The Trap: Lousy Light, Boring Birds « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Trap: Lousy Light, Boring Birds

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This image was created at Nickerson Beach, NY with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops was a big underexposure but I knew that I need some shutter speed: 1/1600 sec. at f/5.6

Lens micro-adjustment: -4. Two sensors below the center AI Servo/Rear Focus AF (with AF active at the moment of exposure).

For a greater appreciation of the image, click on the photo. Then click on the enlarged version to close it.

The Trap: Lousy Light, Boring Birds

You put your head on the pillow and dream of nice sunrise and gorgeous light. The alarm rings all too soon. You leave in the dark and make the one hour drive to the beach. You notice that there are no stars…. You arrive, get your gear, and head out. There are few birds and no light. So you find the last flock of skimmers–most have left the area, and created some pleasing blurs. You walk up and down the beach and there is nothing but gulls. Herring Gulls. And most of them are the very plain worn juveniles and one year old birds.

At such times its easy to just quit. But determined photographers never quit. They may think blurs or they may think high key, but they do not quit. They walk up and back looking for a good situation. They chat with others to garner information. And then they take even longer walks. On the morning of September 3 Denise Ippolito and I had just such a morning. We both made some great blurs. Denise took one of those walks. She met an older man. He told her of a tame Buff-breasted Sandpiper. I stayed behind and found this young Herring Gull taking a bath. When he flapped, I made six images. All were sharp but this was the best by far. To see what others had to say about this image, click here.

Seeing that Denise had found something to photograph I headed after her and found her with a shorebird treasure. I made about 200 images of the bird. It was a pain in the butt bird. It never left the beach wrack. Seaweed and plastic. Cups and seaweed. Rope and plastic. You gotta love it. Denise actually worked ten times harder than I did that morning. My lower back was killing me from kneeling and getting up. Kneeling and getting up. Check out tomorrow’s blog post to see how I did with the buff-breasted.

The next time that you head out and find conditions less than ideal, don’t quit. Keep on plugging; most days you will be nicely rewarded.

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Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the image in today’s blog post. 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.

Support both the Bulletins and the Blog by making all your B & H purchases here.

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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. My two Mark IVs are my workhorse digital camera bodies.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders 🙂
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.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
Be sure to check out our camera body User’s Guides here.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV User’s Guide. Learn to use your Mark IV the way that I use mine.

1 comment to The Trap: Lousy Light, Boring Birds

  • avatar cheapo

    It’s a great image. Nice to see a juvenile not harassing older gulls with that hilarious pathetic wheedling whistle! I love those juves, they are comical!