Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
March 4th, 2021

Art or Trash?

Canon R6 Bodies in Stock now at Bedfords/R5 Bodies on the Way!

Steve Elkins asked me to let you know that he has a good number of Canon EOS-R6 bodies in stock. Get yours by clicking here. Enter the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout, save 3%, and enjoy free second-day air Fed-Ex shipping. And shoot me your receipt to receive your free copy of the R5/R6 AF e-Guide and save $65.00 off the price of the R5 User’s e-Guide.

Six R5 Bodies are on the way as well …

Via e-Mail from Sarah Mayhew

Hi Artie, The Canon R5/R6 AF e-Guide has been very helpful! I had my R6 set up nicely for eye tracking flight shots, but it didn’t work at all for the small birds in the bushes. I can now toggle between the focusing methods easily. Thank goodness! And my hit rate is so much higher than with my Canon 7D II. Thank you! Sarah

What’s Up?

It was surreal down by the lake on Wednesday morning. It rained hard off and on. Though I stayed in my car the whole time, my Canon RF 100-500 lens got soaked. I followed around a large flock of Cattle Egrets feeding on the previous day’s mayfly hatch. Some were doing that in trees! And every once in a while, the whole scene would be enveloped by a huge flock of migrating Tree Swallows. I created about 800 images and kept a very few.

I finished the article for the GNPA Newsletter and sent it off via e-mail to Eric Bowles. It is entitled, A Personal Account: The Photographic Benefits of the COVID 19 Pandemic. If you would like a copy, shoot me an e-mail. I began work on the final update of the SONY e-Guide text. Today, I plan on going through several of the R5 Camera User’s e-Guide reviews that were e-mailed by folks who were kind enough to take a serious look at the manuscript.

Sunset was too northwest windy and too clear. I kept just one image. On a lark, I processed it. I was dramatically surprised. I will be sharing it with you here soon.

I was glad to learn on Wednesday that good friend and multiple IPT veteran Donna Bourdon is flying to Florida next Wednesday to partake of the Sandhill Crane chicks and colts for three or four days here at ILE. We may also do a morning of American White Pelicans (and more) at Lakeland. Beverly Still will be driving down from Atlanta to join us for the upcoming Merritt Island IPT. Food and lodging are included in Donna’s visit. If you would like to do the two crane families on Sunday, Monday, and/or Tuesday, get in touch via e-mail to explore the possibilities of setting up some In-the-Field Instruction. (The weather for Saturday is looking to be horrific.)

I was glad to learn yesterday that Doug Smith sold his Canon 100-400mm L IS II lens in excellent condition for $1399.00 in early March before it was even listed.

The forecast for today — Thursday 4 March 2021 — is for fairly brisk northwest winds and early partly cloudy skies. I will head down for a bit hoping for more clouds than sun. But not expecting much. Buy hey, you never know.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you have a great day.

This blog post took about one hour to prepare and makes eighty days in a row with a new one. Please remember …

Please Remember

With income from IPTs now at 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, are invited to help out by clicking here to leave a blog thank you gift if they see fit.

Wanted to Buy

If you have a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens that you would like to part with, please contact me via e-mail. I have another interested buyer.

Great Topaz News!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plug-ins) will receive a 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. If the stuff is on sale (as it usually is), you save 15% off of the sale price! To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Those who purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or any other Topaz plug-ins using my link and then entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. Please include a copy of your Topaz receipt that shows the discount. Aside from the basics, the guide explains how to install the plug-ins so that they appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu.

Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide

Last week, I sent out about a dozen copies of the almost-finished Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide for review to folks who had previously gotten free copies of the R5/R6 AF e-Guide by using my affiliate links to purchase their Canon mirrorless gear. In the same vein, I will be contacting everyone who purchased the R5/R6 AF e-Guide today.

Because the camera and the Menus are so complex, this guide has required a ton of research, a lot of time, and a lot of effort (and will continue to do so until it is complete). It should be finished by the first week in March. 2021. The final update of the R5/R6 AF e-Guide has become part of the complete Camera User’s e-Guide; it will be revised if warranted.

The complete Camera User’s guide will sell for $75.00. Folks who purchased their Canon gear using my links will receive a $65.00 discount; the guide will cost them a nominal $10.00. Folks who spent more than $7500.00 on Canon mirrorless gear using either of my affiliate links (B&H or Bedfords), will receive the User’s Guide for free. Folks who purchased the R5/R6 AF e-Guide will receive a $10.00 discount on the User’s e-Guide. The best news is that the end is in sight.

