September 30th, 2014

Hard to Understand..../Image Design Principles/Shorebird ID/Time is Running Out

The Streak Continues: 304

I have just about finished with my 2013 tax return; today I need to add the car stuff and go over all of the credit card statements with a fine-toothed comb. It was sunny for the first time in what seemed like a month for yesterday’s 2/3 mile swim. Morning meditation, a late afternoon nap, and an evening ice bath rounded out the day. I was glad to see the Kansas City Chiefs kick the New England Patriots butts on Monday Night Football. I will never understand why so many experts want to award the Super Bowl trophy to Pretty Boy Tom Brady and the Patriots every year before the season starts! This blog post, the 304rd in a row, took me about three hours to prepare. It was published at about 7:00am from my home in Indian Lake Estates, FL.

One of our four perfectly-qualified volunteer reviewers returned his edit of the DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion Guide to me via e-mail yesterday afternoon. I will not get to look at it for a few days….

To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we do ask that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, and the like. We sell only what I used, 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.

Hard to Understand

When I planned the first-ever BIRDS AS ART In-the-Field/Meetup Workshop Session (ITF/MWS) at Fort DeSoto and priced the afternoon of instruction at only $50, I was positive that it would sell out instantly. Wow, was I wrong. This session is free for folks attending the complete IPT and all three registrants will be attending the ITF/MWS. Only two other photographers, however, have signed up. Here is what baffles me: whenever I am afield, be it at Fort DeSoto, Nickerson Beach, Bosque del Apache, or the cliffs at La Jolla, I see folks with many thousands of dollars worth of photo gear. And the great percentage of those folks are doing lots of things wrong, things that make it impossible to create even a few good images. Heck, many of these folks easily have more than $20,000 worth of gear. The fact is that when I see someone doing everything right they stick out like the proverbial sore thumb….

I planned the first BIRDS AS ART In-the-Field/Meetup Workshop Session so that I could introduce folks to what goes on at an IPT on a nearly-free basis. There is so, so much to learn when you are in the field with a skilled, experienced instructor. As I have said here before and often, many folks think that buying a big lens and a professional digital camera body will make the a good photographer. Many of them simply do not understand the value of hard work, study, practice, and good instruction.

Why my plan failed is hard to understand….

Scroll down in this blog post for complete details on both the ITF/MWS and the complete IPT.

GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 14-28, 2015 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $12,499. Limit 14 including the leader:/Openings: 5.

Though my two-week Galapagos Photo-Cruises are without equal there are too many openings on the 2015 cruise. If you are at all interested, please get in touch with me via e-mail and I will shoot you the current itinerary. I would be glad to design a personalized payment plan for you.

Right now we have three couples and a single female seriously interested; I am hoping to fill this trip soon.

My trip has world’s best guide, a killer itinerary, a great boat (the Samba), and the best leader with eight Galapagos cruises under his belt. Pre-trip and pre-landing location-specific gear advice. In-the-field photo instruction and guidance. Jeez, I almost forgot: fine dining at sea! See the blog post here for some great images. Scroll down here for complete details and to learn how to request the itinerary.


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This image was created on October 29 with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the old Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens now replaced by the Canon 500mm f/4L EF IS II lens, the Canon 1.4x EF tele-extender III, and the e Canon EOS-1D Mark III now replaced by thCanon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/9 in Av mode.

Central Sensor Expand/AI Servo Rear Focus AF as framed on the spot where the neck meets the upper breast was active at the moment of exposure. Though I was focused just a bit on this side of the plane of the eye, f/9, stopped down 1 1/3 stops from wide open, gave me enough depth-of-field to render the eye sharp. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

Image Design Principles

Compare the two images in this blog post. Why did I go with horizontal format for the image above? With the bird near the beach, there was no reflection so I went with a near-rule of thirds composition by keeping the bird well back in the frame.

Why did I go with a vertical for the image below? To include the soft but rather pleasing reflection.

ID

What species is featured in the image above. Do you know if it is an adult or a hatch year (juvenile) bird?

Hand Holding the 500 II

To learn about my experience hand holding the 500 II at Fort DeSoto, click here.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20% plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight. Click here to see all the current listings.

The Gear That Was Used to Create Today’s Images

Used Canon EOS-1D Mark III

Michael Zajac is offering a Canon EOS-1D Mark III professional digital camera body in Excellent condition for $1250. The sale includes the battery charger, one battery, the original paperwork, the camera strap, the original box, and shipping to the continental US.

Please contact Michael via e-mail or by phone at 732-979 -6644. Photos are available upon request.

Some EOS-1D Mark III bodies originally had AF problems. Michael’s did not. I have seen his great flight images made with this camera. This body features a 1.3X crop factor sensor and is a great step-up for someone who wants to take a big step up from a 7D. It’s powerful battery drives AF much faster than the pro-sumer bodies especially with either a 1.4X or 2X teleconverter in place.

Used Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM Lens

IPT veteran Stuart Hahn is offering a used original owner Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM lens in excellent condition with clean glass for $5250. B&H is offering a virtually identical used “old 500″ for $6,299.95; you can save more than $1000 by grabbing Stu’s lens asap. The sale includes the front leather lens hood, the rear dust cap, a used RRS B-91 Flash Bracket, the original case with keys, and insured shipping via UPS Ground to US addresses only. Your lens will be shipped only after your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Stu via e-mail or by phone (after October 3) at 916-485-1630 (Pacific time). Please note that Stu will be in Brazil beginning 9/22 and returning on October 3. He will try to answer e-mails if possible.

Used Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM Lens

Dan Womack is offering a used Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM lens in excellent condition with clean glass with a few small nicks on the lens hood for $5150. B&H is offering a virtually identical used “old 500″ for $6,299.95; you can save more than $1000 by grabbing Dan’s lens asap. The sale includes the front leather hood, the rear dust cap, the original case with keys, and insured shipping to US addresses only. Your lens will be shipped only after your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Dan via e-mail or by phone at 337 412 1898.


blog-a-_64j0020-fort-desoto-park-st-petersburg-fl

This is another October 29 image. It too was created with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the old Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens now replaced by the Canon 500mm f/4L EF IS II lens, the Canon 1.4x EF tele-extender III, and the e Canon EOS-1D Mark III now replaced by thCanon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/800 sec. at f/8 in Av mode.

Central Sensor Expand/AI Servo Rear Focus AF on the bird’s eye and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

Shorebirds; Beautiful Beachcombers

Written for naturalists and birders, the text tells you everything you’ve always wanted to know about North America’s sandpipers, godwits, yellowlegs, phalaropes, plovers, avocets, stilts, and oystercatchers. With 70 of Arthur’s images and 26 more by some of the world’s best nature photgraphers, this book contains the finest collection of shorebird photographs ever published in a single volume. You will learn not only to identify all of North America’s regularly-occurring species, but to age them as juveniles, first-winter birds, breeding adults, faded molting adults, or winter (basic) plumage adults.

To learn more the species featured in today’s blog post get yourself a signed copy of my Shorebirds/Beautiful Beachcombers. The book is out of print and when our last few copies are gone they will be hard to get.

ID

What species is featured in the image above. Do you know if it is an adult or a hatch year (juvenile)?


desoto-fall-card-b

Fort DeSoto in fall is rich with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or early October. I hope that you can join me there this October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

First-ever BIRDS AS ART In-the-Field/Meetup Workshop Session (ITF/MWS): $50

Join me on the afternoon of October 10, 2014 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive afternoon workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tours. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal registration fee. Your registration fee is non-refundable. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place at least two weeks before the event.


desoto-fall-card-a-layers

Obviously folks attending the IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are relatively short in October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Fort DeSoto Fall IPT/October 11-13, 2014. 3 FULL DAYs: $1099. Limit 8/Openings: 5.

It’s Getting Late!

