More 100-400II Versatility: Crappy Shot, & DPP 4 Color Balance Fine-Tune Tip « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

More 100-400II Versatility: Crappy Shot, & DPP 4 Color Balance Fine-Tune Tip

What’s Up?

I was thrilled that the Denver Bronco defense consistently put Pretty Boy Tom Brady on his ass in the big playoff game yesterday; the Broncos and class-act Peyton Manning are on the way to the Super Bowl. Don’t get me wrong, I have great resect for Brady and what he and Bellicek have accomplished. That last touchdown with Brady under constant pressure and Gronkowski injured yet again was heroic. But justice was served as their two-point conversion attempt failed. What really bothers me about the Patriots is that for the past ten years or so the media always wants to give the Super Bowl rings to New England even before the season starts…

As much as I would like to see Peyton join his kid brother Eli as a two-time Super Bowl winner–both of Eli’s wins of course coming against the highly favored Patriots–it is hard to conceive that Denver can prevent the eventual and inevitable supremacy of the young, strong, and talented Carolina Panthers and their Superman QB, Cam Newton. But heck, as New England finds out often, that’s why they play the games…

And lets’s not forget that the Patriots’ Super Bowl win last year was made possible only by Pete Carroll’s gift via the inane call on first and goal from the one yard line…



B&H was the primary exhibition sponsor of my solo, career retrospective, 67-image exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Thank them (and me, for the work I do on the blog) by clicking on the logo link above to shop for camera bodies and lenses.


This image was created at La Jolla, CA on the 2015 San Diego IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 200mm) and the rugged Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -2/3: 1/125 sec. at f/9. AWB.

The AF point that was three AF points up from the center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Rear Focus AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The selected AF point fell on the bend of the wing just above the front leg where the dark gray of the wing met the white flank. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Adult Western Gull on whitewashed sandstone rock

Crappy Image…

I loved the whitewash on the rock at first sight. I had actually photographed the rock alone the day before. But the adult Western Gull was the icing on the frame. After figuring the correct exposure via histogram check, it took me about 20 tries to fine tune the composition. The image design here is the great strength of this photograph. Notice the following:

  • The borders in front of and below the whitewashed rock; the trick was to choose an AF point that would get the bird high enough up in the frame to allow for the border below the rock.
  • Four and one-times more room from the tip of the bird’s bill to the right frame-edge than from the tip of the bird’s tail to the left frame-edge.
  • Choosing my side-to-side perspective so as to include the most pleasing background possible.
  • There is more than twice as much brown above the bird’s head as there is below the whitewash on the rock.

The versatility of the 100-400 II continues to amaze me. All intermediate telephoto zooms lens give you almost unlimited framing options; the amazing close focus and he 4-stop IS system of the 1-4 II place it head and shoulders above all including the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens. Close focus for the Nikon is 5.74′ (or 1.75 meters). For the Canon it is an incredible 3.2′ (or .98 meters). To be fair, I am sure that the extra 20 mms at the short end of the Nikon 80-400 comes in handy at times but the quasi-macro capabilities of the Canon 100-400II better fits my style: clean, tight, and graphic.

Learning about image design…

I added this to the post after replying to Gary Axten’s comment below:

While I am generally not a big fan of hard and fast rules for bird photography, the fact is that there are many guidelines for designing pleasing images. I wrote lots of them (as immediately above) but they are all pretty much based on common sense :). That said the best place to learn them is in the section on Advanced Composition and Image Design in the often over-looked ABP II. later and love, artie

Image Question

If you think you know the identity of the red stuff that is mixed in with the whitewash, please let us know by leaving a comment.


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

DPP 4 Color Balance Fine-Tune Tip

Captured with AWB, today’s featured image had a big blue color cast as expected as the subject and the whole scene were in the shade. Rather than trying Click White Balance or adjust the Color Temperature slider, I simply moved the B/A (Blue/Aqua) slider all the way to the right toward Aqua. This pretty much balanced the R, the G, and the B in the histogram and thus, the results were quite pleasing.

Note also the location of the carefully chosen AF point that is illuminated in red. Learning to move the AF point around quickly and efficiently will help you immeasurably to improve the design of your images.


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. The DPP IV Guide is the ideal companion to the 7D Mark II User’s Guide, a runaway best seller.

The DPP 4 eGuide (PDF) Updated for 1D Mark IV and the original 7D

The DPP 4 eGuide was recently updated to include the luminance and chrominance noise reduction values for both the 1D Mark IV and the original 7D. If you purchased your copy from BAA please e-mail Jim and request the DPP 4 1D IV/7D update. Please be sure to cut and paste page 1 of the guide into your e-mail as proof of purchase.

2017 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) JAN 11 thru and including the morning session on JAN 15: 4 1/2 days: $1999.

(Limit: 10/openings 8)

Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins; Tuesday 1/10/17.

Join me 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; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Duck; other duck 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; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well.

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication.

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

For complete 2017 San Diego ITP info please click here.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. 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.


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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 More 100-400II Versatility: Crappy Shot, & DPP 4 Color Balance Fine-Tune Tip

  • avatar Jim Amato

    Betidings birders, Arthur’s CD, The Avian Photography of Arthur Morris, arrived today. It is a magnificent album of beautiful birds captured in their wonderful habitats. You gotta have this compilation of astounding work. Arthur has presented many, maybe all, of these images on this blog and as striking as they are on the blog, they blast off the screen on my 27 inch iMac. They will create neighborhood hysteria if shown on the new OLED 70 inch televisions. Click on the link and order a copy now! I am not related to, do not work for or volunteer with Arthur or BAA. This is one excellent CD of our feathered friends.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Cocktail sauce from shrimp cocktail? The object on the left that you and Gary were discussing looks like a fish to me. Can you post a 100% crop of it? Wonderful image, very crappy indeed. 🙂

  • avatar Bob Allen

    Crab dip from Trader Joe’s!

  • avatar Gary Axten

    Berries or some type of krill or shrimp? Maybe there’s an Alkaline lake nearby? 😀

    Is that a hook on the left?

    It’s interesting that you can describe pleasing ascetics in such mathematical precision.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Gary, Krill or shrimp is getting closer… I brought the image into Photoshop to check out what looks like a fish hook on the rock. It looks either like a small fish or a feather. It this image had been made with the 5DS R I would have been able to tell 🙂

      While I am generally not a big fan of hard and fast rules for bird photography, the fact is that there are many guidelines for designing pleasing images. I wrote lots of them (as above) but they are all pretty much based on common sense :). That said the best place to learn them is in the section on Advanced Composition and Image Design in the often over-looked ABP II. I shall add that the the post now.

      later and love, artie

  • Funny, I was gonna ask you what the red stuff was. My guess would be blood….or a gull that likes to eat tomatoes.