This image was created on 2 March 2021 down by the lake near my home at ILE. Working from the driver’s seat of my SUV, I used the handheld Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens (at 254mm) and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 400. Exposure determined by test guesstimate in rapidly changing light: 1/2500 second at f/7.1. RawDigger showed this one to be about 2/3 stop under-exposed. AWB at 8:40am when a light cloud slid in front of the sun.

I was set up for flight with Face Detection plus Tracking and saw no reason to change that when it grabbed the tallest, spent flower stalk.

Wildflowers with out-of-focus Cattle Egret as background accent

Art or Trash?

Please leave a comment and let us know if you think today’s featured image should be on the wall of an art museum or in the trash can. Or somewhere in between. Let us know what you like, and what you don’t like.

I will share my inspiration for this image, the story of its creation, and my thoughts on the image with y’all here soon.

Topaz DeNoise on the Wildflowers with out-of-focus Cattle Egret as background accent image

Topaz DeNoise AI on DeNoise on Auto

Noise will always be more evident in the dark tones of an image. Thus, note the location of the white, square navigator-box in the upper right of the screen capture. Be sure to click on the screen capture to view the larger version and check on the effectiveness of this amazing plug-in.

Typos

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

March 3rd, 2021

Flapping-After-Bath Soup-to-Nuts Tutorial. ISO on the Rear (Thumb) Wheel. Why not use the live, in-viewfinder histogram with the Canon R5? And What Makes a Good Flapping-after-bath Image?

Give it a Go

If — after reading and learning from this blog post — you would like to improve your editing/picking your keepers skills, please leave a comment denoting what you think is the strongest image in each of the three groups. And let us know why you made your choices. You can indicate your choice with the GROUP and file number, like this: GROUP 1 — 4389. I like the wing position and the way the bird is framed by the waves.

Canon R6 Bodies in Stock now at Bedfords/R5 Bodies on the Way!

Steve Elkins asked me to let you know that he is receiving a good number of Canon EOS-R6 bodies today. Get yours by clicking here. Enter the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout, save 3%, and enjoy free second-day air Fed-Ex shipping. And shoot me your receipt to receive your free copy of the R5/R6 AF e-Guide and save $65.00 off the price of the R5 User’s e-Guide.

Six R5 Bodies are on the way as well …

What’s Up?

It was mostly grey on Tuesday morning with the sun trying to peek through on occasion. Both crane families are doing well. I took a zillion mostly bad images of Cattle Egrets as there was a big hatch of small mayflies. I got a very few decent flight shots and one different image that I think is really neat. I will share that one with you here soon.

I worked long and hard all morning but don’t ask me on what. I often find myself wishing that there were 48 hours in a day. Sunset was totally grey, so I stayed home.

Today is Wednesday 3 March 2021. The forecast for this morning is for cloudy-dark with SW winds and scattered thunderstorms. I may head down early for a walk and then get back to work.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you have a great day.

This blog post took more than two hours to prepare and makes seventy-two days in a row with a new one. Please remember …

Please Remember

With income from IPTs now at 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, are invited to help out by clicking here to leave a blog thank you gift if they see fit.

The BAA Used Gear Page

The Used Gear page continues to be very active. The BAA Used Gear Page is the place to sell your used photographic equipment. We will help you to get your gear sold quickly for 20 to 60% or more than what the big guys are offering … Doubt me? Check out the Recent Sales list for the past thirteen months at the bottom of the page.

Price Drop

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body with Extras!

Price Reduced $100 on 2 NOV 2020!
Price Reduced $100 on 1 MAR 2021!

Stuart Hahn is offering a Canon 5D Mark II in excellent plus condition for a silly-low $385.00 (was $585.00). The LCDs have been protected with screen protectors since day one. The sale includes everything that came with the camera originally, a RRS L bracket, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Stu via e-mail or by phone at 1-916-485-1630 (Pacific time zone).

