in Photoshop).

132 sold to rave reviews.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide (and Videos)

Click here to purchase the guide with one Camera Set-up Video. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your camera body so that we can send you a link for the correct video.

Click here to purchase the guide with two Camera Set-up Videos. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your two camera bodies so that we can send you links for the correct videos.

Click here to learn more about the SONY e-Guide.

Folks who have used my B&H affiliate links or purchased their SONY gear are invited to e-mail for discount information.

New and Better Bedfords Discount Policy!

You can now save 3% on all of your Bedfords photo gear purchases by entering the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. Your discount will be applied to your pre-tax total. In addition, by using the code you will get 2nd day air shipping via Fed Ex.

Grab a Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and save $14.99. Purchase a Canon EOS R5 and your discount will be $116.97. Purchase a Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and save a remarkable $389.94! Your Bedford’s purchase no longer needs to be greater than $1,000.00 for you to receive a discount. The more you spend, the more you save.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would enjoy free overnight shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Central time). Be sure to mention the BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order to save 3% and enjoy free 2nd-day air shipping. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H and everywhere else. The wait lists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard to get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a9 ii, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and eager to please.



Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs (remember those?) 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.

This image was created on 28 October 2020 at Anahuac NWR, TX. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Levered-clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 8000. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/125 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode. AWB at 7:35am on a foggy morning.

Tracking Flexible Spot (M) AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly. Click the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Great Egret and dayflowers bird-scape

The Situation

We arrived at Anahuac early every morning in hopes of photographing the grackle and ibis pre-dawn blast-offs. On the very foggy morning of 28 OCT, I spotted this Great Egret standing still next to a canal near some dayflowers and approached just a bit as I moved to my left. Remember: when it’s dark, keep your teleconverters in your pocket. I went with 1/125 second wide open at f/4 and raised the ISO until I had some Zebras on the subject. RawDigger showed that the raw file was about 2/3 stop too dark — in the SONY e-guide we advice going with lots os Zebras in low light …

Not a Head Shot!

I love clean tight and graphic. And I love head portraits. But, when the wide image includes some interesting habitat (and some nice flowers), small-in-the-frame is the way to go. Not to mention that the birds at the refuge were not at all tame …

Image #1A: Topaz DeNoise AI on Auto

Topaz DeNoise on Auto

The comparison view of this ISO 8000 image clearly showed that DeNoise AI was the most effective option. Be sure to click on the image to see how DeNoise AI cleaned up the noise and brightened and sharpen the image. Please note that white feathers in very soft light will never show much if any fine feather detail (FFD).

The Image Optimization

In the raw file converted with no adjustments you can see a large blue-cast. While converting the image in Capture One, I used click-White Balance to warm up the image and then backed off a bit. I executed the rotation and crop before bringing the image into DeNoise AI. Then I spent a while cleaning up the many distracting elements along the near-shoreline, especially in the lower left portion of the frame. The clean-up was performed using my usual cadre of tools and techniques. Those included the Patch Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, the Clone Stamp Tool, a series of small, transformed Quick Masks modified with Regular Layer Masks, and Divide and Conquer.

Feel free to leave a comment revealing your thoughts on the image clean-up.

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

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. Be sure to specify Digital Basics II.

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

The clean-up techniques mentioned above and tons more great Photoshop tips and techniques (with the exception of Capture One RAW Conversions) — along with all of my personalized Keyboard Shortcuts — 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. While the new e-Guide reflects my MacBook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow, folks using a PC and/or BreezeBrowser will also benefit greatly by studying the material on DB II. 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.

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. Note: all of the videos are now priced at an amazingly low $5.00 each.

You can learn how and why I used to convert all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide here. More recently, I became proficient at converting my Nikon RAW (NEF) files in Adobe Camera Raw. About two years ago I began converting my Nikon and Sony RAW files in Capture One Pro 12 and continue to do so today (along with my R5 images).

To purchase Capture One, please use this link. Then you can learn more about Capture One in the Capture One Pro 12 Simplified MP4 Video here. The next step would be to get a copy of Arash Hazeghi’s “The Nikon Photographers’ Guide to Phase One Capture One Pro e-Guide” in the blog post here.

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 Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and edited by yours truly. Please use this link to purchase NeatImage.

To introduce folks to our MP.4 videos and the basics involved in applying more NeatImage noise reduction to the background and less on the subject, I’d be glad to send you a free copy of the Free Noise Reduction Basics MP.4 Video. Simply click to shoot me an e-mail to get your free copy.

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors.