March 5th, 2015

The 7D Mark II User's GuideThe 7D Mark II User's Guide (Includes free AF point auto switching update for folks who own the 5D III UG or the 1D X AF Guide)

Stuff

Everything came together yesterday and somewhat surprisingly I was able to finish the 7D II User’s Guide by mid-morning. I have even begun trying to catch up on e-mails…. And I did have time for a longer than usual swim, my core exercises, and an ice bath.

This blog post took about 1 1/2 hours to prepare if you do not include the hundreds of hours that I spent working on the 7D II Guide. It was published at 4:40am from my home in Indian Lake Estates, FL.


7d-ii-ug

The 7D Mark II User’s Guide is now available. You can purchase your copy right now in the BAA Online Store here for $59

7D Mark II User’s Guide Now Available

BIRDS AS ART is proud to announce the publication of the long-awaited 7D Mark II User’s Guide. You can purchase your copy right now in the BAA Online Store here for $59. This is the highest priced user’s guide ever, surpassing the 5D II User’s Guide that is priced at $50. Why? I did twice as much work preparing the 7D II Guide. It required many days of writing, many dozens of hours of study and research, not to mention hundreds of hours in the field trying to figure out the best 7D II setting while doing what I love to do best, photographing birds and nature. The camera is quite complex. Many thanks to both Rudy Winston and Chuck Westfall of Canon USA for their help in getting me through the stickiest parts.

The guide contains 23,196 words in 516 paragraphs. There are 24 photos and screen captures interspersed in the main body of the text and a gallery of 23 additional 7D II images that show what the camera is capable of with a variety of lens and lens/TC combinations. We would love your feedback.

The Great Strength of the 7D Mark II User’s Guide

The very great strength of the 7D Mark II User’s Guide is the coverage of the autofocus system. I review in detail all of the items on the five pink AF Menus. Most important of these is the Custom Case setting (at AF 1) that I have developed over time and currently use for all of my bird photography. On the recently concluded Hooptie Deux Spoonbills and more IPT John Johnson of Naples, FL mentioned that he was having trouble producing sharp flight images. I set up my Custom Case on his camera, and within minutes he was amazed at the sharp results that he was getting…. While skill, strength, fine motor control, and superior hand eye coordination are all factors that will influence your success as a flight photographer, you can have all of the preceding in spades but if your camera is not set up properly much of your effort will be in vain….

What Else is in the Guide?

In the 7D Mark II User’s Guide you will learn everything that I know about the important topics listed below, and better yet, I explain the options for each along with my reasons for choosing a specific setting in a specific situation.

5D III exposure fine points
Handling the WHITEs
The top LCD and all camera control buttons
7D Mark III drive modes
How to manually select an AF sensor
Choosing an AF Area Selection Mode; how and why (includes extensive detail)
Moving the AF point or Zone
The creation of in-camera Multiple Exposures and in-camera HDR images (includes extensive detail)
Live View Shooting and AF choices (all new in the 7D II)
Menu Item Access
Coverage of almost all Menu Items and Custom Functions including the following: Image Quality, Auto Lighting Optimizer, Lens aberration corrections settings, Highlight Tone Priority, AF Configuration Tool (as above, this includes details on the custom setting that I use), Acceleration/deceleration tracking, Tracking sensitivity, Lens drive when AF impossible, Orientation linked AF point (I love this feature), Highlight alert, Histogram display–do you know how to access both histograms at once?, Auto rotate, Image Jump, LCD Brightness, Info button display options, Custom Shooting Modes set-up, ISO Safety shift, using the Q button, setting up rear focus, and setting up your My Menu feature (among others).

The guide is–of course–written in my informal, easy-to-follow style.

Please note: Some Menu items are not covered in this guide for one of several reasons:

They deal only with the creation of movies (not covered)
They are irrelevant to nature photography.
After spending hours studying the 7D II Instruction Manual and consulting others I have no clue as to the purpose or the reason for the existence of a given feature.

Though I recommend that the irrelevant and confusing items be left at the default settings, I do, in most cases, I refer you to the relevant page in the 7D II Instruction Manual. If you follow up, it just might turn out that you are a lot smarter than me. In those cases I would love to hear from you via e-mail. So far none of the above have prevented me from creating many spectacular images with my 7D II.