Stu Hahn was the first-ever seller on the Used Gear Page many years ago when he parted with his Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens, the “old five.” This 5D II body would be ideal for a budding landscape or Urbex photographer, as well as for some looking for a great body to convert to IR. My 5D II was expertly converted by Kolari Vision. It is also a very good body for bird and nature photography; I used mine as a back-up for my old 1D Mark IV bodies. It served me very well in that capacity in the Southern Ocean a while back when I foolishly used my two 1D IVs in a driving rainstorm for two hours with the expected result. That 5D II saved the trip for me. Stu’s body is priced to sell. artie

Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide

On Thursday, I sent out about a dozen copies of the almost finished Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide for review to folks who had previously gotten free copies of the R5/R6 AF e-Guide by using my affiliate links to purchase their Canon mirrorless gear. In the same vein, I will be contacting everyone who purchased the R5/R6 AF e-Guide on Monday.

Because the camera and the Menus are so complex, this guide has required a ton of research, a lot of time, and a lot of effort (and will continue to do so until it is complete). It should be finished by the first week in March. 2021. The final update of the R5/R6 AF e-Guide has become part of the complete Camera User’s e-Guide; it will be revised if warranted.

The complete Camera User’s guide will sell for $75.00. Folks who purchased their Canon gear using my links will receive a $65.00 discount; the guide will cost them a nominal $10.00. Folks who spent more than $7500.00 on Canon mirrorless gear using either of my affiliate links (B&H or Bedfords), will receive the User’s Guide for free. Folks who purchased the R5/R6 AF e-Guide will receive a $10.00 discount on the User’s e-Guide. The best news is that the end is in sight.

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, would like a 3% discount, and would enjoy free second-day air 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 February 2021 at Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL on my In-the-Field morning with Steve King. I used the handheld Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 1600. Exposure determined by test image histogram check: 1/2000 second at f/7.1.

Center Zone/AI Servo AF performed quite well.

Framing for after-bath flapping

Initial Framing for Flapping-After-Bath Images

The image above shows approximately how you want to frame the bird while it is bathing; note that I have given the bird room to jump up into the frame. If you approach any closer, you will surely be clipping wings. With both Canon and SONY, center zone is my choice for the flapping-after-bath images. Note that you have some (up & down and side to side) latitude in framing with center zone. Thus, I was able to place the bird nicely down and slightly to the right (in the frame).

It almost goes without saying that you want the light and the wind coming from behind you so that the bird will flap while facing you and flapping into the wind.

If a bird is flapping vigorously, you may wish to move closer or add a teleconverter to go for the dramatic splashing shots. But you will surely miss the after-bath flapping images if you do. Zooming out rapidly in those situations is a huge challenge at best. I recommend that you go for one or the other.

These six images were created on 28 February 2021 at Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL on my In-the-Field morning with Steve King. For all of the images in this screen capture I used the handheld Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. All in this series were created at 1/2000 second at f/7.1 with ISOs of either 2000 (for the first three images) or 1600 (for the bottom three images).

Center Zone/AI Servo AF performed quite well.

Click on the screen capture to view a larger version.

Laughing Gulls flapping-after-bath GROUP A

Setting the Exposure with ISO on the Rear (Thumb) Wheel

Note with all three groups that after setting the shutter speed and the aperture (all wide open at f/7.1), I set my exposures by using ISO on the rear (thumb) wheel, just as I do with SONY. Taking a look at the EXIF for all three groups, you can see that the morning got brighter as time went by. For Canon, that means that you need to make a test exposure and evaluate the histogram every time the light changes. And when the light is changing almost second by second as a cloud passes in front of the sun, you will have to guesstimate. With SONY it is faster, simpler, and far more efficient to change the ISO as the light changes based on live Zebras in the viewfinder; you do not have to create a test image and evaluate the histogram. SONY folks can learn exactly how to do that in the Sony Camera User’s e-Guide and One Camera Set-up Video or the Sony Camera User’s e-Guide and Two Camera Set-up Videos.

Why not use the live, in-viewfinder histogram with the Canon R5?

Folks might ask, Why not use the live, in-viewfinder histogram with Canon? There are lots of problems with that approach. You have a choice of a small or a large histogram. The larger one is easier to read, but both cover a good portion of the frame; this obstructs your view and makes it difficult to design the image you want. But the major problem is that even with the large histogram, the right- (highlight-) end of the histogram is not depicted accurately. On numerous occasions, the histogram shows plenty of room on the right, but when you make an image, you will often find that it is a gross over-exposure.

