Bathing Bird Strategies, Amazing 7D Mark II Confession/Screw-up? And IPT Updates « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Bathing Bird Strategies, Amazing 7D Mark II Confession/Screw-up? And IPT Updates

The Streak Continues: 329

Yesterday was another typical day of work at BAA for me. As is usual, I made time for my morning meditation, an easy swim followed by ten minutes of forced laughter, and an ice bath. I did sit for two hours in the doctor’s office for my 3 month check-up and blood work review. Dr. Oliver had recommended a series of additional blood tests. All but for one new tests that needs additional research, were perfect, including and especially the fibrinogen and homocysteine levels.

This blog post, the 329th in a row, took me about 2 1/2 hours to prepare. It was published just before 7:30am from my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL; I slept a bit late today.

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This image was created at Fort DeSoto Park at 8:51:19am on the very cloudy morning of October 21, 2014. I used the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 1000. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops off the water: 1/1600 sec. at f/2.8 in Manual mode was perfect. Cloudy WB.

Center Sensor Surround/AI Servo Rear Focus AF on the back of the bird’s head was 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.

Image #1: Marbled Godwit, forward wing flap after bath

Bathing Bird Dilemma

When you see a bird, most any bird, dipping its head and breast into the water, they will almost always at some point rise up and flap their wings. On one hand you want to get close enough to fill 3/4 of the frame to create images with sheets of water flowing over the bird’s head and back with lots of dramatic splashes. On the other hand, you want to keep your distance and put the bird in the center of the frame to avoid clipping the wings when the flap eventually comes. Sometimes they can bathe for several minutes before flapping. After a while you will get a sense of when the flap is coming.

If you are working with a fixed focal length lens as I was, it is generally best to stay back so as to be able to capture the more dramatic flapping images. Again, you need to put the bird in the middle and give it lots of room so that you can catch both the forward and reverse wing flaps. If you are working with a zoom lens it is sometimes possible to zoom out just before the flap. With a short zoom lens like the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens with a 1.4X III TC (or even with the 2X III TC) hand holding for several minutes would not be a problem for most folks. With the a heavier zoom lens like the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender most folks will need to be on a tripod.

Best Advice?

Whether using a fixed focal length lens or a zoom lens and staying back it is amazing how often we get greedy and clip a wing tip or two. Best advice: stay well back.


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This, the third frame in a series of five, was the second of two keepers. It too was created t 8:51:19am. With the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 1000. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops off the water: 1/1600 sec. at f/2.8 in Manual mode was perfect. Cloudy WB.

Center Sensor Surround/AI Servo Rear Focus AF on the back of the bird’s neck just behind the head head was 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.

Image #2: Marbled Godwit, wings swept back flap after bath

Your Favorite?

Please take a moment to let us know which of the two images you like best. And why. Thanks! artie

The Image Optimizations

The optimization of both of today’s image was relatively simple. Both were converted in DPP v3.14.41.0. I conveniently copied the recipe for the first image and pasted it into the 2nd image to save time. First I selected the pink part of the bill and did some color work with both Hue Saturation (increase and darken) and Selective Color (removed CYAN and added MAGENTA to the REDs). This brightened the PINKs that looked really flat in the dull light. Then I selected the bird’s face and neck and ran a Contrast Mask to selectively sharpen that layer only. Last I selected the whole bird, again using the Quick Selection Tool, and ran a 30% layer of the much maligned Auto Contrast. Done deal.

The DPP RAW Conversion Guide

To learn why I use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) to convert every image that I work on, click here. The current guide will teach you how to best convert all of your Canon images in all 3 point something versions of Canon Digital Photo Professional including the current v.3.14.41.0.

Coming on Monday: The DPP 4.0 Guide by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris. The more that I use DPP 4.0 for my 1D X and 5D III RAW conversions–I remember those–the more I learn about it. And the more I learn about it the more I am impressed with it. Note: at present, DPP 4.0 will work only with 1D X, 5D III, and 6D images. I am hoping that at some point Canon will release a new version of DPP 4 that will support 7D II images.

Digital Basics

Everything that I did to optimize today’s images is covered in detail in my Digital Basics File–written in my easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand style. Are you tired of making your images look worse in Photoshop? Digital Basics File is an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips (including Surface Blur settings), details on using all of my image clean-up tools, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro basics, Contrast Masks, Digital Eye Doctor, using Surface and Gaussian Blurs, Tim Grey Dodge and Burn, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.

