Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
April 24th, 2017

500 II Over 600 II? Multiple Stimuli ... And a Fantastic Content Aware Fill Keyboard Shortcut

What’s Up?

I had a bit of excitement on Friday evening when I noticed phone calls on my cell from each of my two daughters just minutes apart. I knew that the news was not that my Mom had died because that was last week. I got Jen and she told me that her husband Erik was at my house working to minimize the fuel available around my home in case the fire got to my street. Erik is the biologist at Lake Kissimmee State Park and part of his land management work is prescribed fire so he is quite familiar with brush fires. When he had to leave, a section of fire was raging just two blocks from my house in Indian Lake Estates. I was strangely calm. I had learned at the School for the Work in March that either my house would burn down or it would not burn down. I was not worried at all because there was not a thing that I could do. That night I actually made a list of the good things that would result from my home burning down. Number one on the list was that I would not have to deal with getting my 1DX II replaced due to the oil spatter on the sensor problem 🙂

News reports that night and early the next morning were sketchy at best. By mid-morning there were confirmed reports that no homes were damaged by the 700 acre fire that burned with flames 40-60 feet high. Only a maintenance yard and a shed had been damaged. I drove around a bit tonight and was amazed to see many home standing intact while their entire block had been consumed by the fire. Kudos to the 200 folks who eventually got the fire under control and saved every dwelling. The firefighters were from Polk County Fire Rescue, from the Florida Forest Service, and from more than a few fire stations from Polk and surrounding counties.

I am grateful that the universe was kind to me. In retrospect, my son-in-law Erik said on the phone on Sunday night that he was totally amazed that no homes were lost.

I was glad to learn yesterday that Christopher Loffredo is signing up for the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. There is only about a week left to pull the trigger on this great trip. See the details on that just below.


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.

Please Don’t Forget …

As always–and folks have been doing a really great for a long time now–please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results, use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

Important Notice

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Monday July 3 through Wednesday July 12, 2017: $5999 + $1499: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 5). All who register will be required to join the (really cheap) two-day Gannet/Bass Rock Add-on. See below for details.

I will likely need to close registration for the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT/Bass Rock Add-on ($1499) on May 1 as I need to finalize the cottage reservations.

tim-grey-LR

Lightroom Offer

As you may know by personal experience, many photographers have made a mess of their catalogs in Adobe Lightroom. (Please note: those are Tim Grey’s words not mine. 🙂 Tim Grey is offering a video course that can help! BAA blog folks can enjoy a 40% discount on his “Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom” bundle of video training courses. There are more than five hours of content in the “Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom” video course, plus more than four hours of additional video content in bonus courses that are included in the bundle. We are also producing a series of webinar presentations exclusively for those enrolled in this bundle. The normal price is $99 for the full bundle, but you can get the bundle for only $59 by clicking here or on the logo-link above.

With this course you’ll learn how to:

  • Merge multiple catalogs into a single “master” catalog
  • Locate (and reconnect) missing folders and photos
  • Consolidate and reorganize your folders
  • Resolve metadata mismatches

Learn my thoughts on Lightroom here. Be sure to read all the comments. As most of you know, I have never used Lightroom …

Marbled-Godwit-calling-_W5A4754-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Tierra,-Verde,-FL

This image was created on the third morning of the 2017 Desoto Spring IPT with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and my very favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop in early morning light: 1/400 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -5.

A single AF point four to the right and one up from the center AF point/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected point caught the upper right corner of the bird’s eye.

Marbled Godwit in breeding plumage calling

500 II Over 600 II

The 500 II has several advantages over the 600 II. It is more than 1 1/2 pounds lighter and its smaller size and bulk make it easier to travel with and easier to handle in the field. With my right shoulder still hurting, it was the clear choice for my on Saturday morning. And with the 2X, I still have lots of reach. In addition, the 500 II focuses more than 2 feet, 7 inches closer than the 600 II. As a result of it’s closer focusing ability, the magnification of 500 II and the 600 II are an identical .15x. That means that if you get to minimum focusing distance with each lens the size of the bird in the frame will be identical. Using excellent stalking skills, staying relatively low and quiet and moving very slowly, I was able to get within 13 feet of the Marbled Godwit featured in today’s blog post.

