Only Two...

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This Sandhill Crane silhouette image was created at Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Autofocus lens, the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X digital SLR . ISO 3200. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f/8 in Av mode.

Central sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Bosque Sunset Spots

The bird in the image above was flying towards me. If you think it is flying away it is an optical illusion. In hopes of having folks realize that the bird was actually flying towards me, I created a Quick Mask of the bill (which was lined up with the silhouetted head and thus unseen) and rotated it to the side using a Quick Mask and the Transform Tool. This made the bill visible.

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This Sandhill Crane silhouette image was also created at Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Autofocus lens, the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X digital SLR . ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/200 sec. at f/8 in Av Mode.

Central sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

If you are at all familiar with Bosque, you will know exactly where I created the two sunset images above. But….

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This dramatic Snow Goose sunset image was create with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto zoom lens hand held at 85mm with the unfortunately discontinued ESO-1D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/4 in Av mode. Central sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The 70-200 II is one of my most used lenses at Bosque.

Like many folks, you are probably scratching your head trying to figure out exactly where I create this image. I can tell you that my group has been at this location alone for three of our first five sunsets….

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This image was created at the same spot with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Autofocus lens and the Canon EOS-1D X digital SLR . ISO 800 (via ISO safety shift). Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/8 sec. at f/5.6 in Tv mode. Central sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

I used the technique for low-light shooting that is described in detail in the hugely popular eBook, “A Guide to Pleasing Blurs” by Denise Ippolito and yours truly.

I can also tell you that most folks in the general vicinity were–for a variety of reasons–in the wrong location. And none had any idea where to point there lenses.

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Same spot. Same lens. Different camera body. Created with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens (hand held at 130mm) 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: 1/5000 sec. at f/2.8 in Manual mode. Central sensor/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see the spectacular larger version.

Learn to use your 5D Mark III in the 5D Mark III User’s Guide.

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This image was created with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto zoom lens with the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (teleconverter) (hand held at 155mm) with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera (Body Only) w/FREE Bonus Item – $150.33 Value! [expires soon]! ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/15 sec. at f/4.5 in Tv mode. Central sensor Surround/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

You guessed it. Same location. Folks often ask why I have a tele-converter in place and wind up using a focal length covered by the lens alone. Why? Because in a given situation I often feel that I made need the extra reach.

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This Snow Goose blast off image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Autofocus lens and the Canon EOS-1D X digital SLR . ISO 400 (via ISO safety shift). Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/20 sec. at f/5.6 in Tv mode. Central sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Again, I used the technique for low-light shooting that are described in detail in the hugely popular eBook, “A Guide to Pleasing Blurs” by Denise Ippolito and yours truly.

By being in the exact right location at sunset you can photograph two different blast-offs and the birds over the mountains in color without moving much if at all.

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This Sandhill Crane through the cottonwoods image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Autofocus lens and the Canon EOS-1D X digital SLR . ISO 50. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/20 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. Left of Central sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

I know that it will be hard to believe, but this is the same exact spot.

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These Snow Geese heading to roost were photographed with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Autofocus lens and the Canon EOS-1D X digital SLR . ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. Central sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Find the triangle mountain and you will have located my favorite Bosque sunset location.

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This one was also created with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens (hand held at 130mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera (Body Only) w/FREE Bonus Items – $160.75 Value! [expires 11/24]!. ISO 500. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/60 sec. at f/2.8 in Tv mode. Central sensor Surround/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see the spectacular larger version.

Even on clear evenings you will have some nice color on the western horizon. The key is knowing where to be….



Only Two…

There are only two consistently excellent sunset locations at Bosque del Apache NWR. Learn them both, learn the wind and sky conditions that determine in advance which is likely to be more productive, and learn everything that I know about photographing the geese and cranes at this great location in the Bosque Site Guide.

The Bosque Site Guide

Great year or poor year, the priceless information in the Bosque Site Guide will help you learn to be in the right spot at the right time. I followed my own advice to a tee yesterday morning and had a small group of friends and early-arriving IPT folks in the right locations all morning. Why waste time driving around trying to figure out where to be on this wind or in these lighting conditions? As I have written before, heading to Bosque without the Bosque Site Guide on your laptop is downright foolish. Why? You simply do not know as much about Bosque as I do. :)

Learn about all of our Site and Set-up eGuides here.

Your Favorite

Take a moment to let us know which of the ten images above is your favorite, and be sure to let us know why.

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NYC Seminar & Door Prize Info

Do consider joining Denise Ippolito and me in Staten Island in December for a great weekend filled with learning, fun, and great door prizes.

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NYC Seminar Door Prize Info

Wow! 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.

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Join denise (images above) and artie (below) in Staten Island to learn get inspired, give your creativity a big boost, and improve both your in-the-field techniques and your image optimization skills.

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Shopper’s Guide

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.

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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.

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18 comments to Only Two…

  • HI Art: I know the bird was flying at you, but to have it look like it was flying away, is an art in itself. That is what I was referring to. You did a marvelous job Keep shooting and keep bloging

  • avatar Ken R Sheide

    Artie – The first image in this blog post was shot with the 1Dx at f/8 using AF (800mm f/5.6L & 1.4x TC). I’ve never had a 1Dx in my hand but understand it will only AF to f/5.6. Are you (or is anyone else who reads this) getting functional central sensor AF on the 1Dx at f/8 using only Canon glass?

  • avatar Bill Eaton

    I have to go with #1.The color is stunning and the wing tips and dropped landing gear is really nice.I would frame this shot in a heartbeat.

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Hey Gang, Many thanks. artie

    ps: we are at White Sands now having a great time.

  • #4…blurs have always been my favorite since you turned them onto me back in 2006 Bosque. They look so much like paintings. Plus it keeps your audience guessing as they keep staring at the image.

    #4 is great because everything is somewhat neutral as far as colors go, if that makes any sense…there isn’t one specific color grabbing your eye. I’m seeing the ‘whole’ image instead of just saying ‘look at the blurred geese’. Doug

  • Hard to pick a favorite but I am going with #4 and #1.

  • I love #2 and #10 shots. The former is actually my fave. The latter is just neat because of the great number of birds in the many formations captured in the pretty blue-to-yellow sky…quite a capture!

  • avatar Jay

    For a favorite, I’d go with image 2, the Sandhill Crane Silhouette. Probably because of the manner in which the shadow is reflected with the ripples on the water. Image 3, the Snow Geese Small Flock also stands out, though not for the birds. It’s just a beautiful sunset shot (and would work very nicely without the flock). While I can appreciate the first Sandhill Crane Silhouette (and can see it as both flying toward you and the illusion of flying away), it doesn’t bring about a visceral reaction as many of the other shots, such as the Snow Geese Flock blur image, or the Sandhill Crane through Cottonwoods.

  • You did a marvelous job with the silhouette of the bird flying towards you. Not too many photographers can achieve that illusion. Great Job!

  • Hi Arthur, all are lovely but the 4th image really stands out to me…a lovely blur with a killer background!!! I do like that the flock is not touching the top or bottom edges of the frame for a cleaner look to those edges.