Please note that this guide does not contain a table of contents or an index. To search the document for a given topic simply hit Control F to search. When the Find box pops up, simply type the term that you are looking for into the field and hit Next. This will allow you to find what you are looking for quickly and efficiently.

If you purchase the 7D II UG and it helps you to create better images, please feel free to send no more than two 1200 pixel wide or 900 pixel tall sharpened JPEGs to me via e-mail along with your comments. I will be glad to do a short critique if so requested.

Otherwise, feedback via e-mail or blog comment is always appreciated.

7D Mark II User’s Guide Free Excerpt

The free excerpt below was adapted from the published version of the 7D Mark II User’s Guide. It gives you an idea of the depth of coverage you can expect. From page 48 of the guide under On “AF1: AF config. Tool,” the first pink Menu (with the camera set to P, Tv, Av, or M):

AF point auto switching

Setting this one to 2 allows the camera to switch AF points more quickly if the subject moves dramatically left or right or up or down. Setting it to 0 might be best for highly skilled flight photographers who are able to consistently keep the center AF point on the bird’s face. Though that is not me I have been experimenting here by setting 0, 1, or 2. Note: this setting has no effect if you are using single point—manual selection. I set Case 3 (with my custom settings) for pretty much all of my flight and action photography, heck, for all of my bird photography. Remember: AF point auto switching settings will have no effect when you are in either Single Point or Spot AF.
My custom settings for Case 3, and, in fact, all of my AF settings, have worked beautifully for birds in flight with the EOS-1D X, the 5D Mark III, and most recently, with the 7D Mark II.

Please note that the above does not mean that every flight shot will be razor sharp on the bird’s eye. While many folks will look to blame the camera’s AF system, the problem often lies with the operator. Did you get the AF point on the bird soon enough so that it had time to track? Were you panning smoothly? Did you jerk the lens at some point? There are times when the active AF point is right on the birds’ eye, face, or neck and the image is not sharp for one of the reason’s mentioned immediately above. And at times, there is simply not enough contrast for the system to acquire and track successfully. The white breast or neck of a Snow Goose, especially in soft light is a perfect example of when that problem might pop up. Lastly, as a sort of payback there are many times when the active AF point is nowhere near the subject but the image is razor sharp….


snow-goose-flight-downstroke-butter-light-3y8a0361-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm_0

My custom settings for Case 3, and, in fact, all of my AF settings, have worked beautifully for birds in flight with the EOS-1D X, the 5D Mark III, and most recently, with the 7D Mark II.

Please note that the above does not mean that every flight shot will be razor sharp on the bird’s eye. While many folks will look to blame the camera’s AF system, the problem often lies with the operator. Did you get the AF point on the bird soon enough so that it had time to track? Were you panning smoothly? Did you jerk the lens at some point? There are times when the active AF point is right on the birds’ eye, face, or neck and the image is not sharp for one of the reason’s mentioned immediately above. And at times, there is simply not enough contrast for the system to acquire and track successfully. The white breast or neck of a Snow Goose, especially in soft light is a perfect example of when that problem might pop up. Lastly, as a sort of payback there are many times when the active AF point is nowhere near the subject but the image is razor sharp….

Hooptie Spoonbill Mini-IPT

There is not much time left! Please call us at 863-692-0906 for late registration discount info.

The Hooptie Roseate Spoonbill Mini-IPT announced on Wednesday past has two full slots left. Please call us at 863-692-0906 or e-mail with questions or to check on availability. See yesterday’s blog post here and scroll down for complete details and rates and for the skinny on our morning and Saturday-only rates.