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds in fall. There they join hundreds of egrets, herons, night-herons, gulls, and terns who winter on the T-shaped peninsula that serves as their wintering grounds. With any luck, we should get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher likely. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Tricolored Heron are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. And Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork would not be unexpected.

Folks who sign up for the IPT are welcome to join us on the ITF/MWS on Friday afternoon as my guest. See above for details on that.

On the IPT you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

At lunch (included) we will review my images–folks learn a ton watching me edit–why keep this one and delete that one. If you opt to bring your laptop, we will take a look at five of your best images from the morning session. We will process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time.

If you decide to register and are traveling to attend this IPT, please make your reservations at the Beachcomber Beach Resort, 6200 Gulf Blvd, St. Petersburg (St. Pete Beach), FL 33706 (727-367-1902) as soon as possible as rooms for the weekend days are scarce: ARR: 10 OCT/DEP 14 OCT. I stayed there on my last DeSoto visit and was quite happy with it. Lodging is tough in Florida at this season…. The best airport is Tampa (TPA). It is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel so if you are interested it would be a good idea to register now and make your hotel reservations as well. We can, however, coordinate easily with local folks who opt to stay at home either by cell phone or e-mail.

Because of the relatively late date, payment is full is due upon registration either by check or credit card. If the former, please e-mail us immediately so that we can save you a spot. If the latter, please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand to register . Your registration fee is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with eight so please check your plans carefully before committing. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, gear advice, and first morning meeting place about one month before this IPT.


fort-desoto-card

BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT.

Fort DeSoto Site Guide

Can’t make the IPT? Get yourself a copy of the Fort DeSoto Site Guide. Learn the best spots, where to be when in what season in what weather. Learn the best wind directions for the various locations. BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. You can see all of them here.

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Typos

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

September 29th, 2014

Big-time Exposure Mystery/Blur Haters Welcome. Are you as smart as Denise Ippolito? I was not...

The Streak Continues: 303

Yesterday I made more progress on my 2013 tax return. Swim, nap, meditation, ice bath, and a another good night’s sleep. And lots of boring NFL games on the big screen. This blog post, the 303rd in a row, took me about three hours to prepare. It was published at about 7:15am from my home in Indian Lake Estates, FL.

The 3rd draft of the DPP 4.0 guide is now in the hands of our skilled, amazingly-qualified group of volunteer reviewers.

To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we do ask that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, and the like. We sell only what I used, 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.

GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 14-28, 2015 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $12,499. Limit 14 including the leader:/Openings: 5.

Though my two-week Galapagos Photo-Cruises are without equal there are too many openings on the 2015 cruise. If you are at all interested, please get in touch with me via e-mail and I will shoot you the current itinerary. I would be glad to design a personalized payment plan for you.

My trip has world’s best guide, a killer itinerary, a great boat (the Samba), and the best leader with eight Galapagos cruises under his belt. Pre-trip and pre-landing location-specific gear advice. In-the-field photo instruction and guidance. Jeez, I almost forgot: fine dining at sea! See the blog post here for some great images. Scroll down here for complete details and to learn how to request the itinerary.


snow-geese-massive-blur-1-10-sec-lighter-_a1c0006-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm-2-copy

This image was created on one of last year’s Bosque del Apache Instructional Photo-Tours with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (Teleconverter) (hand held at 98mm), and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 50. Evaluative metering at about -2/3 stop to eliminate blinkies on the geese on the ground: 1/10 sec. at f/25 in Manual mode. AWB.

Central Sensor Surround/AI Servo Rear Focus AF on the flock in flight as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. (See the BreezeBrowser screen capture below.) Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial.

Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

This is the optimized image. It was cropped to a pano from the full frame original; you can see the full frame original in the BreezeBrowser Main View screen capture below.

The Optimized Image Cropped to a Pano

For the reasons detailed below, I could not–though I loved the degree of blurring of the flock in flight–figure out what to do with this image. Until last night. Keep on reading.

