Lucky Thirteen: Finally Blasting at 1/13 Sec.

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This blast-off blur was created at Bosque del Apache NWR in San Antonio, NM with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter) (hand held at 215mm), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera (Body Only) w/FREE Bonus Item – $145.83 Value! [expires soon]! ISO 50. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/13 sec. at f/22 in Manual mode. Central sensor Surround/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.

I achieved the slow shutter speed by having the Hoya 77mm Warming Circular Polarizer Glass Filter set to dark and screwed onto the front of my 70-200 II. See below for details on “set to dark.”

Here I moved the lens down a bit while panning with the flock to create the unusual blurred effect.

Finally Blasting…

Though Bosque has been great, the huge mid-morning blast-offs had been missing. Until the last morning of the IPT. There was a big group of birds in the cornfield just past the Farm Deck. Then we saw a huge blast-off way to the north and were thrilled when all of those birds joined the birds in the cornfield to form a swirling seething mass of avian life. Within minutes they blasted off, flew around in circles right in front of us for a few minutes, and then landed in the next field to the west.

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A minute apart with the same gear: the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter) (hand held at 330mm), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera (Body Only) w/FREE Bonus Item – $145.83 Value! [expires soon]! ISO 50. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/13 sec. at f/22 in Manual mode. Central sensor Surround/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.

I achieved the slow shutter speed by having the Hoya 77mm Warming Circular Polarizer Glass Filter set to dark and screwed onto the front of my 70-200 II. See below for details on “set to dark.”

In the image above, I was panning with the birds flying left to right which blurred the foreground cranes that were facing to the northeast. Denise Ippolito was jumping up and down doing vertical snow angels while most of the IPT group was left with their jaws dropping. It was a huge series of blasts.

snow-geese-blast-off-pano-_a1c1447-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm

Same same gear: the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter) (hand held at 310mm), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera (Body Only) w/FREE Bonus Item – $145.83 Value! [expires soon]! ISO 50. Evaluative metering -2/3 stops as framed: 1/13 sec. at f/22 in Manual mode. Central sensor Surround/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.

I achieved the slow shutter speed by having the Hoya 77mm Warming Circular Polarizer Glass Filter set to dark and screwed onto the front of my 70-200 II. See below for details on “set to dark.”

With correct exposure for the WHITEs set manually I did not need to worry about changing the compensation when the birds flew in front of the dark distant mountain.

The 77mm Circular Warming Polarizer

Once you have screwed on the circular polarizer, put the camera in Av mode and point it 90 degrees to the sun. Then rotate the polarizer slowly and watch the shutter speeds. When the shutter speed is at its lowest, the polarizer will be at its maximum darkening effect. Leave it set to the darkest setting. You will be able to set a shutter speed 2 to 3 stops slower than if you were using the lens alone. In addition, this filter warms the images up nicely. As long as you are working on sun angle it turns harsh light into sweet light. Even at 9:45am.

Hoya 77mm Warm Circular Polarizer Glass Filter

snow-geese-massive-blast-off-1-13-sec-_a1c1483-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm_0

Same old same old; the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter) (hand held at 245mm), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera (Body Only) w/FREE Bonus Item – $145.83 Value! [expires soon]! ISO 50. Evaluative metering -2/3 stops as framed: 1/13 sec. at f/22 in Manual mode. Central sensor Surround/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.

I achieved the slow shutter speed by having the Hoya 77mm Warming Circular Polarizer Glass Filter set to dark and screwed onto the front of my 70-200 II. See below for details on “set to dark.”

With correct exposure for the WHITEs set manually I did not need to worry about changing the compensation when the birds flew in front of the dark distant mountain.

NIK Color Efex Pro

On the first and last images above I ran a new Color Efex Pro recipe: 33% Tonal Contrast, 50% White Neutralizer, and 50% Detail Extractor. White Neutralizer really brought the BLUEs to life.

NIK 15% Discount

As regular readers here know, NIK Color Efex Pro has drastically changed my digital workflow. You can save 15% on all NIK products by clicking here and entering BAA in the Promo Code box at check-out. Then hit Apply to see your savings. You can download a trial copy that will work for 15 days and allow you to create full sized images.



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

seminar-card-denise

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.

seminar-card-arties

Shopper’s Guide

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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.
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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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12 comments to Lucky Thirteen: Finally Blasting at 1/13 Sec.

  • Hi my friend , of course I´ll be with you at Torres del Paine

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Osvaldo, I will be in touch during the first week of January :). I am firming up plans with the Avistar Patagonia folks right now. artie

  • They are all fantastic but I like #1 best!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Lady D. And a huge thanks for your co-leading help on the two Bosque Workshops. You were a huge asset. a

  • Well, all of them are lovely, but my choice is the first one. The best for you and Denise :-)

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thank you my friend from Chile. Say Hi to Walter for us. Denise and I are planning an IPT for birds and landscapes to Torres del Paine in October of 2013. Please e-mail if you would like to be put on the interested list. Alejandro, are you there? :)

  • avatar Alan Lillich

    My favorite is the first, followed by the fourth. The colors appeal to me in the first, and I like the brightness. The dark and light stripes on the bottom are a big plus. In the fourth I like the swirl, emphasized by the sharper birds in the center. Going back now, the lower edge grounded birds in the second and third are distracting – seems I recall someone teaching about clean lower edges …

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Ah, great minds think alike :) (See my comment below.) We hope that Pat is doing well. later and love, artie

  • avatar Nancy Bell

    My favorite is image 4. I really like the framing effect of the clean bottom and top edge as well as the swirling look of the geese, with the concentration on the right and fully spreading outward.

  • avatar Faraaz

    Lovely blurred images, Art. I’ve tried a similar thing but with a neutral density filter to darken the image – it would then allow me to have a long shutter speed (as much as 30 sec in midday sun!!!), but I’ve never achieved that level of dark using a circular polarizer.
    Note – I’ve never used that sort of thing (ND filter, 30 sec exposure) for shooting birds – used it with rivers/waterfalls etc. :-)

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I’ve been doing it for years. I will post the info for the 3-stop ND 52mm drop-in filter soon.