Local Knowledge Rocks: Low Light Peregrine… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Local Knowledge Rocks: Low Light Peregrine...

What’s Up?

I spent all morning getting the information needed for the National Trust memberships together for the sold out UK Puffins and Gannets IPT; the task was finished just before lunch. Now I need to get the passes. That on Monday.

I went to granddaughter Maya’s dance recital in the afternoon and created 1117 images with the hand held 5D Mark III/70-200mm f/2.8L IS combo. I have been going every year for quite awhile. For some reason on the way over today I realized that when I first started going that Mayas was one of the tiny tot dancers. Today she has been transformed into a beautiful young lady. And she is quite an excellent dancer as well. Kudos also to Maya’s Dad, my son-in-law, Erik Egensteiner (who is married to my older daughter Jennifer, the executive director of BIRDS AS ART). As he has been doing for more than a few year’s Erik is one of the Dancing Dad’s. I will share an image or three with y’all here soon.

This blog post took about an hour to prepare and will be published at 5:00am on the early morning of Sunday, June 14. Hey, I almost forgot; happy birthday to me: 69 :).

Blog Thanks

Those who wish to thank me for the work that I put into the blog and the hours I spend each week answering your e-mail questions are invited to click here or to send a Paypal to us at birdsasart@verizon.net. All donations are greatly appreciated. artie


This image was created on the last San Diego IPT with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +3 stops as originally framed: 1/80 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode.

Center AF point (Manual selection)/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s eye and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Low light Peregrine Falcon

Local Knowledge Rocks

This bird or its mate sits above the pelican cliffs in LaJolla, CA most mornings. Most photographers simply walk on by without checking the trees above carefully. Most days the bird is not perched in a pleasing position. Sometimes you get lucky. But only if you know to check….

Dealing with the Low Light

This square crop is from a horizontal original. That means that most of the frame was white sky. In the pre-dawn. I added three stops of light to the exposure as framed and set that manually. When the scene averages close to WHITE and the sun is not out at full strength our camera meters are really dumb. Learn to expose to the right in all situations to ensure less noise and the largest possible image files with maximum color information.

The Crop…

Do you like the square crop for this image? Why or why not? Please remember that it is from a horizontal original.


San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects. With annual visits spanning more than three decades I have lot of experience there….

2015 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) JAN 8 thru the morning of JAN 12, 2016: $1899 (Limit: 10)

Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the day before the IPT begins
Two great leaders: Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito

Join us in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s and Double-crested Cormorants in breeding plumage with their amazing crests; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Duck; other species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heerman’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seals (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lions likely; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice landscape opportunities as well.

Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter?

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, four 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo sessions, five lunches, after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions, and a thank you dinner. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility.

A $499 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 11/1//2015. 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. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.


Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings.


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28 comments to Local Knowledge Rocks: Low Light Peregrine…

  • avatar Bill Eaton

    40 more sounds good to me.hope to see you down the road.

  • avatar Jake Levin

    YES, I like the square crop! Square format is one of my favorites. I’m biased, of course, since I still shoot a lot of pics with a Hasselblad 6×6. As someone already noted, though, I would have put the bird just a bit more to one side. He’s a bit too much in the center for me. Happy birthday and many more to come!

    PS, still checking the calendar to see if either Bosque or San Diego will work out. Considerable groveling with professors may be required, but totally worth it.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Or both! I love the square crop here and love the dead-centering. artie

  • avatar Jeff Sielski

    Hi Art, Happy Birthday!! Many many more!! Beautiful image!! Stunning!!

  • avatar Les Greenberg

    Hpappy Birthday,Artie. Many more to come.

  • Hi Artie
    “ΧΡΟΝΙΑ ΠΟΛΛΑ” (pronounced “hronia polla”) which loosly translated from the Greek means “many years” or “I wish you that you’ll live a long life”. And that from a Boston based Jazz saxophonist that also loves to photograph birds. (c.f. a great program that you and Denise presented at the Museum of American Bird Art.) By the way, I’d better request a copy of your “health” file as you seem to be doing everything right.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks and sent. I remember you well 🙂 later and love, artie

      ps: you should consider either the Nickerson Beach (August) or the Bosque (November) IPTs. later and love, artie

  • avatar Loren Charif

    Happy birthday, Artie! I’d say enjoy the day, but I know you enjoy EVERY day!