Three Stop Neutral Density Filters

In bright sun, it is impossible to get down to the really slow shutter speeds that I love to use to create pleasing blurs, even at ISO 50. To make that possible, I often employ a 3-stop (I am not sure why they call them 0.9…) Neutral Density (ND) filter. This allows me to get to a shutter speed that is three stops slower than if I were not using the ND filter. In low light conditions using the 3-stop ND allows me to work at wider apertures; that saves me lots of time when dust-spotting.

The B+W 77mm 0.9 ND MRC filters are solid neutral density filters that block three stops of light. The 0.9 density creates a darkening of the entire image, allowing you to photograph with a wider aperture or slower shutter speed than normal. By slowing your exposure time or increasing your aperture, you are able to control depth of field and convey movement more easily. Neutral density filters do not affect the overall coloration of the image and if you properly expose to the right they do not effect the brightness of the image either.

Last year I used a B+W 77mm 0.9 ND 103 filter screwed onto the 77mm front of my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. This year I plan to upgrade to the MRC version: B+W 77mm 0.9 ND MRC 103M filter.

Why the upgrade to the MRC version? The Multi-Resistant Coating (MRC) is an anti-reflection coating and, in addition, offers a more protective surface. It helps to increase light transmission by reducing reflections, scattered light, and ghosting should you point your lens back towards the sun. Additionally, it offers greater protection to the filter substrate and stays cleaner for longer than uncoated filters.


brbr-scrn-cap-goose-exp-question

This is the Breezebrowser Main View screen capture for today’s image.

Getting the Exposure Right for Today’s Image

While the original image looks well under-exposed, do take a close look at the histogram. The blue arrow shows that the bulk of the WHITE tones are in the fourth box of the histogram. The red arrow shows that the brightest WHITEs are well into the fifth histogram box. As they should be. As I wrote in the image caption above, “Evaluative metering at about -2/3 stop to eliminate blinkies on the geese on the ground.” The exposure for the complete image is, therefore, perfect.

The Exposure Mystery

It was a clear sunny morning. The light falling on the Snow Geese on the ground was the same as the light falling on the blurred flock in flight.

Why were the birds in flight rendered so much darker than the birds on the ground??? Hint: the slower the shutter speed in a situation like this, the darker the birds in motion will be. Can you figure out why the difference? If yes, please leave a comment and please be specific.

The Breezebrowser Main View Screen Capture

Above is the BreezeBrowser Main View screen capture that for today’s image. Note that the illuminated red AF square that shows the sensor that was of active at the moment of exposure. In BreezeBrowser you need to check “Show Focus Points” under View to activate this feature. To see the focus points in DPP V.3-point whatever check “AF Point” under View or hit Alt L. To learn how and why I use DPP (Canon Digital Photo Professional) to convert my RAW files, see the info on our DPP RAW Conversion Guide here. The DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion Guide that I am working on with Arash Hazeghi is nearing completion.

Regular readers know that I use and depend on BreezeBrowser every day of the year. It allows me to sort my keepers and delete the rejects faster than any other Windows browsing program. We use it on the main computer in the home office to catalog our images file-drawer style. And the companion program, Downloader Pro allows me to download my images quickly and conveniently. It automatically adds my IPTC data and the shooting location. I have it set up to create a folder named by the Month/date/year. The Breezebrowser/Downloader Pro combo saves me many hours each week. To learn more or to purchase this great PC only program, click here. As far as the BreezeBrowser/Downloader Pro Combo goes, if you are using a Windows platform and are not using these two great programs you are at best, wasting your valuable time. Jennifer is loading Parallels onto my new Mac laptop today, that followed by a licensed copy of Windows 7 and then BreezeBrowser Pro and Downloader Pro. See BreezeBrowswer on a Mac for additional details.

There will be lots more coming soon on my switch to the top-of-the-line, super fast, Apple 15.4″ MacBook Pro Notebook Computer with Retina Display.

