This optimized image of a group of adult King Penguins about to enter the ocean was created on an early morning (6:04am) landing at St. Andrews Bay with the hand held Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens (at 70mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera (Body Only) w/FREE Bonus Items – $160.75 Value! [expires 11/24]!. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/800 sec. at f/11 in Av mode. Lowest Central sensor/AI Servo/Rear Focus AI Servo Suround AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.
A Rare Side-lit Image…
“Point your shadow at the birds.” If I have said it once, I have said it 1,000 times. Or 10,000. In my 28+ years of bird photography I have created only a handful of side-lit images that I am happy with. Above is one more to add to that small collection. As you can see by the shadows on the beach, I was working about 80 degrees off of sun angle. For two reasons. First, I did not want to get in the ocean and get swept away by a big wave never to be seen again. (A good reason, no?). Second, with the sun just up, the light was not too, too harsh even though we were pretty close to the bottom of the world.
I was lucky in that I somewhat mis-judged the exposure. I went with the metered exposure because the bright WHITEs on the penguins breasts were near the middle of the frame and the snow on the mountains would also influence the meter towards under-exposure. But I had to do some fancy work during the DPP conversion to recover the blown highlights on the birds’ breasts. Minus 1/3 stop or even -2/3 stop would have been better and brought the WHITEs into Photoshop with RGB values at about 230 (as I prefer).
Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris is the only tour company I know of that offers serious photographers (as well as just plain folks) the option of landing before breakfast at selected spectacular sites in the Southern Ocean. The photographers can take advantage of the best light. Those who prefer to sleep in join the landing later in the morning.
See the original capture below.
Take a moment to let us know if you like or don’t like the side-lit image above. And either way, let us know why.
This is the original image. When comparing it to the optimized image that opened this blog post, note the really messy beach, the crop from our right, the expanded (actually stretched) canvas to our left, and the two birds that were removed. You will likely need to click on the image to see the larger version to find the second bird.
As usual I used the Patch Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, and a few Quick Masks and Layer Masks to execute the clean-up. All as described in detail in Digital Basics, an e-mailable PDF that is sent via e-mail and includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips and techniques, and info on the great keyboard shortcuts that I use. See below for our newest educational offering.
MP4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos
Today we offer the first of what will become many MP4 screen-capture Photoshop Tutorial videos, King Penguin Image Clean-up. Many folks have expressed a desire to see me at work in Photoshop doing all the great stuff described in detail in Digital Basics and to hear my voice as I explain each step along the way. The topics covered in this first video include the use of the Patch Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, Content Aware Fill, and the basics of both creating and using Quick Masks and Layer Masks.
This 16 minute, 50 second MP4 video will be sent to your e-mail address via YouSendIt. Save it to your computer and then simply click and play. We have long thought about creating Apps but they are quite costly and you need something special to play them on.
King Penguin Image Clean-up MP4 Photoshop Tutorial Video
The King Penguin Image Clean-up MP4 Photoshop Tutorial Video is available right now for the ridiculously low introductory price of $3.00. If we sell a zillion of them we just price all of them at $3.00. No guarantees though. To order yours through the BAA store, click here. Or call Jim weekdays between 9am and 5pm (3pm on Fridays) at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand. Or send us a Paypal for $3.00 to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words King Penguin Image Clean-up in the e-mail.
NYC Seminar Door Prizes!
Good news: the Hilton Garden Inn in Staten Island survived Hurricane Sandy with bells on; the seminar will be presented as scheduled.
Better yet, we have put together a killer collection of door prizes for the NYC Seminar. If you live in the northeast and are not yet registered click here to join us and have a chance at winning some of the great and valuable loot below.
From ThinkTank: an Airport AirStream™ Rolling Camera Bag; meets all International carry- on regulations. A $324.75 value.
From LensCoat: a Standard LensCoat® RainCoat. A $79.99 value.
Manfrotto/Gitzo will be contributing one or more items.
From Delkin: a 32 gb 700X Compact Flash Card plus give-aways. The card is a $134.99 value.
NIK has sent a gift certificate for one copy of NIK Color Efex Pro, the Photoshop filter plug-in that has changed my digital workflow. Enter the code BAA at checkout to save 15%.
Topaz is sending a gift certificate for their black and white effects filter program.
Micheal Tapes at RAW Workflow has chipped in with a Lens Align Mark II. A $79.95 value.
You might also win a copy of The Art of Bird Photography II by Arthur Morris or a copy of A Guide to Pleasing Blurs by Arthur Morris and Denise Ipplito.
Thanks a stack to all of our generous sponsors.
EOS-5D Mark III User’s Guide
With the wreck of my EOS-1D X (see “Wrecked. And Loving It” for complete details), I went to my 5D Mark III as my workhorse camera body. It performed flawlessly surviving some heavy drizzle, sand, grit, and extensive use. I used it almost exclusively for seabird flight photography from the ship. As I have said from the get-go, the 5D Mark III’s new AF system is superb.
You can learn everything about it your D Mark III including my custom Case for flight photography, my favorite AF Area Selection Modes, how I use the great HDR and Multiple Exposure Features, and pretty much everything that I know about this great lightweight camera iin the 5D Mark III User’s Guide. I will be updating it in January. All updates are free.
Learn more or purchase the 5D III UG here.
To thank us for all the free info that we provide on the blog, in Bulletins, and via e-mail, or if your decision to purchase a 5D III was influenced by what you learned here, please use one of our B&H affiliate links immediately below to order and e-mail me a copy of your receipt. The upper logo-link is for the body alone (along with ($154.83 of free items), the lower link for a kit with the body and my B-roll lens, the 24-105mm zoom. (I never leave home without it.)
Thanks a stack to all who have used our B&H affiliate 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 the BAA Blog. Support the BAA Bulletins. 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 the links above. Remember, B&H ain’t just photography!
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 🙂 And you will love them in mega-cold weather….
Gizo GT3532 LS CF Tripod. This one replaces the GT3530LS Tripod and will last you a lifetime. Learn more about this great tripod here.
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 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.
Delkin Flash Cards. I use and depend on Delkin compact Flash Cards and card readers most every day. Learn more about their great 700X and 1000X cards here or about my favorite Delkin card here.