Finally… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Finally...

The Amazing Streak Continues; I Gotta be Nuts. ๐Ÿ™‚

This blog post marks 50 days in a row with a new blog post, a record by far that should be extended for at least another week or two. Or not. ๐Ÿ™‚ To show your appreciation, we ask that use our B&H and Amazon affiliate links for all of your B&H and Amazon purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store. We sell only what I use and depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

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This Snowy Owl image was created at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 1250. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/50 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode.

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

Image #1

Finally…

Friday January 10, 2014 started off grey and drizzly. On that Saturday I was going to the American Museum of Natural History with my younger daughter Alissa and her younger son Idris. So Friday afternoon would–after many hours of fruitless walking and driving in search of a Snowy Owl–be my last chance to find and photograph a Snowy Owl. The rain quit just after lunch so I made the 50 minute ride to Jones Beach State Park and headed east out of the parking lot. I walked about a mile without seeing a living bird….


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This Snowy Owl image was also created at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 1000. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/60 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode.

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

Image #2

Finding the Bird

In the distance I saw the tall dune where I had met Tom Pfeifer and Jimmy G the previous afternoon. I almost decided to give up but after some thought continues on to the dune planning to scout east from there. As I was walking up the dune I saw just part of one wing as a large bird took off and flew east/northeast. Even though I barely saw the bird the slow wingbeats and large size convinced me that it was a Snowy Owl. After a short search I spotted it and created the three images here. Each was on a different dune.

Do note the three sharp images at 1200mm with shutter speeds of between 1/50 and 1/60 sec. Learn my advanced sharpness techniques in The Art of Bird Photography II (ABP II: 916 pages, 900+ images, on CD only). And tons more.


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The two horizontal originals for this Snowy Owl stitched pano were also created at Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/60 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode.

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

Image #3

Your Favorite

Take a moment to leave a comment and let us know which of the three Snowy Owl images you like the best. And do let us know why. Thanks!

ps: I have a clear favorite; I will let you know in a few days which one I like and why.


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Breathe deeply, bite the bullet, and live life to its fullest; we all get only one ride on the merry-go-round… Join me on this great trip.

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

The Southern Ocean…

There has already been a ton of interest including that from some long time wonderful Happy Camper BIRDS AS ART folks. Mulitple-IPT veteran Michael Viljoen of South Afirca has already committed to making the trip with his son. He and lovely, smiling wife Lyndsey were with me on the memorable and wonderful October 2012 Cheesemans’ South Georgia Expedition. Repeat-clients–I like to call them recidivists–are a good sign that you are doing something right.

Click here for complete details. If you are seriously interested please shoot me an e-mail for the trip link.

Last Year’s Grand Prize winning image by Lou Coetzer

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Important Contest News

Contest Deadlines Extended!
BIRDS AS ART 2nd International Bird Photography Competition
New Entry Deadline: January 31, 2014; see additional details below

With so many folks signing up at the last minute and with so many folks having trouble uploading their images due to server overload the deadline for entering the contest (registering and paying) has been extended until January 31, 2014 and the deadline for uploading images has been extended until midnight Eastern time on February 10, 2014. Take advantage of this extension to have a crack at the great prizes.

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.

Register and Pay

To register click here.

To learn of payment options, click here.

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Typos

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IPT Info

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22 comments to Finally…

  • avatar Bevie

    #2 is my favorite…love the larger image with the nice balance of plant material to the right and the eyes of the bird just seem to draw me in…gorgeous!

  • avatar Mark

    These owl images kill me. My wife and I are huge fans of birds and especially owls. Until recently, when a friend took me to a small preserve near Rye Beach in Rye, NY, in my 57 years on this planet have never seen an owl in the wild. These are great shots and make me want to go out to Jones Beach this weekend.