…..


dpp-4-goose-blur

This is the DPP 4.0 screen capture for today’s image. My recipe with all of my adjustments has been applied to the RAW file. Click on the image to read the fine print.

The RAW Conversion…

I had long realized that creating a pleasing full frame image from the original RAW capture would be nearly impossible. You would need to maintain the detail in the WHITEs of the birds on the ground while lightening the birds in the sky a ton. That could be done rather easily; the problem however would be handling the transition area….

Last night I realized that the answer was to process the RAW file for the upper two-thirds of the image only while ignoring the over-exposed birds on the ground and then cropping to a pano at the bottom of the distant low mountains. I began by moving the Brightness slider to +1.50 stops. (You can see that if you click on the screen capture to view the larger size.) With the exposure for the flock in flight now correct, note that the red highlight warning shows the birds on the ground to be well over-exposed.

The DPP RAW Conversion Guide

To learn why I use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) to convert every image that I work on, click here. Coming very soon: The DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris. The more that I use DPP 4.0 for my RAW conversions the more I learn about it and the more I learn about it the more I am impressed with it. Note: at present, DPP 4.0 will work only with 1D X, 5D III, and 6D images. And the early word is that it will not support the EOS-7D Mark II.


guide-to-pleasing-blurs

Learn the secrets of creating contest winning images in our “A Guide to Pleasing Blurs.”

A Guide to Pleasing Blurs

Pleasing Blurs are not accidents. Learn pretty much everything that there is about creating them in our A Guide to Pleasing Blurs by Denise Ippolito and yours truly.

bosque-2014-a-card

Get your butt on a plane and take advantage of some downright cheap instruction! Please click on the card to enjoy a larger version.

Affordable Bosque Educational Opportunities

I will be at Bosque this year for nearly three full weeks. There are a host of affordable educational opportunities on the slate in conjunction with the Festival of the Cranes. There are four early morning in-the-field photography workshops, Thursday through Sunday, NOV 20-23, 2014. Thursday is sold out, there is some room on the Friday and Sunday sessions, and, at last count, lots of room on the Saturday workshop. Denise and I are co-leading.

We are offering a two part afternoon seminar on Thursday afternoon, NOV 20 from 2-4:30pm as follows:

Part I: Bosque del Apache Photography Basics

Artie and Denise will cover the basics of lens selection, tripod and head selection, image design, getting the right exposure, autofocus options, and the relationship between light direction and wind direction, and will give an overview of the best photographic opportunities at the refuge.

Part II: Creative Photography at Bosque del Apache

Artie and Denise will teach you to think outside the box when photographing at Bosque del Apache. You will learn to create a variety of pleasingly blurred images by using slow shutter speeds, by photographing moving subjects, by zooming during the exposure, and by panning with the lens during the exposure. They will teach you to take advantage of spectacular lighting and weather conditions. They will also cover post processing creative techniques. Limit 50.

On Friday afternoon from 1:00 to 3:00pm I will, as below, be presenting a free slide program entitled “A 20-Year Love Affair With Bosque.”

Click here to register for any of the open events above.

“Love Affair with Bosque.” Sponsored by Canon. Friday, NOV 21, 2014; 1:00 to 2:40pm. Free, at the Bodega Restaurant, Socorro.

A slide program by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Limit 200. Please see the important registration information below.

Arthur Morris first visited Bosque del Apache Refuge in December, 1992 while on sabbatical with his late-wife Elaine While leading his first Bosque del Apache photographic workshop in December, 1994, quite soon after Elaine’s death, he created two iconic Bosque images. His “Blizzard in Blue” was honored in the prestigious 1998 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. “Fire in the Mist” was similarly honored in the 2001 BBC competition and soon thereafter was featured as wrap-around cover art on the coffee table book, Life on the Earth, a celebration of 30 years of the best images from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competitions. Those two images laid the foundation for his more than two decade love affair with the refuge. He has returned every year since then at the Thanksgiving season while leading BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours. In addition, he has two February visits along with two September visits, the latter visits in conjunction with the Bosque del Apache Open Windows Volunteer Program that he founded. Join us for Artie’s photographic celebration of his “Love Affair with Bosque.”

