What, No Itinerary? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

What, No Itinerary?

sandhill-crane-chick-eating-beetle-_09u4421-indian-lake-estates-fl

This image of a week-old Sandhill Crane chick getting ready to swallow a beetle that was fed to it by one of the parents was created with the hand held Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/1250 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode previously confirmed via histogram check.

One sensor 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.

When hand holding either the 500II or the 600II I like to sit and rest my left elbow on my bent left knee. This reduces fatigue and the quick build up of lactic acid in the muscles and allows for much sharper images. That is exactly what I did here.

What, No Itinerary?

When folks ask why there is never an itinerary for a BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tour I usually chuckle. The truth is that I often do not even know where we are going after lunch when we are at lunch! Each decision is based on a combination of factors that include weather, sky conditions, wind direction, and local trends and conditions.

We are right smack in the middle of the Fort DeSoto/Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Short Notice IPT. As you saw in the March 7 blog post, Impossible Conditions, we had a rough time on Wednesday morning. We did have some great chances that morning thanks to some good thinking on my part and the ability of the group to follow directions as to how to carefully approach a large group of beautiful White Ibises. In any case, when multiple IPT veteran John Snodgrass mentioned that the weather forecast for Thursday morning was even worse, colder with stronger winds from the northwest, I started thinking….

There had been some nice baby Sandhill Crane action down by the lake near my home in Indian Lake Estates, FL. With the dire forecast, I breached the idea of leaving St. Pete at 5am and making the 1 hour forty five minute drive to ILE to try for the baby cranes in lieu of freezing out butts off on another wind against sun morning. I did not have to twist any arms.

sandhill-crane-colt-_09u4206-indian-lake-estates-fl

This image of a young Sandhill Crane colt was created at ILE on Thursday morning with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/9 in Av mode. The exposure was confirmed via histogram check.

Central sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on a spot just below the forward part of the wing bud active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.
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Choice of Perspective

The key to the success of the image above was going long focal length and getting on the birds level by working from the slope of the adjacent canal. I recognized the shade of blue as one that would be dramatically enhanced by a layer of White Neutralizer. That was followed by a layer of my 50/50 Tonal Contrast/Detail Extractor recipe reduced to about 50% opacity.

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As regular readers know, Color Efex Pro has drastically changed my digital workflow and little by little I have begun using Viveza to solve more than a few sticky image optimization problems and Silver Efex Pro for fast, dramatic B&W conversions. You can save 15% on all NIK products (including Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, and Viveza) 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.

sandhill-crane-chick-flapping-wing-buds-_09u4517-indian-lake-estates-fl

This Sandhill Crane image was created with the hand held Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/1250 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode previously confirmed by histogram check.

Central sensor Surround/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s head just behind the eye active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Why Hand Hold the 600II?

While working the cranes with his tripod-mounted 600mm f/4L IS II/1.4X III/1D X rig, multiple IPT participant John Snodgrass, always eager to learn, asked me, “Why are you hand holding?” I replied, “When hand holding it is easier to frame the image, easier to follow the fast little buggers, easier to acquire and maintain AF, and easier to get up off the ground and move to the right sun angle. And any by using my knee-pod as described above pretty much all of the images will be sharp. And, as you can see here, cute.

sandhill-crane-chick-looking-up-at-tree-swallows-_09u4478-indian-lake-estates-fl

This image of a week-old Sandhill Crane chick was also created with the hand held Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/1250 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode previously confirmed via histogram check.

Two sensors up and one to the left of the 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.

When hand holding either the 500II or the 600II I like to sit and rest my left elbow on my bent left knee. This reduces fatigue and the quick build up of lactic acid in the muscles and allows for much sharper images. That is exactly what I did here.

Whaddaya Think?

If you think that you know what the baby crane in the image immediately above was doing please leave a comment and let us know. Hint: there have been clues in recent blog posts.

Which is Your Favorite?

Take a moment to leave a comment and let us know which is your favorite image, and why.

So What’s the Point?

The point is that on a BAA IPT there is never a set itinerary because we need to be able to change and react in response to a variety of current conditions in order to get you in a spot where you will have the best chance to make some great images. And we always strive to explain to you why we are going here rather than there.

IPT Opportunities

Click here to see the current schedule and IPT openings.

Highlights include a single opening on the next Bear Boat IPT, two slots left on this summer’s killer Galapagos trip, and lots of room on the Tanzania Photo-Safari.

Bear Boat/Bears Catching Salmon IPT: September 2-9, 2013 from Kodiak, AK: $6699.

Happy campers only! Maximum 6 + two leaders: Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito. Openings: 1.

GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 2-16, 2013 on the boat.

13 FULL and two 1/2 days of photography: $12,749. Co-leader: Denise Ippolito. Limit 14 including the leaders/Openings: 2.

Africa/Tanzania/Serengeti Summer Migration Safari: 12 full and two half-days of photography: $12,999/person double occupancy. Limit: 12/Openings: 7.

Leaders: Todd Gustafson and Arthur Morris. Leave the US AUG 3, 2013. Fly home from Arusha, Tanzania on the evening of August 18. Day 1 of the safari is August 5. Our last morning of photography is August 18. We will be visiting Tarangire National Park, Seronera Lodge–aka Leopard City!–twice, an exclusive mobile tented camp in the Serengeti, and at the end, the spectacular wildlife spectacle that is Ngorongoro Crater. Please e-mail for itinerary.

Again, please click here for additional info and additional IPTs.

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Nikon

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Canon Buy Together & Save: Save Up to $400

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EOS-1D X AF Guide

You can learn exactly how I set up and use this camera’s great new AF system in our EOS-1D X AF Guide. And you can learn about our other camera User’s Guides here.

Typos

On all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or leave a comment regarding any typos, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. 🙂

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12 comments to What, No Itinerary?

  • avatar Kathy

    Practicing the unison call. So cute!

  • avatar Dana

    Adorable! Great Shots. The youngster is looking up at his parents?

  • avatar Grace

    What ADORABLE baby crane photos!!! Excellent work, as usual!

  • avatar Kevin Pedretti

    Did mama just take off in flight? (and was he dreaming of the prospect to do the same?)

  • Maybe something was flying overhead that got its attention?

    Doug

  • avatar Matt Beutel

    Waiting for momma to drop the beetle towards it’s mouth.
    I really like the 3rd picture with the wings up. Such determination in something so young.

  • avatar George Cottay

    Isn’t it doing a quick check of lighting to set the ideal combination of ISO/aperture/shutter speed?

  • avatar Denny

    I think it’s looking for food from Mama. I like them all Art, but my fav is #2, cute as a button. Cheers, Denny

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Nope. Not looking for food. I love #2 for the light and that White Neutralizer blue sky.

  • avatar Loren Charif

    I’d guess swallowing the bug from the first image (or another one just like it!). These little guys are fantastically cute and the images are wonderful. Makes that round trip to ILE worth every minute!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Nope on the swallowing…. Everyone was thrilled that we made the long round trip. And Jim and I got to cook them all a great fish lunch with broccoli and butternut squash. And they got to see BAA first hand.