These six images were created on 28 February 2021 at Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL on my In-the-Field morning with Steve King. For all of the images in this screen capture I used the handheld Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. All in this series were created with ISOs of either 1600 (for the first three images) or 1250 (for the bottom three images).

Center Zone/AI Servo AF performed quite well.

Click on the screen capture to view a larger version.

Laughing Gulls flapping-after-bath GROUP B

20 Frames-per-Second Editing

Even though I am conservative with regards to pressing the shutter button, I often find myself making well more than a thousand images during a decent session. I choose my keepers in Capture One. Once all the files in a folder load, you can pretty much view the images at slide-show-speed. I use T to red-tag my keepers. At times I slow down a bit to open an image in RawDigger to check the exposure. That done, I can correlate what I have learned in RawDigger with the red highlight warnings in Capture One. Assuming that you know what you are looking for (see item-next for help with that), it is possible to edit large folders in warp-speed time. I created more than 1800 images on my morning with Steve. I chose my 161 keepers in about 12 minutes. In time, that number will be reduced to about 50 after a second round of editing.

These six images were created on 28 February 2021 at Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL on my In-the-Field morning with Steve King. For all of the images in this screen capture I used the handheld Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. All in this series were created at 1/3200 second at f/7.1. The first image was created at ISO 800, the last five at ISO 640.

Center Zone/AI Servo AF performed quite well.

Click on the screen capture to view a larger version.

Laughing Gulls flapping-after-bath GROUP C

What Makes a Good Flapping-after-bath Image?

1- Is the subject relatively centered without any clipping of feet or wings? Is it facing forward or flying away?

2- Is the head sharp?

3- Is the flapping pose/wing position interesting, artistically pleasing, or dramatic (or relatively boring)?

4- Does the position of the feet & legs add something special?

5- Is one, or are both eyes, visible?

6- Do the background waves and wavelets add something to the motif or are they distracting?

7- Is the subject isolated? If not, can the image be saved with a small crop? Having other birds or man-made objects like piers or boats in the background is generally (but no always) an image-killer.

8- If the sun is out, are the underwings evenly illuminated? Harsh shadows are big negatives.

9- The condition of the subject and the plumage stage.

Even a single “no” answer to any of the questions above (except for #s 4 & 9), will usually result in an insta-pass-it-by delete. Six or seven yeses usually mean a red-tagged keeper. Eight or more positive responses and you just might have a family jewel.

Give it a Go

If you would like to improve your editing/picking your keepers skills, leave a comment denoting what you think is the strongest image in each of the three groups. And let us know why you made your choices. You can indicate your choice with the GROUP and file number, like this: GROUP 1 — 4389. I like the wing position and the way the bird is framed by the waves.

Typos

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

March 2nd, 2021

ID Quiz Winner. Definitely not an Anhinga! And a mystery (leucistic?) juvenile Reddish Egret ... R6 bodies in stock!

Canon R6 Bodies in Stock now at Bedfords/R5 Bodies on the Way!

Steve Elkins asked me to let you know that he is receiving a good number of Canon EOS-R6 bodies today. Get yours by clicking here. Enter the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout, save 3%, and enjoy free second-day air Fed-Ex shipping. And shoot me your receipt to receive your free copy of the R5/R6 AF e-Guide and save $65.00 off the price of the R5 User’s e-Guide.

Six R5 Bodies are on the way as well …

What’s Up?

Right before I got out of my SUV to pick up and pack up the very still raccoon, I saw that about 100 or so Cattle Egrets that had been roosting on the pier railings were taking off and flying to the South Peninsula, so I pulled my vehicle up 100 yards in an effort to get some hand held flight shots from the driver’s seat. I glanced in the driver’s side mirror and saw that several vultures were feeding on the carcass. Lesson learned: my vehicle had been too close to the long-deceased raccoon.

I spent a great deal of time answering e-mails, responding to comments on yesterday’s blog post, and working on an article entitled A Personal Account: The Photographic Benefits of the COVID 19 Pandemic for the Georgia Nature Photographer Association Newsletter. After being postponed a year, I will be keynoting, speaking, and teaching at the GNPA Expo at Jekyll Island, Georgia — April 7-10, 2022.

I had a great swim in a now very warm and delightful pool. Summer has come early to central Florida. I did make it down to the lake just before sunset for a short photo session. With the wind from the southwest, I tried a new plan that did not involve birds landing directly away from me. I had a few good chances.

