Follow Your Nose...


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This adult Snow Goose image was created with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 3200. Evaluative metering +2 2/3 stops off the sky: 1/1600 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. Color temperature: AWB.

Central sensor/AI Servo/Surround Rear Focus AF as framed active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

A large dose of Filter/Blur/Surface Blur as taught to me by Denise Ippolito was applied to tame the ISO 3200 noise.

Mornings and Afternoons at Bosque

In general, mornings are usually more productive at Bosque (except for the last half hour of light at the crane pools on the right afternoons). And on cloudy days, mornings are almost always far more productive than afternoons.


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This image was created with the the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (with the internal TC in place hand held at 280mm) and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops as framed in Av Mode: 1/30 sec. at f/5.6. Color temperature 7500 (should have been 10,000 as the RAW file was BLUE).

Central sensor/AI Servo/Surround–Rear Focus AF on the tree in the middle and recompose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Follow Your Nose…

On the rare cloudy, dreary afternoon the best strategy is to go past the pay booth and flip a coin. Heads, make a right turn and check out the Marsh Loop. Tails go straight up Bosque Road (In the Bosque Site Guide I call it the H Road for obvious reasons). On November 23, the coin came up tails. I was glad as there had been some good concentrations of ducks about 2/3 of the way to the left turn on the Farm Loop. Most of us were messing around with the dispersing ducks, not doing much. A few folks walk a hundred yards up the road to the pool on the right near the intersection. Close to a decade ago this was a good location with lots of ducks and the occasional Neotropic Cormorant. Lately it had been not so good. I forget which member of Denise’s group came back to get us, heck, it might have been Denise, but IAC we were told that there were big groups of blackbirds perching on the dead bushes in the pool and flying around. So we went. The image above was one of the first that I made.


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This image was also created with the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (with the internal TC in place hand held at 280mm) and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops as framed in Av Mode: 1/30 sec. at f/5.6. Color temperature 7500 (should have been 10,000).

Central sensor/AI Servo/Surround–Rear Focus AF on the tree in the middle and recompose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

And Then the Birds Took Off

And then the birds took off so I pushed the button while panning with the flock.

A Guide to Pleasing Blurs

Pleasing blurs are not out-of-focus mistakes. They are well thought out, skillfully executed, accurately focused creations. If you would like to learn to create such images, get yourself a copy of “A Guide to Pleasing Blurs” by Denise Ipplito and yours truly.


european-starlings-and-assorted-icterids-blur-_y5o7776-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm

This image was also created with the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (hand held at 371mm) and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 320. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops as framed in Av Mode: 1/10 sec. at f/9. Color temperature 7500.

One sensor below the central sensor/AI Servo/Surround–Rear Focus AF as framed active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Follow Your Nose Part II…

After the mass of birds took off they flew north and west so I said to the group, “Let’s go!” We walked west along the H Road past the spot where we had started so that we had a clear view of the Main Impoundment to the north. The flock swirled and turned and veered. I framed and fired off about 60 images over a ten minute period until the action quit and we headed back to Socorro for dinner.

In the image above I love that the flock had split in two with each segment flying in a different direction.

Image Questions

In the second image, why was it a mistake to have the internal TC in place?

In the second image, considering that I was hand holding, what factors helped me to create a relatively sharp image at only 1/30 sec.?

Which of the images above is your favorite? Why? I have two clear favorites and will share them with you at some point.


bosque-2014-ipt-card

Join Denise Ippolito and me for four great days of photography and learning at one of our soul places. Please click on the card to enjoy a larger version.

Bosque del Apache 2014 BIRDS AS ART/A Creative Adventure Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT). NOV 29-DEC 3, 2014. Totaling 4 FULL-DAYS: $1449. Leaders: Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito. Introductory Slide program: 7:00pm on Sunday 11/29.


bosque-creative-card-2014-1200-wide

Join Denise Ippolito and me for two great days of photography, fun, and learning at one of our soul places. We will surely be taking you out of the box on this workshop. Please click on the card to enjoy a larger version.

Bosque del Apache 2014 A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART “Creative Photography Instructional Photo-Tour.” (IPT). NOV 24-25, 2014. 2-FULL DAYS: $729. Leaders: Denise Ippolito & Arthur Morris. Introductory Slide program: 7:00pm on Sunday 11/23.

Denise and I hope that you can join us. Click here for complete details.

Delkin Devices

As regular readers know, I keep a Delkin 64gb e-Film Pro 700X flash card in all three of my cameras. I use and depend on them 300 days a year. (Yeah, I know: life is tough. :) You can learn about all the Delkin products that we carry by clicking here. For those of you who prefer SD cards–they are too small for me, we would be glad to have your order drop-shipped for you. Please Jim and let him know what you need.