Multiple Stimuli

I first learned about multiple stimuli in the mid-1980s while photographing shorebirds at one of my soul places, the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, NY. Yup, good old New York City. The young birds in mid-August were a lot easier to approach than July’s returning adults. As a general rule, I would approach by crawling through the mud. With a bit of care it was easy to get within 15-20 feet. But. And this is a very big but: if you hear a plane from JFK approaching or an A or C train getting louder just to the east or even a loud truck rumbling by on Cross Bay Boulevard just to the west, you had better freeze. If there were no people around the planes or the trains or the trucks would not bother the birds a bit. But if something loud comes along when you are moving closer, the birds will often take flight. On Saturday morning lots of folks in the group had gotten close to the birds when a loud boat zoomed by on the Gulf, out of sight but not out of sound. The birds became alarmed and began calling loudly, “ger WIT, ger WIT (from which they got their name). The small flock did not fly and I snapped off two frames of the calling bird that was closest to me. I did not think that I had a sharp one as the birds lean forward as they call. And at 1/400 sec. I thought that there would be at least some motion blur. I am glad to say that I was wrong on both counts 🙂

Usually, not being aware of multiple stimuli can hurt you by causing the birds to fly. But in this instance, it turned out to be helpful.

Fantastic Content Aware Fill Keyboard Shortcut

As I mentioned the other day, I have been using Content Aware Fill more and more recently and continue to be impressed with the continued improvements with this tool in recent versions of Photoshop CC. I have always thought that I would use it more if there were a viable keyboard shortcut. In my copy of Photoshop CC, Version 2017.0.1, the default keyboard shortcut, Shift F5, does not work on my Mac. During a Photoshop session on the DeSoto IPT participant Ed Blanton suggested that I try Shift Delete. Bingo! I was thrilled. I used the Patch Tool to make my selection and then hit Shift F5 and OK and I am good to go. Working large with today’s image, I used the Shift F5 keyboard shortcut several times when working on the nares (nostril’s). It is so, so much better and faster than having to select Fill from the dropdown menu under Edit and then having to hit OK that it is hard to believe.

Thanks to Ed I will be using Content Aware Fill a lot more in the future. Thank you sir for sharing.

If you have another Content Aware Fill keyboard shortcut that works for you, please leave a comment and share, especially if you are on a PC.

The Image Optimization

First I converted the RAW file in DPP 4 (see the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide) and brought the image into Photoshop. To clean the small bit of crud from the upper bill I first cleaned the playing field with the Spot Healing Brush followed up by lots of (very small) Patch Tool work. When I got to the nares I used Content Aware Fill (Shift delete) several times with success. Then I used small Patch Tools and the Clone Stamp Tool to tidy things up. Once the clean-up was done I applied my 30-30 NIK Color Efex Pro Detail Extractor/Tonal Contrast recipe to the bird only after selecting it with the Quick Selection Tool. As I had saved the selection, I loaded and I inverted it and then applied a 20% opacity Layer of NIK Color Efex Pro White Neutralizer to the sky only. I duplicated the background copy, did a Linear Burn on that layer, applied a Hide All (Inverse or black) Layer Mask and painted in the effect (B, D) as needed on the bird’s chin with a 10% brush.

Pretty much everything that I did with this image is detailed in my Digital Basics File, an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete (former PC) 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, the basics of using BreezeBrowser and Downloader Pro, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs, Dodge and Burn, a variety of other ways of making selections, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.

Learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. You can learn to apply Neat Image noise reduction in The Professional Photographers Guide to Post Processing.

I am currently working on an all new BAA Current Workflow e-guide that will better reflect my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. It will include a section on ACR conversions and a simplified method of applying Neat Image noise reduction. Today’s image did not need any noise Reduction.


uk-puffins-card-ii-layers

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Monday July 3 through Wednesday July 12, 2017: $5999 + $1499: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 4).
All who register will be required to join the (really cheap) two-day Gannet/Bass Rock Add-on. See below for details. See below for details.

Here are the plans: take a red eye from the east coast of the US on July 2 and arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Monday July 3 no later than 10am (or simply meet us then at the Edinburgh Airport–EDI, or later in the day at our cottages if you are driving your own vehicle either from the UK or from somewhere in Europe). Stay 7 nights in one of three gorgeous modern country cottages.