E-mail from Wilfred (Willy) Marissen, the smiling Dutchman

Hi Artie, I just wanted to drop you a note and say thanks. I had a great time on the DeSoto In-the-Field Add-on and it was very nice to meet you after all these years of following your bulletins and blog stories! The Photoshop session was also very valuable. It was great to see the words of the Digital Basics File in action. Thanks again and perhaps we’ll meet each other again in the future. Cheers, Willy

Comment by Cris Hamilton

Cris was a participant on the recently concluded Hooptie Spoonbill IPT:

I was fortunate enough to be a participant in the Hooptie Deux/DeSoto class, which ended on Friday past. It was so much fun and I learned TONS!!! Thank you, thank you, Artie!!!!! And thank you to James Shadle, the master boat commander. James is a vital and fun part of this duo. Super great guy. And, thanks to the other participants for putting up with all my questions!!! :) We had a great group and a super time.

Facebook

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

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

…..

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Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here. Many thanks to those who have written.

Typos

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

March 4th, 2015

1D X ISO 1600 Low Light Flight Image Lessons

This Just In

7D Mark II User’s Guide Now Available

The long-awaited 7D Mark II User’s Guide is finished. You can purchase your copy right now in the BAA Online Store here for $59. This is the highest priced user’s guide surpassing the 5D II User’s Guide at $50. Why? I did twice as much work preparing the 7D II Guide. It required days of writing, dozens of hours of study and research, not to mention hundreds of hours in the field trying to figure out the best 7D II setting while doing what I love to do best, photographing birds and nature. Many thanks to both Rudy Winston and Chuck Westfall of Canon USA for their help in getting through the stickiest parts.

The guide contains 23,196 words in 516 paragraphs. There are 24 photos and screen captures interspersed in the main body of the text and a gallery of 23 additional 7D II images that show what the camera is capable of with a variety of lens and lens/TC combinations. We would love your feedback. The full advertising spiel will be coming soon.

What’s Up?

I spent about ten hours yesterday hard at work on the 7D Mark II Users Guide. I should be finished some time this morning and hope to announce the publication in a short Bulletin after lunch…. I ignored most e-mails and had time only for meals and a morning swim.

This blog post, which took about 3 hours to prepare, was published at 6:32am from my home in Indian Lake Estates.

Hooptie Spoonbill Mini-IPT

Not much time left! Please call us at 863-692-0906 for late registration discount info.

The Hooptie Roseate Spoonbill Mini-IPT announced on Wednesday past has two full slots left. Please call us at 863-692-0906 or e-mail with questions or to check on availability. Scroll down here for details and prices and for the skinny on our morning and Saturday-only rates.

E-mail from Wilfred (Willy) Marissen

Hi Artie, I just wanted to drop you a note and say thanks. I had a great time on the DeSoto In-the-Field Add-on and it was very nice to meet you after all these years of following your bulletins and blog stories! The Photoshop session was also very valuable. It was great to see the words of the Digital Basics File in action. Thanks again and perhaps we’ll meet each other again in the future. Cheers, Willy

Comment by Cris Hamilton

Cris was a participant on the recently concluded Hooptie Spoonbill IPT:

I was fortunate enough to be a participant in the Hooptie Deux/DeSoto class, which ended on Friday past. It was so much fun and I learned TONS!!! Thank you, thank you, Artie!!!!! And thank you to James Shadle, the master boat commander. James is a vital and fun part of this duo. Super great guy. And, thanks to the other participants for putting up with all my questions!!! :) We had a great group and a super time.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links :)

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. B&H is recommended for you major photography gear purchases, Amazon for your household, entertainment, and general purpose stuff. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod heads, Gitzo tripods, Wimberley heads and plates, LensCoats and accessories, and the like. 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 we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. I just learned that my account was suspended during my absence; it should be up and running by Monday at the latest.

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 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 visiting the BAA Online store as well.


roseate-spoonbill-landing-pano-_y5o0723-alafia-banks-fl

This image was created at 7:46am on the cloudy morning of February 26, 2015 at Alafia Banks on our last morning on the Hooptie Deux. I used the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens with a Canon Extender EF 1.4X III and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops off the light grey sky: 1/1250 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. Cloudy WB.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when photographing moving subjects.) Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

A Nice Way to Finish

Three straight foggy mornings followed our clear, sunny start on the recently concluded Hooptie Deux Spoonbills and More IPT. On our last morning we graduated to partly cloudy with some soft sunlight after 8am. Even better was that we had the spoonies landing on the sandbar and that James and I got the group in perfect position for both flight and portraits. Learn a ton more below.


dpp-af-spoonie

DPP Screen Capture (with AF point illuminated).

