Foggy Ideas… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Foggy Ideas...

What’s Up?

With a wind shift to the west and a bit of persisting fog, Wednesday morning was the worst of the IPT. That said a lot of learning went on and everyone made some nice pleasing blurs of spoonbills, pelicans, and cormorants. And later on we had a nicely juxtaposed group of three spoonbills that posed for us for a while. Then a displaying dark morph Reddish Egret in smoking-hot breeding plumage. Lunch again was at Ruby Tuesday’s in Gibsonton. During our Photoshop session I worked on a lovely spoonbill image that will be featured in Friday’s blog post.

In the afternoon Captain James trailered the Hooptie to Medard Park where we had too much fun and lots of challenges with the White Pelicans–the light was changing constantly and it was hard to predict their behavior. We had a small richly vegetated island topped with loafing Brown Pelicans and had a few more come in to land, right into the wind and right down sun angle. We also enjoyed some good flight chances with Double-crested Cormorant, Osprey, and Anhinga.

This blog post took 1 1/2 hours to prepare and was published just before 5:00am from my hotel room in Brandon, FL.


Super Price Drops

B&H is offering huge discounts on the original EOS-7D. Have you discounted this camera? Before you quit on it, be sure to check out the images created by Dan Cadiuex here and by Sally Sue South here. Both used the 7D and “only” the original 100-400…. Click here for details or to purchase.


EOS-7D Kit with the 28-135 Zoom Lens

Same great camera body plus the versatile 28-135mm zoom lens. Click here for details or to purchase.

Hooptie Spoonbill Mini-IPT

The Hooptie Roseate Spoonbill Mini-IPT announced yesterday signed up two folks. There are just four slots left. See our morning and Saturday only rates below. Scroll down for additional details.

South Georgia October 2015

Do consider joining me in South Georgia next October for the trip of a lifetime. Click here for complete details.

Save $242

Register before the end of the month for the South Georgia trip and receive a $242 discount on your return airfare. Please e-mail for details.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. B&H is recommended for you major photography gear purchases, Amazon for your household, entertainment, and general purpose stuff. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod heads, Gitzo tripods, Wimberley heads and plates, LensCoats and accessories, and the like. We sell only what I have used, have tested, and can 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. I just learned that my account was suspended during my absence; it should be up and running by Monday at the latest.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and visiting the BAA Online store as well.


This image was created on the very foggy morning of February 24, 2015 at Alafia Banks, FL with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops off the white sky: 1/1600 sec. at f/4.

Central AF point (manual selection)/AI Servo Shutter Button AF as originally framed fell neat the base of the bird’s left wing, nowhere near the bird’s eye, face, or neck and was of course 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. Cloudy WB.

This JPEG represents the RAW capture

Getting the Right Exposure in the Fog

It is very simple: work in Manual mode and go three stops brighter than the meter reading off the white sky. For most birds with white on them like the spoonbills and pelicans, this setting will give you a workable if not a perfect exposure. For darker birds like cormorants you will want to go two to three shutter speed clicks slower, i.e., open up one full stop.


This is a DPP 4 screen capture for today’s featured image.

The DPP 4 Screen Capture

The bad news: I failed to keep the active AF point anywhere near the bird’s eyes, face, or even neck. The good news: the pelican’s eye was on the same plane as the base of the bird’s left wing. This resulted in the eye of the subject being in perfectly sharp focus. Note how far to the right I have exposed to ensure getting lots of detail in the feathers of the underwing….


This is the optimized image

The Image Optimization

As with yesterday’s featured image, also made in the fog, a simple Levels adjustment brought this image to life. You can see that image here. My NIK 50-50 recipe at a relatively high 75% opacity was a close second as it brought up the underwing detail beautifully. I finished up with some Eye Doctor work and a Contrast Mask applied to the whole bird.

Do understand that by exposing well to the right you maximize file size, minimize noise, and increase image quality. The goal is to create a RAW file that looks washed out on the back of the camera. A simple Levels adjustment will increase the contrast and give the images pop.

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 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 Spoonbill Mini IPT. 1 1/2 DAYs: $1250. SAT MAR 7 (full day) and SUN Morning MAR 8, 2015. Working lunch on Saturday included. Strict Limit: 6 photographers/Openings: 4

Either morning photo session only: $475. Saturday morning photo session plus working lunch: $525. Saturday Full Day: $775.