  • avatar Richard Curtin

    Best wishes for a Happy Birthday!!

  • avatar Arne

    OMG! Artie, I really really like this one, thanks!
    How did you process it?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. Converted it in DPP 4 with +2 on the Shadow slider and the usual 1D X ISO 800 fix as per the DPP 4 Guide. In Photoshop I did a bit of color work plus my Nik 50-50 at 50% Opacity. Then sharpened the face only with a Contrast Mask and lightened it a bit with a Curves on a Layer ADJ and the smoothed the edges with a Regular Layer Mask. All as per Digital Basics 🙂 a

  • Re: Peregrine Crop … It might be interesting to ” Golden Mean ” the Crop , more … and fill up the frame with Bird/Branch . The background/sky doesn’t add much with the Branch and Bird being much more powerful. The Peregrine looks like he has had a ” Bad ” day … chuckle . Christian

  • HAPPY Day … . We share a common trait , this ” Time Around ” Artie … ” I came into the World to form a Circle of Wholeness, and give it forth from a Higher Point of View .” You have done this so beautifully thru your personal growth, and the sharing of it. You are a Blessing … Let alone a GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER.

    JOY … continue to share your HAPPINESS … Christian

  • avatar Mike

    Happy Birthday, Whishing you a picture perfect day!!!!!!

  • avatar Lynn Gratz

    Hello Arthur, Congratulations on your birthday! I have been following your blog and website for a few years now…and have learned an incredible amount from you. Thank you for your time and effort!
    Am saving up my money to go on a IPT…thinking maybe the Bosque one…reading your blogs, it sounds like that would be a good place to go for my first IPT…
    Happy Birthday
    An d thank you again

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Lynn. Bosque is a great learning laboratory with great flocks of birds, beautiful scenery, and amazing light. You can make great images with any lens. Hope that you can make it. later and love, artie (and denise)

  • avatar Billy Wingfield

    Happy Birthday, Arthur! You don’t behave like a 69 year-old. And that’s a good thing, keep going strong. And thanks for all you do to help us with our photography.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie, and many happy returns. You’re just a child still compared to me (I turned 70 some months ago). 🙂 Your image is wonderful, of course, and I agree; local knowledge, as well as planning, patience, good equipment, and good luck all go to making a wonderful photograph. Not necessarily all needed for any one image except maybe good luck. Hard to know how I’d have cropped it without actually trying different crops but I think I’d have cropped it a bit tighter left-to right. Seems to me not much is lost by cropping out some sky and a bit of the bird’s branch, but leaving the room you have for its head and tail.

    Now go eat some cake (if you can, or whatever substitutes for cake if you can’t).

  • avatar Jeffrey Friedhoffer

    Happy Birthday
    I like the crop, but if I was doing it, would have placed the Falcons head further to the right, centered on the 3×3 grid upper right crossing point.

  • Happy Birthday Artie!! Hope you have 69 more! BTW-Nice falcon shot!

  • avatar Peter Noyes

    Art, I wish you a very Happy Birthday and many more. I hope you have a great day and that everything opes your way for you today.
    Also, enjoy your grandchildren while you can. It seems that they transform into adults so much quicker than your children. Our oldest just graduated from pharmacy school at UK. Our youngest, who we used to call “Baby Jack” just finished his first year at the University of Tennessee. It is now next to impossible to get them all together at one time at one place.

  • avatar Dave Klein

    Happy birthday Artie! Wishing you the very best today and for the year to come.
    Kind regards,

  • avatar Nikhil

    Happy Birthday to the greatest bird photographer ever.

  • avatar Ruth Schueler

    I can only say great, perfect!

  • Congratulations with your 69th birthday Arthur! Facebook pointed it out to me, hope it’s correct :).

    Kind regards,