DPP Screen Capture with AF Point Illuminated

For this landing spoonbill image by calling this one “Expand” in our User’s Guides and here on the blog. The DPP screen capture illuminates only the selected AF point in red, in the case, the center AF point. If you have created an image using AI Servo AF and are viewing the focus points on the RAW file in DPP, you will see only the selected point rather than the additional active AF point or points, even if one or more of the latter were responsible for acquiring and tracking accurate focus. I added the small red dots in Photoshop (using the Pencil Tool) to show you the four additional AF that were active. With this image the lowest AF point may or may not have just caught the bird’s toes. None-the-less, the image was sharp on the eye most likely as a result of the Custom Case settings that I detail in the EOS-1D X AF Guide.

The cursor was on the spoonie’s neck when I created the screen capture; note the RGB values in the low 230s, just where I want them.

The Before and After Animated GIF

In the before and after Animated GIF you can see that I executed a pano crop, in part to complement the wings swept back pose and in part to eliminate lots of distracting junk at the bottom of the frame.

Image clean-up was done with the usual tools: the Patch Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, the Clone Stamp Tool, and a series of Quick Masks that were refined by Regular Layer Masks.

Eye Doctor work and a Contrast Mask applied to the face and bill only after being selected with the Quick Selection Tool–my shortcut M and put on a layer.

1D X ISO 1600 Noise

After applying Arash’s 1D X ISO 1600 Noise Reduction values for both chrominance and luminance noise during the DPP 4 conversion there was very little background noise evident. I used the Filter/Blur/Surface Blur techniques taught to me by Denise Ippolito to render the background smooth as a baby’s tush.

In both animated GIFs above note the improved sharpness in the face and the effects of my custom NIK Color EFEX Pro 50-50 recipe/50% Opacity Tonal Contrast and 50% Opacity Detail Extractor on the bird only (selected with the Quick Selection Tool–my shortcut M.)

Digital Basics

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

APTATS I & II

Learn the details of advanced Quick Masking techniques in APTATS I. Learn Advanced Layer Masking Techniques in APTATS II. Mention this blog post and apply a $5 discount to either with phone orders only. Buy both APTATS I and APTATS II and we will be glad to apply at $15 discount either with phone orders or here in the BAA Online Store. For phone orders, call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 weekdays.


dpp-4-guide

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

The DPP 4 eGuide (PDF)

Learn how and why I and many other discerning photographers choose and use only DPP 4 to convert their Canon RAW files in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly. The latest version supports all of the newer Canon camera bodies and several older models including the EOS-7D and the EOS-1D Mark IV. A free update that will cover most of the newly added cameras will be sent some time next week. See upcoming blog posts for exact details.


hooptie-card-shadle-aa

Images courtesy of and copyright Captain James Shadle (aka Froggie). All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

The Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Mini IPT. 1 1/2 DAYs: $1250. SAT MAR 7 (full day) and SUN Morning MAR 8, 2015. Working lunch on Saturday included. Strict Limit: 6 photographers/Openings: 2

Either morning photo session only: $475. Saturday morning photo session plus working lunch: $525. Saturday Full Day: $775.

Two great leaders: Captain James Shadle (Nikon) and Canon Explorer of Light Arthur Morris.

Roseate Spoonbill is one of if not the most sought after avian photographic subjects in Florida. They are generally hard to find and somewhat difficult to approach. They are relatively easy to find at Alafia Banks—heck, you can’t miss seeing them, but even there they can on some days be somewhat difficult to approach. On some days we may be able to get ridiculously close to them. The huge incentive to get out to Alafia Banks in early March is the chance to photograph this species at the height of its spectacular breeding plumage….