Even though this is free event, you need to click here to register.


bosque-creative-card-2014-1200-wide

Join Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris for two great days of photography, fun, and learning at one of our favorite soul places. We will surely be taking you out of the box on this workshop. Please click on the card to enjoy a larger version.

Bosque del Apache 2014 A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART “Creative Photography Instructional Photo-Tour.” (IPT). NOV 24-25, 2014. 2-FULL DAYS: $729. Leaders: Denise Ippolito & Arthur Morris. Introductory Slide program: 7:00pm on Sunday 11/23.

Important Note

While the 4-DAY Bosque IPT has been sold out for some time, there is still room on the 2-DAY Bosque Creative IPT as detailed here.

Do understand that though we will cover a variety of creative techniques and photograph a variety of subjects, when conditions are perfect for traditional bird photography that is exactly what we will be doing.

Get Out of Your Box!

The Creative Bosque IPT is perfect for folks who want to learn to think outside the box, to create new and different images. This workshop is the perfect add-on for folks who are planning on attending the Festival of the Cranes. Learn to unleash your creative juices at the wondrous Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in San Antonio, New Mexico with two great leaders including the amazingly talented and creative Denise Ippolito. In-the-field instruction will include tips on gear set-up, on creating a variety of pleasing blurs, on getting the right exposure, and on designing pleasing images. And lots more. From vertical pan blurs to subject motion blurs to zoom blurs to multiple exposures we will cover it all. If conditions are perfect, we will not hesitate to take advantage of them to do some traditional bird photography. This workshop will include an inspirational introductory slide program on Sunday evening, 11/23, after dinner on your own, two morning and two afternoon photography sessions, all lunches, a digital workflow and Photoshop session after lunch on Monday, and an image critiquing session after lunch on Tuesday.

A $329 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 7/25/2014. If 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. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris.”) You can also leave your deposit with a credit card by calling the office at 863-692-0906. 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.

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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!

…..

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Typos

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

September 28th, 2014

Don't Be a Square/How Would You Crop This One? And a Killer, Free, CS-6 Crop Tool Tutorial

The Streak Continues: 302

Yesterday I made more progress on my 2013 tax return. Swim, nap, meditation, ice bath, and a another good night’s sleep. This blog post, the 302nd in a row, took me about three hours to prepare. It was published at about 7:15am from my home in Indian Lake Estates, FL.

The 3rd draft of the DPP 4.0 guide is now in the hands of our skilled, amazingly-qualified group of volunteer reviewers.

To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we do ask that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, and the like. We sell only what I used, 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.

GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 14-28, 2015 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $12,499. Limit 14 including the leader:/Openings: 5.

Though my two-week Galapagos Photo-Cruises are without equal there are too many openings on the 2015 cruise. If you are at all interested, please get in touch with me via e-mail and I will shoot you the current itinerary. I would be glad to design a personalized payment plan for you.

My trip has world’s best guide, a killer itinerary, a great boat (the Samba), and the best leader with eight Galapagos cruises under his belt. Pre-trip and pre-landing location-specific gear advice. In-the-field photo instruction and guidance. Jeez, I almost forgot: fine dining at sea! See the blog post here for some great images. Scroll down here for complete details and to learn how to request the itinerary.


09u8786-north-seymour-galapagos

This image was created on the July 2013 Galapagos Photo-Cruise with the hand held Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (with the internal TC in place at 560mm) and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor/AI Servo-Surround/Rear Focus on the middle of the bird’s bill was active at the moment of exposure. (See the BreezeBrowser screen capture below.) Click here if you missed the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image see a larger version.

Large Blue-footed Booby chick

The Original Image Capture

I photographed this large Blue-footed Booby chick on North Seymour Island. My trip is the only one that I know of that offers at least two shots at nesting Blue-footed Boobies, North Seymour and Isla Lobos. Above is the original image capture.

