300 II/1D X Hand Held Handsome Puffin Portrait « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

300 II/1D X Hand Held Handsome Puffin Portrait

The 2015 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

Due to two recent cancellations there are now three openings on this long sold out IPT. Scroll down for details and do not hesitate if you would like to join us. Two great leaders: Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris.

What’s Up?

My Photoshop session that closed the CNPA Annual Meeting was well received. Most of the early buzz involved the artie and denise stand-up comedy routine that the audience had enjoyed the previous day. That 250 of the 400 attendees stuck around for the program was heartening. At 1pm, I headed up to Charlotte for my 4:35pm flight to MCO. Lots of folks there including denise were scrambling to get flights to the northeast because of the bad weather.

This images was optimized during my Photoshop session. I started working on this post on my flight to Orlando and finished most of it on my car service ride to Indian Lake Estates, FL. In all, it took about 2 hours to prepare and was published at 4:45am on Monday.

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This image was also created in cloudy bright conditions at 10:24am on July 4, 2014 on last year’s UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. I was working on one of the seabird islands off the coast of the northern UK with the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops as framed: 1/2500 sec. at f/4.5 AWB.

Central AF point (manual selection)/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF as originally framed just caught the line where the black of the neck met the white of the upper breast. This AF point that was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #1

Perspective Choice

Here I did a fairly good job of paralleling the subject but note that the tail is angle slightly away from us. Why did I get as tall as possible before making the image?

The Image Optimization

In the before and after Animated GIF above that represents a 100% crop you can notice the subtle Eye Doctor work and the bill clean-up. The former was the usual piece of cake involving selecting the pupil and the iris separately two Quick Masks. The pupil layer was darkened via Command M (Curves on a Layer) and the iris Layer was lightened judiciously in a similar manner. Cleanup of the mess on the distal end of the lower mandible was quite a bit trickier. I painted a wide Quick Mask of the end of the upper mandible, put that on its own layer, flopped it vertically, moved it roughly into place, rotated it with the Transform command, and then added a Regular Layer Mask. One of my new tricks is to completely paint away everything on the layer (BDX), hit X, and then paint back in what I need to cover the mess. The group was quite impressed.

During the break more than 50 copies of Digital Basics were purchased, APTATS II sold out, and I wound up with only a few APTATS I CDs. In addition, I sold every ABP that I had brought along with more than 30 copies of ABP II. My luggage was a lot lighter on the trip home.

Filter/Blur/Surface Blur Background Noise Removal

The last step in the image optimization was to select the background with the Magic Wand Tool and run Filter/Blur/Surface Blur to remove the remaining Luminance noise. The before and after animated GIF represents the 1600% view. Notice that the edges of the bird were not degraded by the affect. Thanks to denise Ippolito for teaching me to use Surface Blur to remove BKGR noise.

Your Critique

Feel free to write a short critique of today’s image. Do you like it overall? Or not? What things about it do you like or dislike? How is the light? The head angle? The sharpness? The image quality? The image design? Do you have any suggestions as to how the image could have been improved in the field? During the image optimization.

Please remember that a good critique includes positives as well as negatives. Many tanks! This exercise is designed to help you improve your critiquing skills, a sort of BPN on the blog.

Digital Basics

Everything that I did to optimize both of 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, 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 techniques, using Gaussian Blurs, Tim Grey Dodge and Burn, a variety of ways to make selections, how to create time-saving actions, the Surface Blur (background noise reduction) settings as taught to me by Denise Ippolito, and tons more.


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.


You can order your copy of “The Photographers’ Guide to Canon Digital Photo Professional 4.0” (aka the DPP 4 Raw Conversion eGuide) by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris by clicking here.

The DPP 4 eGuide (PDF)

Learn how and why I and many other discerning photographers choose and use only DPP 4 to convert their Canon RAW files in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly. The latest version supports all of the newer Canon camera bodies and several older models including the EOS-7D and the EOS-1D Mark IV.


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/Three openings due to two recent cancellations. Two great leaders: Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris.

Here are the plans: take a red eye from the east coast of the US on 28 June arriving in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Monday 29 June (or simply meet us then either at the Edinburgh Airport (EDI) or later in the day at our cottages if you are driving your own vehicle either from the UK or from somewhere in Europe. Stay 7 nights in two gorgeous modern country cottages.

There are 5 days of planned puffin/seabird trips—weather permitting, and 1 full day of gannet photography with 2 sessions on the boat.


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

The Details

We will be staying in upscale country-side cottages that are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for image sharing and Photoshop lessons. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with two roomy single beds and a private bathroom. See the single supplement info below.

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. All 5 puffins boat lunches will need to be prepared in advance, taken with, and consumed at your leisure. I usually eat mine on the short boat trip from one island to the other. Also included is a restaurant lunch on the gannet boat day and a farewell fine dining thank you dinner. The cost of your National Heritage Trust is also included; that covers the twice a day landing fees.

Plan to fly home on the early morning of Monday 6 July or to continue your stay or travels.


Images and card design copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version. Scroll down to join us in the UK in 2015.

Single Supplement Info

The single supplement is $1475. As we will be renting a third cottage the $1475 is due with your deposit and is also non-refundable.

If you are good to go please send your $2,000 deposit check now to save a spot. The balance will be due on March 29, 2015. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If you cancel and the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. Whether or not your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

We do hope that you can join us.


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