Weather permitting there will be three boat trips: 2 mornings and 1 afternoons. Mornings at Alafia Banks for spoonbills and Brown Pelicans (with lots of flight photography with the birds likely carrying nesting material), cormorants, ibises (both Glossy and White in breeding plumage. Many of the White Ibises will be sporting their spectacular, distended, red, naked (un-feathered) throat pouches—typically larger in the females. In addition we will get to photograph egrets including Great and Reddish, both in full breeding plumage, shorebirds, and more. There will be lots of flight photography opportunities. The afternoon trip will be either to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and more or to a more sheltered inland rookery location for a variety of nesting birds. In the event of horrific weather artie will either take the group to Fort DeSoto or will conduct an image review/Photoshop session. This IPT includes one working lunch.

Important Notes

We stay in Brandon, FL for this IPT. From our hotel it is only about 20 minutes to the dock. The plan is for all sessions to be by boat. For the Alafia Banks segments, Captain Shadle provides light weight chest waders as much of the photography will be done while we are standing in fairly shallow water behind our tripods. We help you get in and out of the boat with your gear. This is likely not the best trip for folks with balance problems. Note however that some folks may opt to stay on the boat. They always have lots of good chances for flight photography of spoonbills and other species but are almost always pretty far away from the spoonbills that land.

This mini Hooptie IPT represents an incredible opportunity. It may fill quickly. We hope that you can join us. Scroll down for registration info.


hooptie-card-artie-layers-cc

All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks early in the season. Images copyright Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

Hooptie Mini-IPT Registration Info

Payment in full for this short notice trip is of course due upon registration. Call the office at 863-692-0906 to arrange to send us a check for payment in full (preferred) or to put the whole thing on a credit card. If by check, it should be made out to “Arthur Morris” and be mailed to BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. If you cancel and the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee.

However you arrange for payment, please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with the paperwork. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

Facebook

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

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

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

…..

Amazon.com

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

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here. Many thanks to those who have written.

Typos

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

March 3rd, 2015

Teleconverter in the Waders Pouch & 7D II/600 II Low Light Spoonbill Reflection Image: Art? Or Not?

What’s Up?

I spent most of yesterday hard at work on the 7D Mark II Users Guide that so many are clamoring for. I got a ton done and will continue my efforts today. I did have time for a nice swim and an ice bath.

This blog post, which took about 2 hours to prepare, was published at 7:29am from my home in Indian Lake Estates on yet another foggy morning.

Hooptie Spoonbill Mini-IPT

Not much time left!

The Hooptie Roseate Spoonbill Mini-IPT announced on Wednesday past has two full slots left. Please call us at 863-692-0906 or e-mail with questions or to check on availability. Scroll down here for details and prices and for the skinny on our morning and Saturday-only rates.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links :)

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. B&H is recommended for you major photography gear purchases, Amazon for your household, entertainment, and general purpose stuff. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod heads, Gitzo tripods, Wimberley heads and plates, LensCoats and accessories, and the like. 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 we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. I just learned that my account was suspended during my absence; it should be up and running by Monday at the latest.

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 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 visiting the BAA Online store as well.



Canon’s Two New 50+ Megapixel Camera Bodies

Many of you have read about the two new Canon 50+ megapixel bodies, the Canon EOS 5DS DSLR and the Canon EOS 5DS R DSLR. The two cameras look, sound, and pretty much are quite similar. I have withheld commenting until now because I did not have a good–heck, I did not have any–understanding of the single difference between the two bodies, that being the Low-Pass Filter Effect Cancellation.

If you missed the hugely popular “Canon’s Two New 50+ Megapixel Camera Bodies/You Must Read This Before You Buy,” you can click here to catch up and learn a ton to boot.


roseate-spoonbill-in-mangrove-reflections-_y8a0039-alafaia-banks-fl

This image was created in cloudy conditions on February 23, 2105 on the Hoopite Deux SPoonbills and More IPT with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 2/3 stops off the light grey sky worked out to -2 1/3 stops as framed: 1/1250 sec. at f/4. A quick histogram check showed a perfect exposure.

Four AF points above the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Some who click on the image may enjoy a larger version.

Teleconverter in the Waders Pouch

I had been working with the 600II/1.4X II/7D II rig doing large-in-the-frame verticals of Roseate Spoonbills. But when I saw the long line of pink reflections in the mangrove dark green water I knew that I needed to work wider. So I turned off the camera (to reduce the chance of attracting sensor dust), removed the TC, carefully placed it in the pouch of my neoprene waders, re-mounted the camera, and even remembered to turn the camera back on, something I rarely do…. I metered off the sky as above and was good to go. I had made only a very few frames when the relatively distant bird took flight bound for who-knows-where.

