Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
June 26th, 2017

Keep or Delete Cluttered Pelican Image? 100-400 II/5D Mark IV for Flight in LaJolla. And Pretty Cool Image Optimization.

Stuff

Nothing too exciting on Sunday. I worked on blog posts, enjoyed another nice, easy, and early 1/2 mile swim, a short nap, and I continued eating well. After spending more than two hours on the phone, I finished reviewing Arash Hazeghi’s update of the The Professional Post Processing Guide so as to reflect the NeatImage V8.2 release. He skillfully re-wrote and perfected three new pages of how-to text. The original guide was based on V7.6. The two versions are quite different. The last and free update will be announced this week.

Tennis Elbow Miracle Cure

I was shocked by how many folks responded to yesterday’s Tennis Elbow Miracle Cure info offer. Even Dr. Dan Holland, a great A.R.T. chiropractor on Long Island, took me up on my offer. If you missed the offer, you can check it out in the previous blog post.

One Mongoose M3.6 Head still in Stock …

For the first time in months, we had Mongoose M3.6 heads in stock. We got our hands on six the other day; three were already accounted for and we sold another two this week … Call Jim at 863-692-0906 weekdays to order the last one. We have ordered more.

The Streak

Just in case you have not been counting, today makes 13 days in a row with a new educational blog post 🙂

Booking.Com

I could not secure the lodging that I needed for the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT in Dunbar, Scotland, so I went from Hotels.Com to Booking.Com and was pleasantly surprised. I found the rooms that I needed with ease at a hotel that was not even on Hotels.Com, and it was a nice hotel that I had seen in person. And the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward.




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 job for a long time now–please remember to use the BAA B&H links for your major and minor 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.

_P3A0282-La-Jolla,-CA

This image was created on the 2017 San Diego IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 220mm) and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +2 2/3 stops off the light gray sky: 1/640 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. Daylight WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: +2.

Center AF point/Manual selection/AI Servo/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point fell on the bottom of the middle of the bill, just this side of the plane of the bird’s eye.

Brown Pelican landing/original

Keep or Delete?

As captured, there are several serious problems with this image. The group of cut-off pelicans in the lower right, the pelican head in the lower left, and what looks like an extraneous pelican wing on the frame edge to our left of the landing bird’s right foot are all major distractions to me. Optimizing the image for color and contrast should be straightforward.

Would you keep or delete this image?

100-400 II/5D Mark IV for Flight in LaJolla

The 100-400II is a superb flight lens when working with subjects at relatively short range. Many folks like to zoom out continuously as the bird gets closer. I think that doing this may adversely affect the accuracy of autofocus so I take the opposite approach once I realize that the bird will be too big in the frame. I estimate the focal length that I may need, zoom out quickly, re-acquire focus, and wait for the bird to get big enough in the frame (and then fire off a frame or two). That is exactly what I did here. Zoom lenses can often save the day in situations like this.

Brown-Pelcian-landing-_P3A0282-La-Jolla,-CA

This image was created on the 2017 San Diego IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 220mm) and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +2 2/3 stops off the light gray sky: 1/640 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. Daylight WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: +2.

Center AF point/Manual selection/AI Servo/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point fell on the bottom of the middle of the bill, just this side of the plane of the bird’s eye.

Brown Pelican landing

The Image Optimization

While converting the image in DPP 4 I increased the contrast a bit and moved the Shadow slider to the right to deepen the BLACKs. As always, Arash’s noise reduction values were reflected in my (saved) ISO 1600 5D IV recipe. A Level adjust combined with a 30% opacity layer of Auto Contrast brought the image to life. I used the Clone Stamp Tool and the Patch Tool to execute the Divide and Conquer technique to eliminate the distracting pelican parts. I ran my NIK 30-30 recipe on the bird only and sharpened the face only with a Contrast Mask.

Most everything above plus tons more 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 Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs and Dodge and Burn, a variety of making selections, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.