    Tell me, Artie, are there relatively few owls? Do they just hide well? Are they nocturnal so usually hiding during the day? Why is it so difficult to find and photograph them?
    Mark

  • Congratulations Artie,
    All three images are great, and I really enjoyed the story behind them. For the last few days I have been wondering if you would be successful or not.
    Without a doubt the third image is my favourite, I love the composition, the foreground interest and pose of the bird. Its a nice environmental shot with lots of interest.
    Cheers,
    Ron

  • avatar Conrad Bester

    Well done at finding the owl. I like #3

  • avatar Doug

    #3 for me. I like the contrast over that in #1. I like the classic extreme head turn which lets you see all the markings, feather texture, and those intense eyes. The pose in #2 is kind of static. I like the environmental portrait aspect of #3. #3 immediately made me think of a magazine/book cover (front and back) or a 2 page image for an article on the Snowy Owl.

  • avatar Andrea Boyle

    The truth is revealed when you are not looking. Had the same experience in Hawaii looking for traditional music. Believe it and it works! And, my choice is #3. Just feels right to me as far as the composition, and even if you crop, I like the pose. He is more engagesd with the photographer with the side glance.

  • Art…glad you finally got some Snowy images. I made my fifth trip today, going from WE2 parking lot to the jetty….No sightings…I know there’s one out at Hampton Bays off Dune Road, and at least one at Floyd Bennett…Maybe I’ll head out to those areas as Jones Beach has not treated me well!

  • Hi,
    I will go with # 1 “IF” you would crop tight as a vertical and remove most of the space on the left. I would also like to see the young owl, darken to better help it stand out.
    That pose looking over its shoulder is much better that the other two.

    Cheers,

    Don Poggensee
    Wind Rider Images

  • avatar Bobby Perkins

    Congrats on finally finding the elusive Snowy Owl Artie! Love that Pano.
    I love the framing of the mound and the way the grasses pull your eyes up the mound to the owl, as well as the profile of the owl. Beautifully done.

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    The last image is my favourite. I like the birds posture, I like the in focus foreground grasses lower right, and the overall composition, for some reason excites me more then the first two!! Although there is nothing wrong with the first two.

  • avatar Ron Gates

    I like #3 best. I like the framing better in #1 with the “rule of thirds” but the out of focus grass in the foreground bothers me. #2 is a good portrait with the owl larger in frame but I find the environmental shot of #3 more pleasing.

  • Hi,
    I would go with # 1 “IF” you cropped it as a tighter vertical and remove the left half of the image. Also darken up the young bird so that it pops out of the landscape. The pose with the
    young owls looking over its shoulder is much more pleasing than the others.

    Don Poggensee
    Iowa

  • avatar David Policansky

    Congratulations, Artie. Photographing birds is a lot like fishing, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚ My favorite is number 2.

  • avatar Jim Kranick

    Same problem with two or three? Bigger bird in the image vs more interesting profile pose.

  • My favorite is #2, simply cause I like my birds
    bigger in the frame.

    Doug

  • avatar Mark W.

    I too am torn between 2 and 3…Image 2, less white background and 3, overall killer quality and blend of background, subject and foliage….

  • Congratulations on your streak!

    I’m torn between image 2 and 3. I like image 2 for the size of the owl but something seems off to me and I can’t figure out what, maybe the out of focus grass in the front. Image 3 is the image I lean towards as a favorite because I like the side profile of the owl. I feel like the image is a bit more of an environmental portrait.

    I’ll be waiting for your favorite follow-up

  • I like the third one the best. Most beautiful. Like the setting with him up on the little mound behind the grasses. Best and most interesting composition. Wish one would fly over here to a field in Valley Forge.

  • avatar Marvin Smith

    I prefer the second image. The owl’s stance is more confrontational, the owl is larger, and I like the balance between the owl and the vegetation. I recently had an opportunity to photograph a Snowy Owl in Florida, but could not get close enough with my 300 and 2x extender to get the detail I wanted. Jealous!

  • avatar Paul Smith

    Mozel Tov!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • avatar Jay

    As a favorite, I would have to say image two, where the bird takes up a larger amount of space in the image. The larger image of the bird allows those piercing eyes to really stand out at the viewer. Also, there is the general composition of the image with the grasses on the right, in contrast to the owl on the left.