How Would You Crop This One?

Before you scroll down, take a moment to consider exactly how you would crop this image. For me, there was an obvious perfect crop. See image last for that.


brbr-scrn-capt-blue-footed-booby-chick

This is the Breezebrowser Main View Screen Capture.

The Breezebrowser Main View Screen Capture

Above is the BreezeBrowser Main View screen capture that represents today’s image. Note that the illuminated red square on the bill that shows the active sensor that was of active at the moment of exposure. In BreezeBrowser you need to check “Show Focus Points” under View to activate this feature. To see the focus points in DPP V.3-point whatever check “AF Point” under View or hit Alt L. To learn how and why I use DPP (Canon Digital Photo Professional) to convert my RAW files, see the info on our DPP RAW Conversion Guide here. The DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion Guide that I am working on with Arash Hazeghi is nearing completion.

Note the perfect histogram with the WHITEs occupying the center of the rightmost histogram box and no clipped dark tones. Regular readers know that I use and depend on BreezeBrowser every day of the year. It allows me to sort my keepers and delete the rejects faster than any other Windows browsing program. We use it on the main computer in the home office to catalog our images file-drawer style. And the companion program, Downloader Pro allows me to download my images quickly and conveniently. It automatically adds my IPTC data and the shooting location. I have it set up to create a folder named by the Month/date/year. The Breezebrowser/Downloader Pro combo saves me many hours each week. To learn more or to purchase this great PC only program, click here. As far as the BreezeBrowser/Downloader Pro Combo goes, if you are using a Windows platform and are not using these two great programs you are at best, wasting your valuable time. Jennifer is loading Parallels onto my new Mac laptop today, that followed by a licensed copy of Windows 7 and then BreezeBrowser Pro and Downloader Pro. See BreezeBrowswer on a Mac for additional details.

There will be lots more coming soon on my switch to the top-of-the-line, super fast, Apple 15.4″ MacBook Pro Notebook Computer with Retina Display.

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blue-footed-booby-large-chick-_09u8786-north-seymour-galapagos

The perfect crop.

The Perfect Crop

For me, for this image, cropping to a perfect square was the obvious choice. Why?

1-The compositional balance is perfect with a bit more room behind the chick’s head than in front of it, and the perfect amount of room above.
2-The white blob problem in the upper right corner was solved.
3-While a boxy crop might have worked with this image I often find comfort in the symmetry of a perfect 1 X 1 square. In the same manner, I often find comfort by retaining 2X3 or 3X2 proportions of the images as they come out of camera.

Questions?

If you have a question on using the Crop Tool please leave a comment and ask away. artie


cs-6-crop-choices

My Personalized CS-6 Crop Tool Drop Down Menu

CS-6 Crop Tool Tips

It was my great confusion with the Crop Tool in CS-6 that kept me from embracing it full time for more than a year. A combination of help from Denise Ippolito and my own persistence enabled me to finally get it. It seems so simple to me now that I do not see what the great challenge was. Here are some tips:

  • 1-If you want to crop the image without regard for the proportions, select Unconstrained from the drop down menu as shown in the screen capture above.
  • 2-If you want to maintain the original 2X3 or 3X2 proportions, select Original Ratio.
  • 3-If you want to crop to a specific pre-designated proportion, select one of the seven default proportions listed in the first large box in the drop down menu: 1X1 (Square)–as I did for today’s image, 4X5 (8X10), 8.5 X 11, 4X3, 5X7, 2X3 (4X6), or 16X9.
  • 4-The next large box in the Crop Tool drop down menu lists my Saved Presets. I use these for creating JPEGs of various sizes for various uses. Note that each item here is designated in pixels (px). I use 1200 px W (for horizontals) or 900 px H (for verticals) for JPEGs for the blog and for Bird Photographer’s.Net. The two tiny JPEG crops are used to create vertical and horizontal images for the IPT composite cards. 800 px wide is a commonly requested size.
  • 5-If you wish to save a newly designated crop simply hit Save Preset with the new numbers in the two small crop value boxes just to the right of the drop down menu box.
  • 6-If you need to create an image sized to a set of specific dimensions and a specific resolution, select Size and Resolution from the drop down menu. When the dialogue box pops up type in the values for Width, Height, and Resolution and select the appropriate unit from the drop down menu. If you want to save this crop, as you might want to do for an oft-used print size, check the Save as Crop Preset box.


galapagos-composite

Do consider joining me for a once in a lifetime trip to the Galapagos archipelago in July, 2015.

GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 14-28, 2015 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $12,499. Limit 14 including the leader:/Openings: 5.

My two-week Galapagos Photo-Cruises are without equal. The world’s best guide, a killer itinerary, a great boat (the Samba), and the best leader with eight Galapagos cruises under his belt. Pre-trip and pre-landing location-specific gear advice. In-the-field photo instruction and guidance. Jeez, I almost forgot: fine dining at sea!

The great spots that we will visit include Tower Island (including Prince Phillips Steps and Darwin Bay), Hood Island (including Punta Suarez, the world’s only nesting site of Waved Albatross, and Gardner Bay)—each of the preceding are world class wildlife photography designations that rank right up there with Antarctica, Africa, and Midway. We will also visit Fernandina, Puerto Ayora for the tortoises, Puerto Egas—James Bay, North Seymour and Isla Lobos for nesting Blue-footed Booby (most years), South Plaza, Floreana, and Urbina Bay, all spectacular in their own right. We visit every great spot on a single trip. Plus tons more. And there will he lots of opportunities to snorkel on sunny mid-days for those like me who wish to partake.

We will be the first boat on each island in the morning and the last boat to leave each island every afternoon. If we are blessed with overcast weather, we will often spend 5-6 hours at the best sites. And as noted above, mid-day snorkeling is an option on most sunny days depending on location. Note: some of the walks are a bit strenuous. Great images are possible on all landings with a hand held 70-200mm lens and a 1.4X teleconverter. I bring a longer lens ashore on most landings as that fits my style. I generally work with either the Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS or the Canon 200-400mm f/4 L IS with Internal Extender.

Do know that there is a NatureScapes Galapagos trip: one week for $8495. Thus, my trip represents a tremendous value; why go all that way and miss half of the great photographic locations?

The Logistics

Fly to Guayacil, Ecuador on July 12, 2015. Travel insurance/rest day: July 13 (We may or may not offer a photo outing on the 13th). Fly to the archipelago on July 14 and board the Samba. Get off the boat on July 28. Fly to Guayacil that afternoon. Fly home on the early morning of July 29 unless you are staying on or going elsewhere (or catching a red-eye flight on the evening of the 28th).

$12,499 includes just about everything: all transfers, guide and park fees, all food on the boat, transfers and ground transportation, your flights to the archipelago, and three nights (double occupancy) in a top notch hotel in Guayacil. If you are good to go, a non-refundable deposit of $5,000 per person is due immediately. The second payment of $4,000 is not due until 11/1/14. The final payment of $3749 per person will be due on 2/1/15. A $200 discount will be applied to each of the balances for couples or friends who register at the same time.

Purchasing travel insurance within 2 weeks of our cashing your deposit check is strongly recommended. On my past two cruises a total of 5 folks were forced to cancel less than one week prior to the trip. My family and I use Travel Insurance Services and strongly recommend that you do the same.

Not included: your round trip airfare from your home to and from Guayacil, beverages on the boat, phone calls, your meals in Guayacil, personal items, and a $600/person cash tip for the crew and the guide—this works out to roughly $40/day to be shared by the 7 folks who will be waiting on us hand and foot every day for two weeks. The service is so wonderful that many folks choose to tip extra.

Please e-mail for the complete itinerary and for additional info and images. Please cut and paste “Galapagos 2015 Info Please) into the Subject line.

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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, ay, 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, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. :)