Best Prognostication Ever! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Best Prognostication Ever!

The Streak Continues: 269

This blog was published at 4:00am from the Best Western Mill River motel on Long Island. I am heading to Nickerson for another busman’s holiday. I am on Long Island until this coming Thursday while visiting my elderly (gonna be 92 soon) Mom, my younger sister Arna, my younger daughter Alissa and her wonderful family, and doing some late summer bird photography. So far, the photography has been phenomenal. This post makes 269 in a row.

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stilt-sandpiper-molting-adult-_y7o6150-east-pond-jamaica-bay-wr-queens-ny

This image was created at 7:39am on the Sunday morning JBWR In-the-Field workshop 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 Extender EF 2X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop as framed: 1/640 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo-Expand/Rear Focus AF just caught the front of the bird’s breast and was active at the moment of exposure. When you add the 2X TC to an f/4 lens with the 1DX or the 5D III hit the MFn button once to toggle to AF Expand and enjoy 4 extra AF sensors. Learn everything there is to know about the 1D X and 5D III AF systems including how to manage the various AF Area Selection Modes, when to use which one, and several ways to move the AF sensor around in the 1D X AF Guide and the 5D Mark III User’s Guide. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Molting, fading adult Stilt Sandpiper

JBWR ITF Workshop Report

The two folks who joined me on Saturday enjoyed some fantastic photography despite the cloudy conditions. At times we were literally surrounded by hundreds of sandpipers and a few plovers. Some were almost close enough to touch. Both participants learned to distinguish the adults from the juveniles and they learned to identify all of the common species as well: Least, Western, White-rumped, Semipalmated and Stilt Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover, Short-billed Dowitcher, and Lesser Yellowlegs. And more importantly they learned how to determine the two very best days in each year that offer the greatest chance for success when it comes to shorebird photography….

I had a group of four on Sunday and they learned exactly the same stuff. We had far fewer small shorebirds but the larger species were more cooperative than they had been on Saturday. And we enjoyed some very nice sunlight. Everyone learned to work right on sun angle, especially me :). We had both adult stilts and juvenile dowitchers land right in front of us on several occasions, and two adult white-rumps put on a great show for us at close range. Everyone learned the secret of creating sharp images of birds that never stop moving….

Note the rather disheveled look of the molting adult as compared to the evenly patterned appearance of the young bird, each feather of the upperparts with its own whitish fringe. Learn more from my Shorebirds; Beautiful Beachombers.


stilt-sandpiper-juvenal-plumage-_y7o6529-east-pond-jamaica-bay-wr-queens-ny

This image was also created on the Sunday morning JBWR In-the-Field workshop. This one at 9:12am with the same gear, the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo-Expand/Rear Focus AF smack dab on the side of the breast was active at the moment of exposure. When you add the 2X TC to an f/4 lens with the 1DX or the 5D III hit the MFn button once to toggle to AF Expand and enjoy 4 extra AF sensors. Learn everything there is to know about the 1D X and 5D III AF systems including how to manage the various AF Area Selection Modes, when to use which one, and several ways to move the AF sensor around in the 1D X AF Guide and the 5D Mark III User’s Guide. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Stilt Sandpiper in fresh juvenal plumage

The Best Prognostication Ever!

There were about 6 of us gathered around a nice group of birds at about 10am. I asked an old friend from 20+ years ago who is a serious shorebirder if he had seen any juvenile Stilt Sandpipers yet this year. He responded in the negative. Having conducted the International Shorebird Survey at Jamaica Bay for eight years in the late 1980s, I knew that they were just about due. Trying to be clever, I responded without much thought, “They should be here in about ten minutes.”

About nine minutes forty-five seconds later two more obvious stilts flew in and landed about 50 feet to our right. I swung the big lens onto them to check the ID. And the age. The second bird was a fresh juvenile. I made a big fuss by shouting, “How’s that for a good call?”

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August 26th, 2014 | Category: 2014

3 comments to Best Prognostication Ever!


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