There are five days of planned puffin/seabird trips and one morning of gannet photography, all weather permitting of course. In three years we have yet to miss an entire day because of weather… In addition, we will enjoy several sessions of photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level.


uk-puffins-card-iii-layers

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The Details

We will get to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet; Arctic, Sandwich, and Common Terns, the former with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks. We will be staying in upscale country-side lodging that are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with a private bathroom. See the limited single supplement info below.

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. All 5 puffins boat lunches will need to be prepared by you in advance, taken with, and consumed at your leisure. I usually eat mine on the short boat trip from one island to the other. Also included is a restaurant lunch on the gannet boat day.

If you wish to fly home on the morning of Monday July 10 we will get you to the airport. Please, however, consider the following tentative plans: enjoy a second Gannet boat trip on the afternoon of Monday July 10 and book your hotel room in Dunbar. If all goes as planned, those who stay on for the two extra days will make a morning landing at Bass Rock, one of the world’s largest gannetries. We will get everyone to the airport on the morning of Wednesday July 12.

Great News on the UK Puffins and Gannets/Bass Rock Extension

On the morning of Jul 10, 2017, we will sleep late and head up to Dunbar Harbor for lunch and an afternoon Gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. One gannet boat trip is included in the IPT but everyone always wants more.

Then, as a possible mega bonus — we are scheduled to make a Bass Rock landing on the morning of Tuesday July 12, 2017. I am hoping to go two for two! If not, we do another chumming trip for flying gannets.

Included will be two nights lodging at the wonderful Dunsmuir hotel, two fine dining meals there, any additional meals, all boat, guide, and landing fees, and all transportation including the early morning transfer to the Edinburg Airport on the morning of WED July 12.

So far all five sign-ups are maximizing their travel dollars by signing up for the extension in part because I priced it so cheaply at $1499 despite my greatly increased costs.


uk-puffins-card-i

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version. Scroll down to join us in the UK in 2016.

Deposit Info

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome–please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on March 29, 2017. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. 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. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Deposit Info

Single supplement rooms are available on a limited basis. To ensure yours, please register early. The single supplement fee is $1575. If you would like your own room, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement; your single supplement deposit check should be for $3,575. As we will need to commit to renting the extra space, single supplement deposits are non-refundable so please be sure that check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check of running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print careful even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.



Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

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

Typos

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

April 22nd, 2017

Mr. Snazzy, Bill Clean-up Quiz, & Is It Worth It?

What’s Up?

The DeSoto IPT is going great guns. We have enjoyed great weather and great birds and great lunches at a nearby Applebees. Our ridiculously cooperative subjects have included Great Blue Heron, Reddish Egret, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Royal and Sandwich Terns, Laughing and Ring-billed Gulls, and dozens of tame shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Short-billed Dowitcher, Dunlin, and Least Sandpiper.


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.

Please Don’t Forget …

As always–and folks have been doing a really great for a long time now–please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

Selling Your Used 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 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 right side of the yellow-orange menu bar above.

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from Gerry Keshka

Hi Artie, I wanted to share how much I appreciate your Used Gear “service.” You have posted how you help sellers, but the other side of the equations is how much this service helps buyers. I have purchased three lenses (Canon 200-400, 500 f4 II, and 70-200 F2.8) all lovely experiences and I saved almost $5K over retail. Each of the sellers was delightful, willing to help me assess if the purchase was right for me by sharing their experience with the lens. Each lens was in the condition advertised (or better), and typically included several “add-ons” that would have cost several hundred dollars.

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from Sandra Calderbank

Hi Artie, I wanted to take a few minutes to thank you. I have sold two camera bodies on your BAA used gear site. Your friendly expertise and knowledgeable, trustworthy buyers have made this an extremely satisfying experience. Selling on BAA Used Gear page is the best transaction experience I have ever encountered. Thank you for all you do for our photography community. Sincerely, Sandra

Recent Successful Used Gear Sales
Big Ticket Items Selling Like Hotcakes on the Used Gear Page in April!