I moved around quite a bit in an effort to find different perspectives on other birds. Note: good photographers are almost constantly moving around in the field. At one point I noticed that I was in water almost to the top of my waders. Ooops. The pouch that the 1.4X III TC was in, along with a 25mm extension tube, was anything but waterproof. I looked down to see the two important items floating in the saltwater that had of course filled the pouch. I went back to the boat, rinsed them both in the fresh water in the cooler, and set them on a towel in the sun to dry. When I got back to the hotel, I placed both items in the far end of a pillowcase placed on a counter, put the hotel hair dryer in the open end of the pillowcase, put it on the low setting, and left it on for 30 minutes.

The end result: the extension tube is fine, the 1.4X III TC is toasted. As TCs are such an important part of what I do, I always travel with three 1.4X III TCs and two 2X III TCs. Thus, I was able to reach into my Think Tank Rolling Bag (click on the link in the right hand column of each blog post for details on those) and grab another 1.4X III. I will be replacing the toasted one today.

Is the Image Above Art? Or Not?

All are invited to share their thoughts either way.


hooptie-card-shadle-aa

Images courtesy of and copyright Captain James Shadle (aka Froggie). All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

The Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Mini IPT. 1 1/2 DAYs: $1250. SAT MAR 7 (full day) and SUN Morning MAR 8, 2015. Working lunch on Saturday included. Strict Limit: 6 photographers/Openings: 2

Either morning photo session only: $475. Saturday morning photo session plus working lunch: $525. Saturday Full Day: $775.

Two great leaders: Captain James Shadle (Nikon) and Canon Explorer of Light Arthur Morris.

Roseate Spoonbill is one of if not the most sought after avian photographic subjects in Florida. They are generally hard to find and somewhat difficult to approach. They are relatively easy to find at Alafia Banks—heck, you can’t miss seeing them, but even there they can on some days be somewhat difficult to approach. On some days we may be able to get ridiculously close to them. The huge incentive to get out to Alafia Banks in early March is the chance to photograph this species at the height of its spectacular breeding plumage….

Weather permitting there will be three boat trips: 2 mornings and 1 afternoons. Mornings at Alafia Banks for spoonbills and Brown Pelicans (with lots of flight photography with the birds likely carrying nesting material), cormorants, ibises (both Glossy and White in breeding plumage. Many of the White Ibises will be sporting their spectacular, distended, red, naked (un-feathered) throat pouches—typically larger in the females. In addition we will get to photograph egrets including Great and Reddish, both in full breeding plumage, shorebirds, and more. There will be lots of flight photography opportunities. The afternoon trip will be either to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and more or to a more sheltered inland rookery location for a variety of nesting birds. In the event of horrific weather artie will either take the group to Fort DeSoto or will conduct an image review/Photoshop session. This IPT includes one working lunch.

Important Notes

We stay in Brandon, FL for this IPT. From our hotel it is only about 20 minutes to the dock. The plan is for all sessions to be by boat. For the Alafia Banks segments, Captain Shadle provides light weight chest waders as much of the photography will be done while we are standing in fairly shallow water behind our tripods. We help you get in and out of the boat with your gear. This is likely not the best trip for folks with balance problems. Note however that some folks may opt to stay on the boat. They always have lots of good chances for flight photography of spoonbills and other species but are almost always pretty far away from the spoonbills that land.

This mini Hooptie IPT represents an incredible opportunity. It may fill quickly. We hope that you can join us. Scroll down for registration info.


hooptie-card-artie-layers-cc

All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks early in the season. Images copyright Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

Hooptie Mini-IPT Registration Info

Payment in full for this short notice trip is of course due upon registration. Call the office at 863-692-0906 to arrange to send us a check for payment in full (preferred) or to put the whole thing on a credit card. If by check, it should be made out to “Arthur Morris” and be mailed to BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. If you cancel and the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee.

However you arrange for payment, please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with the paperwork. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

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