Today is Tuesday 2 March 2021. The forecast for ILE this morning is for mostly cloudy skies with a light north/northeast wind. I will be heading down to the lake for a bit.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you have a great day.

This blog post took 1 1/2 hours to prepare and makes seventy-one days in a row with a new one. Please remember …

Please Remember

With income from IPTs now at 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, are invited to help out by clicking here to leave a blog thank you gift if they see fit.

Great Topaz News!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plug-ins) will receive a 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. If the stuff is on sale (as it usually is), you save 15% off of the sale price! To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Those who purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or any other Topaz plug-ins using my link and then entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. Please include a copy of your Topaz receipt that shows the discount. Aside from the basics, the guide explains how to install the plug-ins so that they appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu.

RawDigger e-Guide with Two Videos

The RawDigger e-Guide with Two Videos

by Arthur Morris with Patrick Sparkman

The RawDigger e-Guide was created only for serious photographers who wish to get the absolute most out of their raw files.

Patrick and I began work on the guide in July 2020. At first we struggled. We asked questions. We learned about Max-G values. We puzzled as to why the Max G values for different cameras were different. IPT veteran Bart Deamer asked lots of questions that we could not answer. We got help from RawDigger creator Iliah Borg. We learned. In December, Patrick came up with an Adapted Histogram that allows us to evaluate the exposures and raw file brightness for all images created with all digital camera bodies from the last two decades. What we learned each time prompted three complete beginning to end re-writes.

The point of the guide is to teach you to truly expose to the mega-Expose-to-the-Right so that you will minimize noise, maximize image quality, best utilize your camera’s dynamic range, and attain the highest possible level of shadow detail in your RAW files in every situation. In addition, your properly exposed RAW files will contain more tonal information and feature the smoothest possible transitions between tones. And your optimized images will feature rich, accurate color.

We teach you why the GREEN channel is almost always the first to over-expose. We save you money by advising you which version of RawDigger you need. We teach you how to interpret the Max G values for your Canon, Nikon, and SONY camera bodies. It is very likely that the Shock-your-World section will shock you. And lastly — thanks to the technical and practical brilliance of Patrick Sparkman — we teach you a simple way to quickly and easily evaluate your exposures and raw file brightness using an Adapted RawDigger histogram.

The flower video takes you through a session where artie edits a folder of images in Capture One while checking the exposures and Max-G values in RawDigger. The Adapted Histogram video examines a series of recent images with the pink histograms and covers lots of fine points including and especially how to deal with specular highlights. The directions for setting up the Adapted Histogram are in the text.

If we priced this guide based on how much effort we put into it, it would sell it for $999.00. But as this guide will be purchased only by a limited number of serious photographers, we have priced it at $51.00. You can order yours here in the BAA Online Store.

Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide

On Thursday, I sent out about a dozen copies of the almost finished Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide for review to folks who had previously gotten free copies of the R5/R6 AF e-Guide by using my affiliate links to purchase their Canon mirrorless gear. In the same vein, I will be contacting everyone who purchased the R5/R6 AF e-Guide on Monday.

Because the camera and the Menus are so complex, this guide has required a ton of research, a lot of time, and a lot of effort (and will continue to do so until it is complete). It should be finished by the first week in March. 2021. The final update of the R5/R6 AF e-Guide has become part of the complete Camera User’s e-Guide; it will be revised if warranted.

The complete Camera User’s guide will sell for $75.00. Folks who purchased their Canon gear using my links will receive a $65.00 discount; the guide will cost them a nominal $10.00. Folks who spent more than $7500.00 on Canon mirrorless gear using either of my affiliate links (B&H or Bedfords), will receive the User’s Guide for free. Folks who purchased the R5/R6 AF e-Guide will receive a $10.00 discount on the User’s e-Guide. The best news is that the end is in sight.

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 second-day air 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 26 February 2021 at Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde FL. I used the handheld Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens with the Canon Extender RF 1.4x (at 700mm) and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 800. Exposure determined via test image/histogram evaluation: 1/640 sec. at f/16 (stopped 1 1/3 stops) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed this one to be perfect. Maybe I am learning … AWB at 9:22am on a sunny morning.

1-Point/AI Servo AF performed just fine.

Image #1: What is it?

