Cold, Dark, and Windy… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Cold, Dark, and Windy...

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This image was created with the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens hand held at 115mm and the Canon EOS-1D X D. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/200 sec. at f/5.6.

Central sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF on the closest bird and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Cold, Dark, and Windy…

When our intrepid group of five set out from the parking lot to the causeway at about 7:15 am on this past Tuesday for the In-the-Field Workshop it was dark and grey and threatening but amazingly warm. Within an hour the wind picked up and the temperatures dropped. Everyone in short sleeves headed back to the car for a hooded sweatshirt. The winds continued increasing throughout the morning and maxed out at about 25mph from the northeast. At about 10:15, it began to rain. We stuck it out for a bit more and then headed for brunch.

The image above shows a small group of wading birds resting after the early morning feeding spree. Thanks again to Jerry Koons for driving me to and from the refuge and helping with the program set-up. And for loaning me his 100-400 so that I could create some wide scenics.

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This Great Egret blur was created with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 stops off the grey water: 1/15 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

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

Blur Motivation

Bad weather and other low light conditions are often motivate creative photographers to strive to create some pleasing blurs. I guess the necessity if often the mother of invention. Stubborn folks often insist on working at ISO 25,600 or severely underexposing their RAW files….

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This Snowy Egret blur was also created with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS-1D X. This one at ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 stops off the grey water: 1/15 sec. at f/4.5 in Manual mode.

Three sensors to the right of the 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.

A Pleasing Blur Basic

When creating blurs of flying birds you should strive to match the speed of the bird with your panning speed. This will help to give the bird’s head some definition. If you match the bird’s speed precisely with your panning speed you can often get the eye sharp at relatively slow shutter speeds like 1/30 or even 1/15 sec.

Learn tons more like that in A Guide to Pleasing Blurs by Denise Ippolito and yours truly.

With the dark bill nearly lost against the relatively dark background I darkened the bill with Tim Grey Dodge and Burn at 10%. As described in detail in my Digital Basics File. Digital Basics is an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips including Digital Eye Doctor techniques, several different ways of expanding canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Masking, Layer Masking and NIK Color Efex Pro basics, creating and using time-saving Actions, and tons more.

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This Great Egret blur was created with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 stops off the grey water: 1/15 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

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

A New Photoshop Trick

I tried increasing the Vibrance for this image to 80 to eliminate the dingy look of the cold light. It worked. Note that the original capture was made at Kelvin 7500.

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This sharp flight image of a Great Egret blur was created with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 stops off the grey water: 1/15 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Central sensor (Surround)/AI Servo Rear Focus AF on the base of the bird’s neck where it meets the breast active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Getting Brighter

As the day got colder and windier, the light levels increased a bit so I began try to create some sharp flight images. And did.

Go For It With Digital!

When a bird flies by at close range the tendency is to think, “I’ll never get the whole bird in the frame without clipping the wings.” That is left-over thinking from the Stone Age of film…. Push the shutter button when you have acquired focus. As I was here, you might be surprised by a lovely pose with no clipped wings at all.

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This Great Blue Heron image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 2000. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops off the grey water: 1/160 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode.

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

The 600 II/2X III TC Combo

I wanted to show the group that the 600 II/2X III TC combo is–despite what the internet experts say–a viable rig for creating sharp images (even in low light).

Your Fave?

Which of the six images above do you like best? Be sure to let us know why.

BIRDS AS ART 2nd International Bird Photography Competition

Learn more and enter the BIRDS AS ART 2nd International Bird Photography Competition here. Twenty-five great prizes including the $1000 Grand Prize and intense competition. Bring your best.

Old Car City Creative Photography In-the-Field HDR Workshop: Sunday, October 13, 2013/ 9am till 1pm.

White, Georgia: $250 plus a $15 entrance fee donation (cash only on the day of the event) that will go to charity. Limit: 16 photographers/Openings: 7.

On October 13, 2013, Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART and Denise Ippolito/A Creative Adventure will be conducting an In-the-Field HDR Workshop at Old Car City in White, Georgia. Old Car City is about an hour north of Atlanta, GA and an hour south of Chattanooga, TN where they will, as noted above, be doing a full day seminar for the Photographic Society of Chattanooga on Saturday, October 12th. Click here for complete details.

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Bosque IPTs/Late Registration Discounts

For information on both the 7-Day and the recently announced short version of the 2013 Bosque IPTs please click here and scroll down. Please e-mail me for late registration discount info.

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6 comments to Cold, Dark, and Windy…

  • avatar stephen sheoskie

    I like #3 the snowy egret blur,the pleasing blur creates the motion of coming to a soft landing in full detail,there is a lot of energy created for the viewer. Great work Artie

  • For me, the Snowy Egret Blur is the hands down winner.

  • You did a great job with the conditions. I like the sharp flight shot best!

  • Great shot. I like the blurs a lot.

    I agree about the 600 II + 2x III. Made some very sharp images with that combination at 1/60s and ISO 3200 with the 1DX and the whole setup on my Wimberley II head.
    Very sharp, all you need is proper technique and an animal that doesn’t move.
    Even with the high pixel density on my 7D is no problem for the 600 II + 2x III.

    I am still very much enjoying Jim’s book on flight photography. Friends of mine in CA also love it after I recommended it to them. It is amazing stuff! And the pictures in it are absolutely stunning!

    Markus

  • avatar David Policansky

    Thanks, Artie. Just this morning I did that with a great egret, and the light was spectacular. Yes, focus, focus, focus. Your photographs are beautiful as always.

  • avatar George Cottay

    Shoot as soon as you have focus.
    Shoot as soon as you have focus.
    Shoot as soon as you have focus.

    Thanks for the important reminder. Perhaps this time I will remember it with a bird in the viewfinder.