I Can’t Do Much Better Than This… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

I Can't Do Much Better Than This...

What’s Up?

I got lots of work done on Tuesday when this blog post was prepared; I am getting ready to spend ten weeks in South America this fall. If any new folks would like details on joining the last Cheesemans’ South Georgia expedition (October 20-November 7, 2016) and become part of the BA group please shoot me an e-mail as that great trip is getting really close. Not only are there several openings but they are offering some really substantial late registration discounts. Ah, I just learned that this trip is now sold out with a waiting list…

Wind and weather are looking good for FRI and SAT mornings at Nickerson. If anyone is interested in cheap ($350/person) private or small group instruction (limit 3) please shoot me an e-mail. The session includes a working brunch and image review. More dates to follow. Inquiries welcome. Multiple IPT veteran Jake Levin is joining me for both sessions.

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, 260 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.

Selling Your Used Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the yellow-orange tab on the right side of the menu bar above.

Used Gear Sales Continue to be More Than Brisk

  • Tom Mast sold his Canon 300mm f/4L IS USM lens in excellent condition for $625 in late July.
  • Henry Raymundo sold his Gitzo 1325 tripod and a Wimberley V-2 head both in very good plus condition for the very low price of $699 and two used Canon 100-400mm IS L Zoom lenses, one in excellent condition for $599, the other in very good plus condition for $549–all in late July.
  • Jonathan Ward sold his Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM lens in excellent condition for $2,000 CAD in early July.
  • Long ago multiple IPT veteran Charles McRae sold his Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS lens in good to very good condition in early July for a record low $4,199.
  • Jeffrey Fredberg sold his EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM L series lens in like-new condition for the record-low BAA price of $749 in late June.
  • Jim Burns sold his Canon 200-400mm F/4L IS zoom lens with Internal 1.4X Extender in brand new condition for the insane BAA record-low price of $8499 in late June.
  • Moody McCall sold his Canon 300mm F/2.8L IS II in excellent condition for $4199 in mid-June.
  • Long-ago IPT veteran Charles Sleicher sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens in very good plus condition for $3400 in mid-June.
  • Top BAA Used Gear seller Jim Keener sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III in absolute mint condition for $1599 in mid-June.
  • KW McCulloch sold his Canon EOS-1D X in excellent condition for $2459 in mid-June.
  • Top BAA Used Gear seller Jim Keener sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens (the old five) in very good plus condition for a BAA record low price of $3699 in mid-June.

New Listing

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens

Ron Ozuna is offering a Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM lens in near-mint condition for $2975. The sale includes the original lens front lens cover, the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the original Canon product box, and insured Ground Shipping via FedEx Ground to US addresses only. This lens was recently cleaned and checked at the Canon Service Center in Costa Mesa, CA. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ron via e-mail or by phone at 1-626-799-7616 (Pacific time).

The older version of the Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS is a super sharp lens that is great for hand held flight and action photography and great with both teleconverters. It has long been the favorite focal length of the world’s best hawk photographers. artie


This image was created on the first morning of the of the recently concluded Nickerson Beach IPT with 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 500. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop as originally framed: 1/800 sec. at f/5.6. Daylight WB.

A single AF point that was two to the left of the center AF point/AI Servo/ExpandRear Focus AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure; see the DPP 4 screen capture below. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: +5.

American Oystercatcher chick dining on sand crab just presented by the adult

I Can’t Do Much Better Than This…

Everything pretty much came together perfectly and resulted in the creation of today’s featured image. All are invited to leave a comment and note the strengths (at least five) and weaknesses (if any) of the image. You can check out the minimal beach clean-up and the small crop by comparing the optimized image above with the original in the DPP 4 Screen Capture below.


DPP 4 Screen Capture

The DPP 4 Screen Capture

With the cursor on the brightest WHITEs the RBG values were and are 246, 235, 197 the image is a bit on the warm side. As the image was created at 6:04am, I like the warm tones and would not want to change the color balance.

Note that there appears to be very little data in the right-most box of the histogram. #1: Would you have increased the exposure at all by moving the Brightness slider to the right? Why or why not?

The illuminated red AF point notes that AF was active at the moment of exposure. #2:As things turned out, could I have selected a better AF point? Why or why not?

Please Remember to use my 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 🙂

13 comments to I Can’t Do Much Better Than This…

  • avatar Jon

    I think it is a super shot Artie.
    Now, I know you will disagree with me but I do by far prefer the original image, all that cleaning up has made the image far too clinical for me. My first reaction was “great birds on a sterile beach” then I saw your screen grab now that looks fantastic to me so much more natural and believable. It made me ask myself when was the last time a saw a beach looking like that? Everyone has their preferences but I would have liked to have seen the optimised image without the cloning/patching etc.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Jon, You are right. I do disagree but only 100%. Most of the stuff in the lower right was eliminated via the crop. Other than that beach clean-up was minimal. And yes, I see pretty much perfect beaches every time a wave washes back out to sea :).


      ps: no cloning; I use the Patch Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, and at times, some small Quick Masks.

  • avatar Warren Robb

    1. Increasing the brightness would result in lost detail in the brightest whites, so I wouldn’t do that.
    2. If the birds were 50 feet from you, the DoF is a bit over 4 inches; so I think the spot you picked high on the chick’s back was very appropriate for this image, and I don’t see anything out of focus.

  • avatar Todd Bendt


    Here is my attempt to answer your questions regarding brightness and af focus point selection.

    As far as moving the brightness slider (exposure) to the right, I would not do it because the black on the bird’s back would have lost its color, and the whites on their sides would have blown out.

    AF Focus point. Perhaps focusing on the eye of the juvenile would have put a little more of the adult’s body in focus.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for taking a crack at these Todd. As far as the exposure question, your “the whites on their sides would have blown out” was right on the button. As for the AF point issue, the the adult positioned the way it is the eye of the adult (and the eye of the young bird) were (miraculously) all on the same plane so my AF point selection wound up being perfect (albeit somewhat serendipitously).


  • avatar Larry Brown

    Really like the lighting. Not so much with birds being merged. Would like to have seen more separation between them.

  • First, I like what I see. It was taken early morning and the photo shows the warmth of the early light. And as stated above and needless to say with your photos the detail is great. Second, I’ve seen at times when the histogram in DPP4 and other programs doesn’t show much data in the far right sector but when you blow up the photo to 200% you can see over exposed (red) pixels especially in the whites or highlights. Which may or may not have been the case here. I’ve seen the same on the blacks and the far left sector as well. The final output should be showing what the photographer saw and felt. Technical details need to be there but they are still tools in the hands of an artist.

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    Another beauty:
    Great: warm light, color, composition, head angles, detail (I think any more exposure and the whites would lose detail), depth of field, behavior.

  • Strengths:
    well lit/sun to your back
    low angle/good perspective
    good head angle on both birds
    clear view of legs
    action/story is evident
    clean background
    tack sharp focus
    highlight and shadow details preserved

    I don’t see any weaknesses.