The Curves on a Layer Color Balancing technique will be included for the first time in the 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, DPP 4 BASICS, and a simplified method of applying Neat Image noise reduction. Along with all of the Photoshop stuff from Digital Basics that I still use. Learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Learn how and why I and other discerning Canon shooters convert nearly all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 using Canon Digital Photo Professional in the DPP 4 RAW conversion Guide here.

San-Diego-2017-card

2017 in San Diego was a very good year ….

2018 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART IPT: Monday, JAN 15 thru and including the morning session on Friday, JAN 19, 2018: 4 1/2 days: $2099.
Limit: 10: Openings: 4

Meet and Greet at 6:30pm on the evening before the IPT begins; Sunday, Jan 14, 2018.

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (usually nesting and displaying) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Wood Duck and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heerman’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seal (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lion; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Please note: formerly dependable, both Wood Duck and Marbled Godwit have been declining at their usual locations for the past two years …


san-diego-card-neesie

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects. With annual visits spanning more than three decades I have lot of experience there….

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You can do most of your photography with an 80- or 100-400 lens …

Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter?


san-diego-card-b

Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings.

The San Diego Details

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

A $599 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 9/11//2016. 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. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.






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.

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use the logo link above.

Amazon Canada

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

Facebook

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

Typos

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

June 25th, 2017

Canon 100-400 II/1.4X III/5D Mark IV Deadly in LaJolla. My Self Critique. And Another Big Fat Liar ...

Stuff

Nothing too exciting on Saturday. I worked on blog posts, enjoyed a nice, easy, early 1/2 mile swim, a short nap, and I continued eating well. And I started reviewing Arash Hazeghi’s update of the The Professional Post Processing Guide so as to reflect the NeatImage V8.2 release. The original guide was based on V7.6. The two versions are quite different. I

I was glad to learn of the sale of Marina Scarr’s Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and that the sale of Brent Bridges’ 5D Mark III & 28-135IS package, 7D II, old 100-400, 1.4X III TC, and Induro CT 304 became pending, all of the above on the first day of listing.

I was more than thrilled to learn that San Diego IPT veteran and Galapagos 2017 Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime registrant Loren Waxman signed up for the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT that is now sold out.

Tennis Elbow Miracle Cure

If there is anyone out there in pain from tennis elbow or from the closely related Gitzo steel tripod elbow, please click shoot me an e-mail by clicking here. I learned this simple exercise from the brilliant Dr Cliff Oliver of San Diego. 31 folks in pain have tried it, including me. Though the exercise seems to make no sense at all, 30 folks were completely and miraculously healed in 2-3 days. The other one did not do the exercises 🙂

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens for Canon EF

Price Reduced $200 on June 25, 2017.

Multiple IPT veteran Brent Bridges is also offering a used Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports lens for Canon EF in near-mint condition for only $999 (was $1199). The sale includes the original product box, a LensCoat, the instruction manual, the lens strap & hood, and insured ground shipping by major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Brent by e-mail or by phone at 770-565-5012 (Eastern time).

Lots of folks on recent IPTs have been using this relatively new Sigma lens with excellent results. artie

One Mongoose M3.6 Head still in Stock …

For the first time in months, we had Mongoose M3.6 heads in stock. We got our hands on six the other day; three were already accounted for and we sold another two this week … Call Jim at 863-692-0906 weekdays to order the last one. We have ordered more.

The Streak

Just in case you have not been counting, today makes 12 days in a row with a new educational blog post 🙂

Booking.Com

I could not secure the lodging that I needed for the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT in Dunbar, Scotland, so I went from Hotels.Com to Booking.Com and was pleasantly surprised. I found the rooms that I needed with ease at a hotel that was not even on Hotels.Com, and it was a nice hotel that I had seen in person. And the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward.




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 job for a long time now–please remember to use the BAA B&H links for your major and minor 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.

Black-Turnstone-_P3A2854-La-Jolla,-CA

This image was created on the 2017 San Diego IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: +5.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the side of the bird’s breast just in front of the bend of the wing, right on the same plane as the bird’s eye.