  • KW McCulloch sold his Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS lens with Internal 1.4X Extender in excellent plus condition for $8294 in mid-April.
  • Stan Hoyt sold his Canon 500mm f4L IS USM Super Telephoto lens in like-new condition (with extras) for the great low price of $3899 soon after it was listed in mid-April.
  • Leonard Malkin sold his Canon EF 70-200mm f2/.8 L IS lens excellent condition for $899 in mid-April, 2017.
  • Paul Abravaya sold his Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO II lens in excellent condition for $5,799 soon after it was re-listed in mid-April.
  • David R. Gibson sold a Canon 300mm f/4 L IS USM lens in excellent plus condition for $749 in March, 2017.
  • Good friend and multiple IPT veteran Indranil Sircar sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III in near-mint condition along with the the Canon BG-11 battery grip for the great low price of $1,579 soon after it was listed in early April.
  • Colin Haase sold his Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for a the BAA record-low price of $9,497 just minutes after I featured it in the blog under the heading “I Cannot Believe that this one has not sold yet …”
  • Steve Traudt helped a friend sell her Canon 500mm f4L IS USM lens in near-mint condition for $3899 in late March, a week after it was listed.
  • Mike Pace sold his Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II in excellent plus condition locally and is sending me a check for 2 1/2% of the original price.
  • BAA friend John Armitage sold his Canon EOS 1D-X in excellent plus condition for $2348 the day it was listed.

New Listings

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Hisham A. is offering a Canon EOS 7D Mark II in excellent plus condition for the BAA record low price of $847. The sale includes all of the stuff that came in the box as well as insured ground shipping to US addresses via major courier.

Please contact Hisham via e-mail or by phone at 720 771 2693 (Eastern time).

Both Patrick Sparkman and I used and loved the 7D Mark II until about two years ago when we both committed to using full frame Canon bodies. We both made some truly great images with it. Two of my three 2016 Nature’s Best honored entries were created with the 7D II, one still, and one video. artie

Wimberley V-2 Tripod Head

Hisham A. is also offering a Wimberley WH-200 Tripod Head in excellent condition for $449. The sale includes insured ground shipping to US addresses via major courier.

Please contact Hisham via e-mail or by phone at 720 771 2693 (Eastern time).

Wimberley V-2 Tripod Head

Hisham A. is also offering a Gitzo Series 4 Systematic 4 Section Long Tripod GT4542LS in excellent condition for $749. The sale includes insured ground shipping to US addresses via major courier.

Please contact Hisham via e-mail or by phone at 720 771 2693 (Eastern time).

Royal-Tern-with-crest-raised

This image was created on the first morning of the 2017 Desoto Spring IPT with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and my very favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -5.

Upper Large Zone/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The system activated two AF points that fell on the bird’s chin, just below the base of the bill, right on the same plane as the bird’s eye.

Royal Tern in mega-breeding plumage with crest raised

Mr. Snazzy

The bird in today’s featured image is surely the neatest, jazziest Royal Tern I have ever seen. The raised jet-blacker than black crest was the icing on a handsome cake.

Bill Clean-up?

What evidence do you see of bill clean up? Please be specific. If you spot evidence of any other Photoshop hanky panky, please leave a comment.

Was It Worth It?

For the past few weeks I have been using my 600 II pretty much with impunity. Things came to a head on Thursday morning. I spotted the tern flock a good ways down the beach. My Wheeleeze made traveling several yards down the beach a snap. But with the birds courting and copulating and moving about I was constantly moving left and right to get perfectly on sun angle. Up and down, left and right. The easiest way to get from A to B quickly is to throw the lens up on your right shoulder. So that is what I have been doing. When I woke early on Friday morning I quickly noticed that it was difficult to raise my right arm above my waist. I had trashed my right shoulder again. As a concession to old age I headed afield that morning with only the 500 II as my big lens. This afternoon, I plan on dropping down to the 400 DO II.

Was it worth it? Of course!

Wheeleez

This beach cart is so good that I have one in Florida and another on Long Island as you cannot travel by air with one of these. It allows you to bring a ton of gear and accessories to the beach and works great even in soft sand. Learn lots more here.

Add a Milk Plastic Crate

You will need to add a plastic milk crate.


palouse-card-2017layers

Palouse 2016 Horizontals Card

Why Different?

