Amazingly Educational Post… Honest! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Amazingly Educational Post... Honest!

What’s Up?

I started this blog post on the way to Orlando Airport and finished it up on the flight to Islip. Best news: I got TSA-Pre!

Friday morning was one of those rare super-great ones. All the rest are usually just plain great. I felt very good and was sending out love to the universe and everyone in it. And everyone smiled back.

Flight was a breeze. Was met by my younger daughter Alissa who drove me to my Mom’s. It is just after 5pm and I am gonna hit the pool soon. No rest for the weary.

The Streak

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 248 days in a row with a new educational blog post. And I still have dozens of new topics to cover; there should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. AND Please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.


This image was created on June 28, DAY 1 of the 2016 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R.. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 stops off the gray sky (or the grey sky in the UK): 1/1600 sec. at f/7.1. AWB.

I selected the AF point that was two up and one to the left of the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF as originally framed. It fell on the edge of the left side of the upper breast of the front bird, just below the neck and right on the same plane as the eye of the rear bird–just as I planned it. AF was of course active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when the subject is moving). Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: +5.

Common Murres courting

Image Design Question

What would you say to someone who said, “I don’t like the image because you cut the wings of the rear bird”? In the same vein, what do you think of my crop? Be sure to compare the final crop above with full frame original image below as seen in either the DPP 4 screen capture and in the animated GIF.


DPP 4 Screen Capture

DPP 4 Screen Capture

Note here that I have moved the Shadow slider to +5 to open up the chocolate colored heads that looked black in the RAW file even though I had pushed the exposure far to the right. Heck, the first time I converted the image I did not notice that some of the WHITEs on the upper breast of the front bird were at 255, 255, 255. So I went back and reconverted after moving the Brightness slider to -.17 and moving the Highlight slider to -1. Be sure to check out the animated GIF below.

If you are converting in ACR and you open up the shadows as I did here, you will be introducing a ton of noise. Aside from more accurate color the ability to open up the shadows with high settings is one of the great advantages of converting in DPP 4. I did apply NeatImage as detailed in the The Professional Photographers’ Guide to Post Processing using Arash’s new numbers for luminance and chrominance noise reduction in the updated guide.

Again, be sure to check out the before and after animated GIF below to see the striking difference in the dark tones.

DPP 4 Shadow Slider Rocks!

See how beautifully +5 on the DPP 4 Shadow slider revealed the chocolate tones of the murre’s heads without introducing a ton of the noise that you would get with an ACR conversion.

Question for Eagled-eyed Readers

Aside from the crop and the opening up of the dark tones, can you spot the single structural change that I made to the image in Photoshop? It is a small one so you will need to carefully compare the original or the converted TIFF with the optimized version that opens this blog post…


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 RAW Conversion Guide Updated

Thanks to lots of hard work by Arash Hazeghi, the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide has been updated. There were quite a few changes in the basic set-up and in the preferences in the latest version, and Arash covered those in fine fashion. Most importantly, the Chrominance and Luminance NR value tables have been updated to include the 5DS (R) and the 1D X Mark II.

If you already own the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide, please click here to send Jim an email and be sure to cut and paste page 1 of the current guide or your receipt into the body of the e-mail to serve as proof of purchase. Your update will be sent from Hightail, so please watch for that.

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 including the 5DS R and the 1DX Mark II as well as 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.

Folks who love the DPP 4 Guide will surely want to get themselves a copy of The Professional Photographers’ Guide to Post Processing.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

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 New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, 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 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, and for everything else in the new store, 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 those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


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


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

16 comments to Amazingly Educational Post… Honest!

  • Slight crop/clean-up from the bottom to give a cleaner edge. Great shot!

  • avatar Neil Hickman

    Hi! I like the crop – more balanced. Nobody has mentioned the smoothing of the orange colour inside the mouth gape.

  • I know you wanted some guesses on your post processing but I am still too blown away by the tonal quality, detail and pose to pause to consider what you may have done. Amazing image!

  • avatar Tony Zielinski

    Hi Artie,
    I agree with the others’ comments about the intimacy of the pair, and the wings not being the focus of the picture. To include the entire wing would introduce far more background and ruin the framing.

    The one change i see is in the left eye of the front bird – it appears you removed some of the specular reflection.

    Absolutely wonderful photo!

  • avatar Wtlloyd

    Hi Artie –

    what, you don’t have a KTN from TSA? just google “tsa precheck” and at the website, fill out the form. Or you can do a walk-in at almost 400 locations in the USA. Fee is $85, good for 5 years. Takes about 2 months to get it, then you fill in your KnownTravelerNumber when you book your flights, and Ta-Da! you get pre-check boarding every time.

    But, you don’t want that. What you want is US Customs Global Entry, for $100. This is accepted at many international customs entry sites for expedited passport control, and incorporates the KTN program for all domestic flights. Win-win! Not quite as convenient to get in that there are fewer locations where you can go through the process

    Here’s a link:

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I’ve had Global Entry for years. My experience has been that I almost always get TSA-Pre but not always. I asked once and was told that it is a computerized deal and once in a while you come up empty…

      thanks and later and love, a

  • avatar kevin

    Hi Artie
    Re. the sky. You seem to have ‘grey’ and ‘gray’ back to front. UK version is ‘grey’, US is ‘gray’

  • avatar Warren

    I also like the image. I agree with the crop to focus on what’s important. Great image

    I think the only structural change was removing some of the dark areas inside the open moth of the bird on the right. This made for a better outline and added color at a focus point.

    Just a thought.

  • avatar Henry

    This image IMHO is not about the bird in flight but rather about the emotional
    expression of intimacy or affection between the TWO birds. The focus is on the birds’ headband upper bodies. Therefore the blurry or clipped wings becomes irrelevant. This is my interpretation of the image.

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Very nice image!
    I think the structural change is in the front bird’s left eye. In the raw version, it looks bluish white. in your final version it looks like a normal eye.
    In answer to the statement: “I don’t like the image because you cut the wings of the rear bird”, I would say that the way the image is cropped creates a very intimate image and draws the eye in, to focus on what the two birds are doing. Then you start to see the detail of the rear bird’s bill on the neck of its partner, the small tuft of feathers over the bill, the position of the birds, including the front bird’s left foot in the air as if he or she is going to fall back into the other bird! A wider crop is distracting and less intimate.
    This is a classic Arthur Morris image and shows your unique and personal style.
    I really like the the way the bird in back is looking directly into the camera!

  • avatar Dennis Cassidy

    Love that shot .. The clipped wings are fine gives if anything enhances the sense of closeness which the two birds portray. The back bird’s left eye was fixed to look more natural