Looking Up

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This image was created 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 320mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera (Body Only) $200 instant savings + 2% Reward [expires 5 JAN] ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 in Av 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.

Looking Up at Bosque

After 3 days off and an overnight trip to White Sands National Monument Denise and I co-led a Canon Digital Learning Center weekend workshop at Bosque. In mid-morning I said to the group, “In some years with south winds the birds will blast off and fly behind us. With zoom lenses that get out to the 400mm range you can photograph single birds and small groups by pointing the lens almost directly overhead while being careful to keep the sun out of the frame. You will want to be about 10-15 degrees away from the sun; the goal is to have the birds strongly backlit. If you see hazy flare do not press the shutter button; wait for the flare to disappear so that you have a blue sky background (with or without clouds).

Remember, it pays to look up and a bit behind you at Bosque. But be careful not to fall over backwards when photographing individual birds.

Important note: Denise and I make an incredible leader team. On both the IPT and the Canon DLC event I made sure that the group was in the right place at the right time, provided general shooting advice, and answered questions while Denise provided hands on help to pretty much everyone in the group who desired it by checking their camera settings and histograms. Do consider joining us on the Barnegat Jetty IPT; see the info below.

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This image was created with the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS EF USM AF Lens (hand held at 28mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera (Body Only) $200 instant savings + 2% Reward [expires 5 JAN] ISO 400. Bright white ISO 400 exposure: 1/2500 at f/8 in Manual mode. 61-point/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.

It took some guts to bring the Canon group to a location with zero birds. But bird behavior is often repetitive and within minutes of our arrival large groups began arriving. Most days the first group had been a huge one made up of more than 10,000 swirling geese. On this day they arrived in groups of about a hundred every few minutes for nearly an hour. Large groups were still coming in when we headed back to Socorro for lunch.

Be sure to check out the amazing before and after animated GIF below.

The Bosque Site Guide Current Conditions Update

If you are at Bosque right now or are heading to the refuge in the next week or two and you own a copy of the Bosque Site Guide, you are invited to e-mail and request a copy of the Bosque Site Guide Current Conditions Update. You will receive a short e-mail describing other current strategies and letting you know exactly where to be in the pre-dawn. If you would like to receive this update, please cut and paste the words “Bosque Site Guide Current Conditions Update” into the subject line and be sure to include proof of purchase. The simplest thing to do is to include a screen capture of the first page of the guide. No updates will be sent unless you include some sort of proof of purchase. Please do not call or e-mail Jim as he knows nothing about this :).

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.

snow-geese-3-in-flight-from-below-_a1c8900-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm

This image was created 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 270mm), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera (Body Only) $200 instant savings + 2% Reward [expires 5 JAN] ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/1600 sec. at f/5.6 in Av 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.

Zooming Wider

As the three geese in the image above were flying higher than the single bird in the first image I zoomed wider to create an image of the small group. All of the images above benefited greatly from my application of various filters in NIK Color Efex Pro. Those include Tonal Contrast and White Neutralizer on all three images and a small dose of Detail Extractor on the image of the single goose. All at varying degrees of opacity and refined by a regular Layer Mask.

Your Favorite

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

Coming Soon

Stay tuned for a 5D Mark III blog post on the in-camera multiple exposure and HDR features.



Image Optimization Animated GIF

To create the optimized TIF file from the original image I did some edge clean-up with Content Aware Fill. In NIK Color Efex Pro I ran Tonal and White Neutralizer both at reduced opacity. All that I can say is “Wow!” Here’s a pro tip: with images with bright WHITEs move the Highlight slider in Tonal Contrast all the way to the left.

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.

Digital Basics

The most recent update Digital Basics (the updates are free) includes the basics of using NIK Color Efex Pro, Layer Masking for Dummies, the basics of Quick Masking, all of my keyboard shortcuts including customized ones, BreezeBrowser info and preferences, dozens of great Photoshop tips, and my complete digital workflow. Learn more or order here.

5D Mark III User’s Guide

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

Bosque on Facebook

Visit Bosque on Facebook here and bookmark the page. It’s a great way to keep up on current events and refuge conditions.

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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
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Harlequin Duck, drake, Barnegat Jetty, NJ. Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS with the 1.4X II TC and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 800: 1/250 sec. at f/8. Image copyright 2012 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

This is one of the target species on the Barnegat Jetty IPT> Just one sign-up so far so consider joining denise and me for practically private instruction.

BIRDS AS ART/A Creative Adventure Barnegat Jetty IPT, Barnegat Light, NJ: 2 1/2 DAYS. DEC 20 (1:30pm), 21, and 22, 2012: $999. Limit 6/Openings 4. Includes 5 photo-sessions, both lunches, introductory slide program (DEC 20), Photoshop session (DEC 21), and image sharing at lunch DEC 22.

Join Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito for a 2 1/2 Day Instructional Photo-Tour at the infamous Barnegat Jetty in Barnegat Light, New Jersey. Artie and Denise will teach you how to get close to the ducks and shorebirds that frequent this famed winter birding and photography hotspot, how to get the right exposure every time, and how to see, understand, and tackle a variety of photographic situations. Each will conduct a killer Photoshop session. We should have some excellent chances with Harlequin Duck and Purple Sandpiper, the two headliner species. With any luck we should get to photograph most of these species: Long-tailed Duck (formerly Oldsquaw), Common Loon, Red-throated Loon, Red-breasted Merganser, Surf Scoter, Black Scoter, Common Eider, Brant, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstone, Black-bellied Plover, and Sanderling . Great Black-backed, Herring, and Ring-billed Gulls are also likely. Sunning Harbor Seals are possible. With the right winds we may have some good flight photography also.

Having at least a 500mm f/4 lens with a 1.4X teleconverter is recommended. Participants should be in good physical condition with a good sense of balance. Payment in full is due now.

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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6 comments to Looking Up

  • avatar Jay

    Of the three snow geese images, my favorite would be the three in flight shot. The symmetry of the birds is what makes the shot. I don’t know if it was on your blog, or elsewhere, where emphasis was put on the idea of having three elements (or an odd number of elements) in the shot. This image brings that idea out.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Jay. Compositions with three are tough. I actually like the single goose best and the wide angle image second. artie

  • avatar Bob Allen

    Especially love the feather detail on the first “looking up!” Did you add 1-2/3 stops because of the bright sky? The wide-angle shot is lovely.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Bug Bob, Thanks. Strangely enough, you need at least +1 to +1 1/3 against the dead blue sky directly overhead to properly expose the shaded undersides of the goose. The +1 2/3 was a mistake but it work out well. Do note that the edges of the secondaries are over-exposed; that ensures maximum detail in the undersides.

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