Announcing the 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour

In what ways will the 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour be different from the most other Palouse workshops?

There are so many great locations that a seven-day IPT (as opposed to the typical three- or five-day workshops) will give the group time to visit (and revisit) many of the best spots while allowing you to maximize your air travel dollars. In addition, it will allow us to enjoy a slightly more relaxed pace.

You will be assured of being in the right location for the given weather and sky conditions.

You will learn and hone both basic and advanced compositional and image design skills.

You will learn to design powerful, graphic images.

You will visit all of the iconic locations and a few spectacular ones that are much less frequently visited.

You will learn long lens landscape techniques.

You will learn to master any exposure situation in one minute or less.

You will learn the fine points of Canon in-camera (5D Mark III, 5DS R, and 7D II) HDR techniques.

You will learn to create this look in Photoshop from a single image while winding up with a higher quality image file.

You will be able to share a variety of my exotic Canon lenses including the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM lens and the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens, aka the “circle lens.”

You will learn to use your longest focal lengths to create rolling field and Urbex abstracts.

You will learn when and how to use a variety of neutral density filters to create pleasing blurs of the Palouse’s gorgeous rolling farmlands.

As always, you will learn to see like a pro. You will learn what makes one situation prime and another seemingly similar one a waste of your time.

You will learn to see the situation and to create a variety of top-notch images.

You will learn to use super-wide lenses both for big skies and building interiors.

You will learn when, why, and how to use infrared capture; if you do not own an infrared body, you will get to borrow mine.

You will learn to use both backlight and side-light to create powerful and dramatic landscape images.

You will learn to create the very popular detailed, slightly grungy, slightly over-saturated look in Photoshop.


palouse-2017-card-layers

Palouse 2016 Verticals Card

The 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour
June 8-14, 2017. Seven full days of photography. Meet and greet at 7:30pm on Wednesday, June 7: $2,499. Limit 10/Openings: 7.

Rolling farmlands provide a magical patchwork of textures and colors, especially when viewed from the top of Steptoe Butte where we will enjoy spectacular sunrises and at least one nice sunset. We will photograph grand landscapes and mini-scenics of the rolling hills and farm fields. I will bring you to more than a few really neat old abandoned barns and farmhouses in idyllic settings. There is no better way to improve your compositional and image design skills and to develop your creativity than to join me for this trip. Photoshop and image sharing sessions when we have the time and energy…. We get up early and stay out late and the days are long.

Over the past three years, with the help of my friend Denise Ippolito, we found all the iconic locations and, in addition, lots of spectacular new old barns and breath-taking landforms and vistas. What’s included: In-the-field instruction, guidance, lessons, and inspiration, my extensive knowledge of the area, all lunches, motel lobby grab and go breakfasts, and Photoshop and image sharing sessions. As above, there will be a meet and greet at 7:30pm on the evening before the workshop begins.

To Sign Up

Your non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to hold your spot. Please let me know via e-mail that you will be joining this IPT. Then you can either call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 during business hours to arrange for the payment of your deposit; if by check, please make out to “BIRDS AS ART” and mail it to: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail: artie.

Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options. You can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.



Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

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

Typos

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

April 20th, 2017

The Barely Existent Slot ...

What’s Up?

After a great two-hour introductory program, the Fort DeSoto IPT got off to a horrible start with strong east winds and bright sun … Then things got a bit better but were still difficult. Then the wind shifted 90 degrees and we found a real treasure. Everyone was thrilled. Photo and the complete story to follow.

ps: I awoke at 3:30am on Wednesday morning so that we could make the drive over in time for sunrise at DeSoto. Sunrise was not great with the East wind but one we got on the sunny side of things we killed, especially on Marbled Godwits …


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.

Loving Reminder

B&H re-opened for online ordering last night after the Passover closing. As always–and folks have been doing a really great for a long time now–please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

Snowy-Egret-_P3A2789-Gatorland,-Kissimmee,-FL

This image was created at Gatorland on April 15 with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 560mm) and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 1000. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode (was just a bit of an underexposure). AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: 1.

A single AF point one to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was right on the bird’s left eye.