Two great leaders: Captain James Shadle (Nikon) and Canon Explorer of Light Arthur Morris.

Roseate Spoonbill is one of if not the most sought after avian photographic subjects in Florida. They are generally hard to find and somewhat difficult to approach. They are relatively easy to find at Alafia Banks—heck, you can’t miss seeing them, but even there they can on some days be somewhat difficult to approach. On some days we may be able to get ridiculously close to them. The huge incentive to get out to Alafia Banks in early March is the chance to photograph this species at the height of its spectacular breeding plumage….

Weather permitting there will be three boat trips: 2 mornings and 1 afternoons. Mornings at Alafia Banks for spoonbills and Brown Pelicans (with lots of flight photography with the birds likely carrying nesting material), cormorants, ibises (both Glossy and White in breeding plumage. Many of the White Ibises will be sporting their spectacular, distended, red, naked (un-feathered) throat pouches—typically larger in the females. In addition we will get to photograph egrets including Great and Reddish, both in full breeding plumage, shorebirds, and more. There will be lots of flight photography opportunities. The afternoon trip will be either to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and more or to a more sheltered inland rookery location for a variety of nesting birds. In the event of horrific weather artie will either take the group to Fort DeSoto or will conduct an image review/Photoshop session. This IPT includes one working lunch.

Important Notes

We stay in Brandon, FL for this IPT. From our hotel it is only about 20 minutes to the dock. The plan is for all sessions to be by boat. For the Alafia Banks segments, Captain Shadle provides light weight chest waders as much of the photography will be done while we are standing in fairly shallow water behind our tripods. We help you get in and out of the boat with your gear. This is likely not the best trip for folks with balance problems. Note however that some folks may opt to stay on the boat. They always have lots of good chances for flight photography of spoonbills and other species but are almost always pretty far away from the spoonbills that land.

This mini Hooptie IPT represents an incredible opportunity. It may fill quickly. We hope that you can join us. Scroll down for registration info.


All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks early in the season. Images copyright Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

Hooptie Mini-IPT Registration Info

Payment in full for this short notice trip is of course due upon registration. Call the office at 863-692-0906 to arrange to send us a check for payment in full (preferred) or to put the whole thing on a credit card. If by check, it should be made out to “Arthur Morris” and be mailed to 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.

However you arrange for payment, please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with the paperwork. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.


Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!

Support the BAA Blog. Support the BAA Bulletins: Shop B&H here!

We want and need to keep providing you with the latest free information, photography and Photoshop lessons, and all manner of related information. Show your appreciation by making your purchases immediately after clicking on any of our B&H or Amazon Affiliate links in this blog post. Remember, B&H ain’t just photography!


Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use this link:

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here. Many thanks to those who have written.


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

9 comments to Foggy Ideas…

  • avatar Cris Hamilton

    I am fortunate enough to be a participant in the Hooptie Deux class, which ends, sadly, tomorrow (Fri 27th). It’s been so much fun and I have learned TONS!!! Thank you, thank you, Artie!!!!! And thank you to James Shadle, the master boat commander. James is a vital and fun part of this duo. Super great guy. And, thanks to all the other participants for putting up with all my questions!!! 🙂 We had a great group and a super time.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Many thanks Cris. I am glad that you got to join us and enjoyed teaching you to be a better bird photographer. The more questions folks asked the more committed I become to helping them learn :). See you in an hour at Fort DeSoto.

      later and love, artie

  • avatar Brian Carson

    I mostly shoot wildlife and mainly birds..also like photographing flowers..I wonder if the 100-400 ii would work as good as the 100mm macro is..

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      They are two completely different animals. I am sure that for those like me who photograph medium and large flowers with a telephoto style that the 100-400 II would be a great choice. Hard to quantify “would work as good as….”

      There are lots of things that the 100 macro can do that the 100-400 II cannot and there are lots of things that the 100-400 II can do that the 100 macro cannot. artie

  • avatar Bill Patterson

    Best example ever of reason to expose to the right- Lots more data there than in the under exposured dark.

  • Artie, I have been using yours and Arash’s DPP4 conversion guide and am very pleased with the results I have been getting with my 7D mark II files, I would recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone wanting to make Canon RAW conversions. I was wondering whether you had an update to when the settings for the 7D would be available as I would love to give my older images the same treatment? Loving reading your blog as always.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Many thanks Nick. I will do my best to have something ready for sale before I head out to Morro Bay for the Canon Destination Worksop. artie