This image was created on Eastern Island, Midway. Each group gets to spend one long day there. It is accessible only by boat. We went over on Thursday past. This image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at -1/3 stop: 1/200 sec. at f/13 set manually.
Murphy’s Law of Nests…
Murphy’s Law of Nests states that all bird nests have at least once branch or stick too many. For the past 28 years, this law has proven true without exception…
This is the original image.
Try as I might by changing my perspective, I could not lose the ugly branch in the lower left corner. Many folks would opt to leave that branch saying that it was there, that it was part of the image. They would continue by saying that it is not a distraction. I am fine with that. For me, however, the branch is a huge distraction. My feelings are that the image with the stick is an image of a male Great Frigatebird sitting on the nest with it pouch inflated and that the image with the stick removed is an image of a male Great Frigatebird sitting on the nest with it pouch inflated…. The natural history of the situation has not been changed by the removal of the stick.
This composite shows the lower left hand corner before the stick was dealt with (on our right, of course), and that same corner after the stick (and a bit of feather fluff) was removed (on the left).
Combatting Murphy’s Law of Nests…
The offending stick was “removed” (actually covered) with a series of Quick Masks, probably more than 25 in all. Many of the Quick Masks had to be transformed and/or warped (so as to match the shape of the leaf where the Quick Mask was being placed). In addition I used the Clone Stamp Tool (often set at about 60% Opacity). I also used the Patch Tool usually to even out any repeat patterns caused either by the Clone Stamp Tool or more often by duplicating a Quick Mask Layer (one or more times). The basics of Quick Masking as well as the use of the Patch and the Clone Stamp Tools are described in detail in the recently updated version of Digital Basics. (Updates will continue to be free for as long as I am pushing the shutter button ). Advanced Quick Masking techniques are detailed in Robert O’Toole’s APTATS I.
Optimizing the image took about 45 minutes. Was it worth it you ask? For me, the answer is a resounding, “Yes.” Frigatebird nests are often quite messy affairs and this was the cleanest nest that I have ever run across.
Below is a list of the gear that I used to create the images above. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.
Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. The very best professional digital camera body that I have ever used.
And from the BAA On-line Store:
Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
Double Bubble Leve.l You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am on a tripod and not using flash.
Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro Compact Flash Card. These high capacity cards are fast and dependable.
I pack my 800 and tons of other gear in my ThinkTank Airport SecurityTM V2.0 rolling bag for all of my air travel and recommend the slightly smaller Airport InternationalTM V2.0 for most folks. These high capacity bags are well constructed and protect my gear when I have to gate check it on short-hops and puddle jumpers. Each will protect your gear just as well. By clicking on either link or the logo below, you will receive a free gear bag with each order over $50.