Target Acquired; Results as Expected « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Target Acquired; Results as Expected

long-billed-curlew-with-wings-raised-after-bath-_a1c2406-morro-bay-ca

This Long-billed Curlew image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor–right side Expand AF area/AI Servo Rear Focus active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

The bird was moved down and back in the frame using the Layer Masking techniques that I learned from Robert O’Toole’s APTATS II.

Target Acquired; Results as Expected

When I decided to return to Morro Bay, I had one bird in mind: North America’s largest shorebird, Long-billed Curlew. They are plentiful here in late fall, winter, and early spring. And they are relatively tame. Even on the coldest, windiest day in memory, we got some nice images of our target species. And we have continued to do so on the rather pleasant mornings and the unseasonably cold, windy afternoons. What can I say? I love shorebirds, especially the large showy ones.

long-billed-curlew-with-sand-crab-_a1c1846-morro-bay-ca

This image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor–far right side Expand AF area/AI Servo Rear Focus active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

The instructor (hey, that’s me!), said, and I quote: “Watch for a breaking wave in the background. The worst place for them is behind the bird’s head; they are best positioned on the same level as or just below the bird’s feet.” The sand crab in the bird’s beak and the splashes around the bird’s legs here are big pluses.

long-billed-curlew-from-ground-level-_a1c1886-morro-bay-ca

This image was created with from ground level with me behind the tripod with the legs splayed. Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor–far right side Expand AF area/AI Servo Rear Focus active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version. As you can see, I am loving my 5D Mark III.

Contest Deadline Extended

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Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images in today’s 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.

Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.

Canon EOS-5D Mark III. Except when I need extreme focal length, I have been using my 5D III on the 800 a ton. And loving it.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

BLUBB. The BLUBB (Big Lens Ultimate BeanBag) is the world’s finest big lens beanbag. There are knock-offs for half the price but you will be wasting your money….
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 🙂 And you will love them in mega-cold weather….
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.
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.
BreezeBrowser. I do not see how any digital photographer can exist without this program.

12 comments to Target Acquired; Results as Expected

  • Artie
    I always enjoy getting you emails and checking out your blog and pictures. But these Target Acquired pictures of the Curlews really stand out. The light is stunning and the sharpness outstanding. They have almost a 3D quality to them. I have been trying to figure out what it is that you have done that makes these so beautiful. Very special pictures.

  • avatar cheapo

    What a supremely elegant creature! Super images once again Artie. According to my quick bit of research, the longer the bill, the more likely they are to be female. If there are any ladies reading this, I am now hiding defensively behind the sofa!

  • Beautiful lighting in the first shot! Curlews are a personal favorite of mine, but in the UK they’re a lot more timid!
    Looks like you’re enjoying the new 5D, I’m temptied to upgrading to it from the 1D mkiii rather than the mkiv.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Your curlew is a different species from long-billed but of course they are similar. And yes, these guys are tame. The crop factor is real for folks who do wildlife….

  • avatar Charles Scheffold

    Despite the breaking wave in #3, I still like it – mainly because of the one leg lifted. Otherwise #2 is my favorite. Nice action.

    thanks
    Charles

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    Click on the first image to enlarge it. It is even more beautiful!!

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    What a remarkable image the first one is. Beautiful [butter] light, beautiful colours and sharp as a tack. Nice to see you using the 5D Mark111. I am seriously thinking of getting one.

  • avatar Arla

    I love image #2, the curlew in the surf. Perfect capture!

  • avatar Gerald Kelberg

    I love those curlews, too. They really seem to glow in the light – beautiful. Is this all natural light or have you added some flash as well? Obviously you haven’t mentioned it, so I guess that answers my question already, but I thought I would ask anyhow.

    Best wishes,

    Gerald