Snowy Egret in breeding plumage

The Barely Existent Slot …

I had been photographing a pretty open (completely shaded) Great Egret nest with the handheld 100-400 when I noticed this pretty nice snowy in the opposite side of the big bush. At first glance it looked as if there was absolutely no shot, but moving well to my right (and away from the small crowd of photographers) and getting low allowed me to find a tiny opening to the bird, an almost non-existent slot. Wanting to keep the bird a bit on the right side of the frame I moved the AF point one to the right and created five images. This one was bingo; the rest were insta-deletes …

Remember, when working at cluttered rookeries, be sure to examine all possible angles in search of a clear slot at the shot.

The Image Optimization

After converting the RAW file in DPP 4 (see the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide), I brought the image into Photoshop, worked large, and used my usual cadre of tools, the Patch Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, the Clone Stamp Tool, and a series of small Quick Masks refined by Regular Layer Masks. In addition, I used Content Aware Fill on a number of occasions and it performed admirably; at times I was amazed. Everything that I did to clean up the lores and the bill is detailed in my Digital Basics File, an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete (former PC) 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, the basics of using BreezeBrowser and Downloader Pro, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs, Dodge and Burn, a variety of other ways of making selections, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.

Learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. You can learn to apply Neat Image noise reduction in The Professional Photographers Guide to Post Processing.

I am still working on an all new Current Workflow e-guide that better reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. It will include a section on ACR conversions and a simplified method of applying Neat Image noise reduction.


uk-puffins-card-ii-layers

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Monday July 3 through Wednesday July 12, 2017: $5999 + $1499: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 5).
All who register will be required to join the (really cheap) two-day Gannet/Bass Rock Add-on. See below for details. See below for details.

Here are the plans: take a red eye from the east coast of the US on July 2 and arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Monday July 3 no later than 10am (or simply meet us then at the Edinburgh Airport–EDI, or later in the day at our cottages if you are driving your own vehicle either from the UK or from somewhere in Europe). Stay 7 nights in one of three gorgeous modern country cottages.

There are five days of planned puffin/seabird trips and one morning of gannet photography, all weather permitting of course. In three years we have yet to miss an entire day because of weather… In addition, we will enjoy several sessions of photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level.


uk-puffins-card-iii-layers

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The Details

We will get to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet; Arctic, Sandwich, and Common Terns, the former with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks. We will be staying in upscale country-side lodging that are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with a private bathroom. See the limited single supplement info below.

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. All 5 puffins boat lunches will need to be prepared by you in advance, taken with, and consumed at your leisure. I usually eat mine on the short boat trip from one island to the other. Also included is a restaurant lunch on the gannet boat day.

If you wish to fly home on the morning of Monday July 10 we will get you to the airport. Please, however, consider the following tentative plans: enjoy a second Gannet boat trip on the afternoon of Monday July 10 and book your hotel room in Dunbar. If all goes as planned, those who stay on for the two extra days will make a morning landing at Bass Rock, one of the world’s largest gannetries. We will get everyone to the airport on the morning of Wednesday July 12.

Great News on the UK Puffins and Gannets/Bass Rock Extension

On the morning of Jul 10, 2017, we will sleep late and head up to Dunbar Harbor for lunch and an afternoon Gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. One gannet boat trip is included in the IPT but everyone always wants more.

Then, as a possible mega bonus — we are scheduled to make a Bass Rock landing on the morning of Tuesday July 12, 2017. I am hoping to go two for two! If not, we do another chumming trip for flying gannets.

Included will be two nights lodging at the wonderful Dunsmuir hotel, two fine dining meals there, any additional meals, all boat, guide, and landing fees, and all transportation including the early morning transfer to the Edinburg Airport on the morning of WED July 12.

So far all five sign-ups are maximizing their travel dollars by signing up for the extension in part because I priced it so cheaply at $1499 despite my greatly increased costs.


uk-puffins-card-i

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version. Scroll down to join us in the UK in 2016.

Deposit Info

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome–please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on March 29, 2017. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. 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. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Deposit Info

Single supplement rooms are available on a limited basis. To ensure yours, please register early. The single supplement fee is $1575. If you would like your own room, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement; your single supplement deposit check should be for $3,575. As we will need to commit to renting the extra space, single supplement deposits are non-refundable so please be sure that check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check of running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print careful even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.



Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

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

Typos

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