APTATS I & II

Learn the details of advanced Quick Masking techniques in APTATS I. Learn Advanced Layer Masking Techniques in APTATS II. Mention this blog post and apply a $5 discount to either with phone orders only. Buy both APTATS I and APTATS II and we will be glad to apply at $15 discount with phone orders only. Please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 weekdays to order.


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This unsharpened JPEG represents a 200% view of the converted Image #2 RAW file.

Amazing 7D Mark II Confession/Screw-up?

At some point about three days ago when studying the complex 7D II menu items, I noted that Small Raw plus JPEG was set on My Menu 2. I was somewhat aghast :). I was sure that the first thing that I had done when I got the camera in my hands was to set RAW only. But I had my doubts…. As I worked backwards with the images from October 21 and 20 I saw that they were captured as Small Raw plus JPEG. As I continued, I was glad to see that all of the images prior to October 20 were full sized RAWs. I am somewhat chagrined that I did not catch this inadvertent error after the first day….

Exposing to the Right (ETTR) Eliminates 7D II Noise at ISO 1000

Note that at 200% there is virtually no evident noise with this ISO 1000 image. How could this be true if we had previously seen some noise with ISO 800 images? The answer is that the exposure for this image was pushed well to the right with some blinkies on the water. The best way to minimize noise at any ISO is to expose well to the right with a good amount of data in the rightmost histogram box. With subjects darker than the backgrounds a few blinkies on the BKGR never hurt as they are easily recovered in DPP.

IPT Updates

Most IPTs are filling nicely. For complete IPT info and info on related programs please visit the IPT page here.


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Images courtesy of and copyright Captain James Shadle (aka Froggie). All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

The Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbills and More Instructional Photo-Tour via pontoon boat. 4 1/2 DAYs: $3200. SUN FEB 22 thru lunch on THUR FEB 26, 2015/Strict Limit: 6 photographers/Openings 2.

Just two slots left. See the complete details by scrolling down in yesterday’s blog post here.


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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 (afternoon photo session)-DEC 3 (morning session), 2014. Totaling 4 FULL-DAYS: $1449. Leaders: Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito. Introductory Slide program: 7:00pm on Saturday 11/29. Limit 16/Openings: 2

Be sure to check out the Festival of the Cranes-related programs by scrolling down here.


bosque-creative-card-2014-1200-wide

Join Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris for two great days of photography, fun, and learning at one of our favorite 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.

Be sure to check out the Festival of the Cranes-related programs by scrolling down here.


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Card and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

The Palouse A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) #2/Eastern Washington State. June 5-9, 2015/5 Full Days: $1699/Limit 12 photographers/Openings 2.


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Images and card design copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The 2015 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

June 29 through July 5, 2015: $5499: Limit 10 photographers/Openings 2. Two great leaders: Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris.

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8 comments to Bathing Bird Strategies, Amazing 7D Mark II Confession/Screw-up? And IPT Updates

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    I like the second image best. I like the body posture in the second image, in the first it looks as if the bird is trying to keeps it’s balance from falling forward, having said that #1 is still a nice sharp image.

  • avatar Bill Eaton

    Hi Artie,
    I favor the Conductor’s pose because in this shot you have a nice capture of both the underside and topside feathers on the wings while still showing chest and belly feathers.
    Speaks well for the 7DII body that the small raw images worked out well without a noticeable change in quality.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie, and thanks for the images and the tips. Much appreciated. I love the first shot. I didn’t know it was called the orchestra conductor pose, but that’s an apt term. I learned some of the lessons you’re teaching here when photographing bathing gulls one sunny winter day after a rain.

  • avatar Marvin T. Smith

    I also prefer the first shot. I think it is something about the way the wings frame the head.
    Marv

  • avatar Bill Richardson

    That first shot is a killer!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Bill. Not bad for 1000 ISO in really crappy light đŸ™‚

      • avatar Bill Richardson

        Finally broke down and bought a 1DX today (used but 0 shutter count) Now trying to decide if I should replace my other 1D4 with a 7D2. That 1.6 crop is appealing now that the noise is under control.