Delkin has been a long time BAA sponsor. They have been generous supporters of the BAA International Bird Photography Competitions since the get-go. In addition to flash cards and a line of great card readers, Delkin carries an interesting line of products. Click on some of the links below and you just might be able to take care of some of your holiday gift shopping in short order and save some bucks while you are at it.


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17 comments to Follow Your Nose…

  • Artie – You obviously chose to blur the last two images. I don’t know if you removed birds from the 2nd image that I like so much (which I would consider manipulation, or clean-up, or removal of distracting elements . . . call it whatever you want. I was not using that word as an insult.)I can see why you find “gimmick” insulting. My apologies for the use of that word. It does show my bias and insensitivity. :o(

  • avatar Don Pugh

    Why the mistake? Because with a 200-400 you could have shot 280mm without the extender in place and gotten a minutely sharper image? Ideally you’d only use the extender to shoot 401-560mm.

    • avatar Don Pugh

      Thinking about it a little further, if you had not engaged the extender you could have shot at 280mm/f4/ISO 800 to get the same 1/30 shutter speed instead of 280mm/f5.6/ISO 1600. Depth of field wouldn’t have been a concern since you were blurring the birds and that lens would be about as sharp wide open at f4 as at f5.6, so you would get the gains in image quality from not using the extender and from cutting the ISO from 1600 to 800.

  • I like the second one the best, by far. It is very natural . . . nature’s own composition with no gimmicks or obvious manipulation. Having said that, they all very interesting.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Becky. Just for the record book, there is no “manipulation (obvious or otherwise)” with the last two images…. All that I did was balance the color.

      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Becky, Another question: what is unnatural about the last 2?????

        • Artie,

          Nothing. Perhaps I didn’t choose my words well. I respect your enormous talent, and like your experimenting with blurs, etc. It’s just that nature is so full of beauty of its own “composition” and you recorded a great example of that. My own personal preference (which I believe you were asking for) is the second photograph. Reminds me of the joke about the mother who bought her son two ties. He immediately puts on one, and she says, “What! You don’t like the other one?”

          • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

            No “perhaps” about it. I write and publish many 1000s of words each week. I need to choose each one carefully… :)

          • Well, you are certainly the exception in your perfection. But why is it necessary to return a compliment with insult?

            Rebecca, I have never claimed do be perfect; have you not seen the typo notice in each blog post here? Your couched explanation “Perhaps I…” was a nice try. Perhaps if you had said simply, “Sorry, I should have chosen my words carefully” I might have responded simply by saying “Thanks.” I was not insulting anyone. It seems that since the shoe fit you chose to wear it. As I need to choose every word that I publish carefully, I do not think that it is a lot to ask that folks who leave a one or two sentence comment choose their words carefully. artie

            ps: Do you not consider “gimmicks or obvious manipulation” an attempt to be insulting?

        • Artie – To kick a dead horse a bit, I don’t want to leave you with the impression I intended any insult, though you took it that way. I did choose my words, and the meanings I attributed to them at the time come right out of my dictionary. They are as follows:

          Manipulation: “Skillful or artful management”
          Gimmick: “an ingenious or novel device . . . designed to attract attention or increase appeal”

          I am sorry you took such offense which was not intended. You certainly may have the last word, but I don’t want to be misunderstood.

          • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

            I never said anything about being offended. I simply refuted what you said originally: “It is very natural . . . nature’s own composition with no gimmicks or obvious manipulation.”

            You later agreed with your half-hearted “perhaps” apology: Perhaps I didn’t choose my words well.

            Now you persist with additional excuses above.

            The fact is that both “manipulation” and “gimmick”have negative implications that you chose to overlook. Below from two different respected online dictionaries:

            manipulation: Ssrewd or devious management.

            A gimmick is a unique or quirky special feature that makes something “stand out” from its contemporaries. However, the special feature is typically thought to be of little relevance or use.

            All that I have been asking is that you, as I have to do every day, be a bit more careful with your choice of words.

  • Why was it a mistake with the tc? Framing? The birds are to close to the
    frame on the left.

    As far as 1/30th and sharp…I’m thinking distance had one of things to do
    with it. Another factor, the weight distribution of the 2-4?

    Doug

  • Actually Hank Perry (from our South Georgia trip- he took us to dinner in Bosque :)) was photographing the blackbirds. David Klein was heading out and stopped to photograph them as well. David then came back to give us all the heads up. Thanks David and Hank :)

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