Black Turnstone, winter plumage

100-400 II/1.4X III/5D Mark IV Deadly in LaJolla

The hand held 100-400 II/1.4X III/5D Mark IV combo is deadly on the cliffs of La Jolla, both on the pelican cliffs and the low cliffs. In general, you do not need the 1.4X TC for the pelican as they are so tame and so close. Being able to zoom in and out while hand holding a lightweight lens is hugely advantageous when you are trying to frame a pelican head throw, wing stretch, or squabble. And the 1.4 is a great flight lens for large birds. When going after the smaller shorebirds at 560mm you gain a ton in maneuverability while losing a bit of reach (as compared to the 500 II or the 600 II with a TC). Having to move the tripod to stay on sun angle or to keep up with the birds as they forage is a big pain. It is conceivable that one could do the whole San Diego IPT with just a 100-400 II. With a 1.4X TC in their pocket. And that goes double for folks using a 7D Mark II.

Self Critique

I do not have many good images of this West Coast species. Before last year, all of them were made with big glass and TCs. I love everything about this image: a good exposure (see more on that below), the sharpness, the image design with the bird nicely back in the frame, the o-o-f background that comes with having the bird right on the edge of the rock shelf, the soft light that is the result of a light cloud in front of the sun, the raised foot, and the delicious, earth-toned background colors (and the patterns there as well). And how could I almost miss the perfect head angle?

(Sorry Bug Bob — I just could not resist the comma after closing the parens around see more on that below” …)

Did I miss anything good or bad?

DPP4BlkTSN

The DPP 4 screen capture for today’s featured image

Another Lying Histogram

Note in the DPP 4 screen capture that though there is no data at all anywhere near the rightmost box of the histogram, the RGB values for the brightest WHITEs on the bird’s flank are R = 240, G = 239, B = 229. I certainly would not want to go any brighter with the WHITEs.

So again, what’s the lesson? In situations where middle and dark tones prevail but where there are small areas of WHITE in an image, there may be no data at all in the rightmost box of the histogram even when the exposure is pretty much correct. If and when you get more than a very few blinkies on the WHITEs, you will want to go a click faster on the shutter speed (1/3 stop faster).

ISO Question

Why might ISO 800 been a better choice than ISO 400 for this image. Note that I was crouching …

San-Diego-2017-card

2017 in San Diego was a very good year ….

2018 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART IPT: Monday, JAN 15 thru and including the morning session on Friday, JAN 19, 2018: 4 1/2 days: $2099.
Limit: 10: Openings: 4

Meet and Greet at 6:30pm on the evening before the IPT begins; Sunday, Jan 14, 2018.

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (usually nesting and displaying) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Wood Duck and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heerman’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seal (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lion; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Please note: formerly dependable, both Wood Duck and Marbled Godwit have been declining at their usual locations for the past two years …


san-diego-card-neesie

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects. With annual visits spanning more than three decades I have lot of experience there….

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You can do most of your photography with an 80- or 100-400 lens …

Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter?


san-diego-card-b

Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings.

The San Diego Details

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

A $599 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 9/11//2016. 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. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.






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.

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use the logo link above.

Amazon Canada

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

Facebook

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

Typos

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

June 24th, 2017

Excited By Common Cranes ... Killing It With the Creative Use of Upper Large Zone AF. And Another Lying Histogram.

Stuff

Nothing too exciting on Friday. I worked on blog posts, sent Jim home early, spent lots of time waiting for the Fed-Ex Ground and UPS guys — both came eventually, enjoyed a nice, easy 1/2 mile swim, a short nap, and continued eating well. And I did start a new section in the current workflow guide. My plan is to put a few good hours of work in there on Saturday …

Mongoose M3.6 Heads in Stock

For the first time in months, we have Mongoose M3.6 heads in stock. We got our hands on six the other day; three were already accounted for and we sold another two this week … Call Jim at 863-692-0906 weekdays to order yours.

The Streak

Just in case you have not been counting, today makes 11 days in a row with a new educational blog post 🙂

Booking.Com

I could not secure the lodging that I needed for the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT in Dunbar, Scotland, so I went from Hotels.Com to Booking.Com and was pleasantly surprised. I found the rooms that I needed with ease at a hotel that was not even on Hotels.Com, and it was a nice hotel that I had seen in person. And the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward.