In the recent Killer Afternoon at DeSoto. RF 100-500 Close-focusing MFD. Age and ID Quiz: Earn a $25.00 credit in the BAA Online Store. And ask yourself … blog post here, I wrote:

Age and ID Quiz: Earn a $25.00 credit in the BAA Online Store

To earn a $25.00 credit in the BAA Online Store be the first to leave a comment on identifying the species of bird seen in Images #1 and 2 and signifying “adult” or “juvenile.” I will withhold judgement for two days so that if the first person gets it right, the rest of you can still have fun by agreeing or disagreeing. 2nd place gets zip.

I thought that Image #1, above, was easy-peasy. It was not. While five folks correctly identified the bird as an adult Brown Pelican, four others thought that it was an Anhinga … See Image #2 below.

This image was created on 11 November 2021 Lakeland, FL. I used the handheld Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens with the Canon Extender RF 1.4x (at 700mm) and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 1250. Exposure determined by test image histogram evaluation; RawDigger showed some over-exposed feather shafts: 1/500 sec. at f/16 (stopped down 1 1/3 stops) in Manual mode. AWB at 8:28am on sunny morning.

Face detection + Tracking/AI Servo AF was active at the moment of exposure and actively 81 AF points on the upper center of the wing. Click the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Anhinga wing feather detail

Anhinga Feather Detail

A quick glance at any North American field guide would have shown that the bird in Image #1 was not an Anhinga; even young Anhingas have the silver on black pattern on the upper wings. The R5, with its four-foot minimum focusing distance, is a great tool for creating tight, abstract images of large, tame birds. Note that it is best to stop down from one to two stops when working at very close range in order to have enough depth-of-field to cover the curved surface of the bird’s bodies.

Fine Feather Detail Image Processing

Both of the images above were first put through Topaz DeNoise AI on Low Light, and then through Topaz Sharpen AI on Stabilize. The latter shows us that we are not as steady as we think we are even when hand holding.

This image was created on 26 February 2021 at Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde FL. I used the handheld Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens with the Canon Extender RF 1.4x (at 480mm) and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 500. Exposure determined via test image/histogram evaluation: 1/640 sec. at f/16 (stopped 1 2/3 stops ???) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed this one to be less than 1/3-stop under. AWB at 9:34am on a sunny morning.

Again, 1-Point/AI Servo AF performed just fine.

Image #3: What is it?

A Lot Tougher

The second image on the other hand, was a lot tougher. The hint of auburn in the ruff clearly indicates Reddish Egret. And the light grey subterminal fringes on the covert feathers make this bird a juvenile. Scroll down to learn more about this unique individual.

And the Winner Is!

The winner of the ID Quiz is veteran bird photographer, good friend, and multiple IPT veteran Cliff Beittel. His $25.00 credit in the BAA Online store is now on the books.

This image was created on 26 February 2021 at Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL. I used the handheld Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens with the Canon Extender RF 1.4x (at 700mm) and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 800. Exposure determined by test image histogram evaluation: RawDigger showed the exposure to be perfect: 1/1600 sec. at f/10 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 9:15am on sunny morning.

Face detection + Tracking/AI Servo AF was active at the moment of exposure performed perfectly by nailing the eye squarely. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #4: Reddish Egret juvenile

Leucism

Leucism (loo’-siz-um) refers to a wide variety of genetic conditions that result in the partial loss of pigmentation in an animal—causing white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales, or cuticles (but not the eyes). The adjective is leucistic (loo-si-stuhk).

One Strange Bird …

As many of you know, there are two color morphs of Reddish Egret, a dark form and a white form. There are lots of photographs of juvenile dark morph Reddish Egrets online, and very, very few of juvenile white morphs. I am currently trying to track some of those down so that I can get my hands on larger, more detailed versions.

The bird in question here is many, many shades lighter than a typical juvenile dark morph Reddish Egret. So what is it? I do not know. It is possible that it is a leucistic dark morph juvenile Reddish Egret. Or, it is possible that some juvenile white morph Reddish Egrets are a very light grey (like the bird in Images #3 and $4 above), and then become all white when they molt into their first adult plumage. In a phone conversation last night with Richard Crossley, the Brit agreed that that might very well be a possibility. He stressed that there is an amazing amount of stuff that we simply do not know about the identification and molt sequences of even the most common species.

When I learn some more, I will be posting additional images of this bird.

Typos

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