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 job for a long time now–please remember to use the BAA B&H links for your major and minor 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.

Common-Crane-_W5A7447-Kuusamo,-Finland

This image was created on the first afternoon of the Finland IPT from a small blind with the Wimberley V2 Tripod Head-mounted -mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: 0.

Upper Large Zone/AI Servo/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The system brilliantly selected an AF point that fell on the bird’s upper back as seen in the DPP 4 screen capture below, right on the same plane as the bird’s eye.

Common Crane, Kuusamo, Finland

Excited By Common Cranes …

I love photographing cranes. Sandhill Cranes by my home. Sandhill Cranes on migration in the the western and central US. And best of all, the Red-crowned Cranes in Japan. So when our guide in Finland suggested on our first afternoon that we might have a chance to photograph Common Cranes from a blind at a nearby lake, I was excited. Until we got there. There were lots of distant cranes on the shore of the lake. The best blinds appeared to be the ones on the right, near the snow-covered shore. So I got into the cramped blind all the way on the left. A few cranes approached the shore well to my right and I made a few long-range snaps. There were lots of Whooper Swans to photograph but I was pretty much sated on them as I have been to Japan many times. And the settings for the swans in Japan were a lot nicer than in Finland.

I wanted Common Cranes. But for much of the afternoon, that seemed only a dream. The sun peeked through late in the day and then, as if in a dream, several cranes flew in to my left, landed, and walked into the sweet sunlight. Some even posed for a few moments. The frame above is my favorite from that afternoon, though I did create a few nice flight images in nearly impossible conditions (due to the blind).

DPP4CommonCrane

The DPP 4 screen capture for today’s featured image

Killing It With the Creative Use of Upper Large Zone AF

As regular readers know, I have been using and loving Upper Large Zone AF for tall vertical birds for months. At times, you might give up just a bit of AF accuracy but you gain amazing flexibility in framing. With the crane relatively close, the bird was borderline too-large-in-the-frame at 1200mm. I was considered switching to the 1.4X III TC but knew that the bird would likely shift position, and worse yet, the shaft of sunlight on the water was quite narrow. If it moved at all, the magical light would be gone. Just then the bird struck a gorgeous over-the-shoulder pose. Thinking fast, I was able to get the the bottom left AF point in the Upper Large Zone array to focus on the crane’s upper back as seen by the illuminated red AF point in the DPP 4 screen capture immediately above. I created six images in the series and one was sharper than the next.

By sticking with it and thinking creatively about the AF system, I was able to turn a near-impossible situation into a series of very fine images.

Another Lying Histogram

Note in the DPP 4 screen capture that though there is no data at all in the rightmost box of the histogram, that the RGB values for the brightest WHITEs on the bird’s neck are R = 243, G = 235, B = 212. I would not want to go any brighter with the WHITEs. Strangely — and I have no explanation for this — the BLUE histogram is farther to the right of the GREEN histogram. Understand though, that the high value for RED reflects the warm light of late afternoon.

So what’s the lesson? In situations where middle and dark tones prevail but where there are small areas of WHITE in an image, there may be no data at all in the rightmost box of the histogram even when the exposure is pretty much correct.

San-Diego-2017-card

2017 in San Diego was a very good year ….

2018 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART IPT: Monday, JAN 15 thru and including the morning session on Friday, JAN 19, 2018: 4 1/2 days: $2099.
Limit: 10: Openings: 4

Meet and Greet at 6:30pm on the evening before the IPT begins; Sunday, Jan 14, 2018.

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (usually nesting and displaying) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Wood Duck and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heerman’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seal (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lion; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Please note: formerly dependable, both Wood Duck and Marbled Godwit have been declining at their usual locations for the past two years …


san-diego-card-neesie

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects. With annual visits spanning more than three decades I have lot of experience there….

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You can do most of your photography with an 80- or 100-400 lens …

Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter?


san-diego-card-b

Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings.

The San Diego Details

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

A $599 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 9/11//2016. 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. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.






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.

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use the logo link above.

Amazon Canada

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

Facebook

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

Typos

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