Perfect Kneeling Knee-pod Technique Illustrated. Image Design Question. And Pick Your Prize ID Quiz… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Perfect Kneeling Knee-pod Technique Illustrated. Image Design Question. And Pick Your Prize ID Quiz...

What’s Up?

Jim and I made it to DeSoto with plenty of time to spare. We did pretty well with several species of the shorebirds including Short-billed Dowitcher, Sanderling, Willet, Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover, and Black-bellied Plover. Saturday morning was very slow at the traditional morning spot but we followed the advice in the Fort DeSoto site guide by moving east and struck gold with both a white and a dark morph Reddish Egret that fished and posed for us. One minute after I mentioned to Jim that we were overdue for a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron one flew in and landed right next to us. It too was a very cooperative bird. Aside from the heat and no breeze it wound up being a great morning. We are headed back out at about 5pm.

It is not too late to join me at DeSoto next week for the Fall IPT, for part of the IPT, or for the Sunday Morning (cheap) In-the-Field Workshop; scroll down for details.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of the folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

The Streak: 317!

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 317 days in a row with a new educational blog post. There should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. Or not… 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 the 2014 Fort Desoto Fall IPT with the hand held Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens (at 24mm) with the greatest ever buy in a digital camera body, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/640 sec. at f/6.3 in Av mode. Cloudy WB.

Five AF points to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The selected AF point was on the subject’s ear. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial.

Photographer and shorebirds at Fort DeSoto

Perfect Kneeling Knee-pod Technique

I think that the photographer here is Bill Eaton… He is showing y’all perfect kneeling knee-pod technique:

  • 1: Left palm facing the sky for proper support.
  • 2: Left hand well out on the lens for proper balance.
  • 3: Left elbow planted firmly on left knee.

His only mistake: wearing shorts and short sleeves for nature photography… More on the dangers here soon.

This Could Be You!

For details on the late-registration discount for the Fort DeSoto Fall IPT give us a ring at 863-692-0906 on Monday. You can see all the details below.

Image Design Question

Why was it important to get close at 24mm? Same question in a different form: what would the big negative have been if I had moved back and zoomed in?

Pick Your Prize ID Quiz

Be the first to identify the six species of birds in this photograph in a comment below and we will be glad to send you either the Top 100 CD or APB II. I may very well reserve judgement to give more folks a chance to play but only the first correct answer wins.


Fort DeSoto in fall is rife with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or early October. I hope that you can join me there this fall one way or another. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

BIRDS AS ART Fort DeSoto In-the-Field Meet-up Workshop (ITFW): $99

Join me on the morning of October 2, 2016 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive morning workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tours. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal registration fee. Your registration fee is non-refundable. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place one week before the event.


Folks attending the IPT will be in the field early and stay out late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are relatively short in early fall. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Fort DeSoto Short Notice Fall IPT/September 28 (meet & greet at 2pm followed by our afternoon session) through the full day on October 1, 2016. 3 1/2 DAYs: $1549. Limit 10/Openings: 5. Sunday morning ITFW free to IPT registrants.

Late Registration Discount: please call 863-692-0906 for discount info

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds in fall. There they join dozens of egrets, herons, night-herons, gulls, and terns who winter on the T-shaped peninsula that serves as their wintering grounds. With any luck, we should get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher likely. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Tricolored Heron are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. And Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed, Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork would not be unexpected.

Folks who sign up for the IPT are welcome to join me as my guest on the ITFW on the Sunday morning following the workshop. See above for details on that.

On this and all other IPTs you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify and age many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

At brunch (included) we will review my images–folks learn a ton watching me edit–why keep this one and delete that one? If you opt to bring your laptop, we can take a look at a few of your images from the morning session. We will process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time.

As I already have one signed up for this workshop, it is a go. Hotel info will be e-mailed when you register. The best airport is Tampa (TPA). It is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel so if you are interested it would be a good idea to register now and make your hotel reservations as soon as you hear from us. We can, however, coordinate with local folks who opt to stay at home.

Because of the relatively late date, payment is full is due upon registration either by check or credit card. If the former, please e-mail us immediately so that we can save you a spot. If the latter, please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand to register. Your registration fee is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with eight so please check your plans carefully before committing. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions and gear & clothing advice a fairly soon.

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 🙂

18 comments to Perfect Kneeling Knee-pod Technique Illustrated. Image Design Question. And Pick Your Prize ID Quiz…

  • avatar Warren

    Here’s my shot..

    Laughing gull, Black Skimmer, Marbled Godwit, Willet, Ruddy Turnstone, Least Sandpiper

  • avatar colin bradshaw

    4 seem relatively straightforward – Laughing Gull, Black Skimmer, Short-billed Dowitcher and Marbled Godwit.

    There is one tiny one there and several mid-size and pale so I’ll go for Sanderling & Least Sandpiper

  • avatar Ken Lui

    You would lose light by zooming back in.

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    Here’s a wild stab–
    Moving back and zooming in to 70mm would have compacted the scene losing expanse in the water; probably would have cut off some birds on the left; and would have shrunk the photographer in relation to the birds and expanse of water.
    24mm up close kept the photographer big and made everything else smaller allowing the whole scene—island and beach on right—from being clipped off.

  • avatar Frank Peele

    Moving back would change the perspective, compressing the relative distance between shooter and subjects — and lessening the sense of depth you achieved by moving in close and placing the shooter as a foreground object. Also, moving back would have placed the shooter’s upper body against a cluttered background.

  • By moving in closer and taking the shot at 24mm, you get a better view of the surrounding area.

    Standing back and zooming in to 70mm would have compressed the image and given less background.

    Well, that’s my best guess!

  • avatar Mitch Haimov

    Moving back and zooming in to keep the photographer the same size in the frame would have excluded the birds from the composition.

    Thanks for all the interesting and educational posts.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Only if you zoomed in an awful lot but that is not what I was looking for. Perhaps I should have asked, ” … what would the big negative have been if I had moved back and zoomed in proportionately?

      BTW, YAW 🙂


  • avatar Dan Logen

    Here’s my guess:
    Laughing Gull, Black Skimmer, Marbled Godwit, Long-billed Curlew, Willet, Black-bellied Plover.


  • avatar Krishna Prasad

    Here is my try: Long-billed curlew, marbled godwits, caspian tern,Snowy egret, Yellow-crowned night heron, Great Egret, sanderling, Willet, Royal Tern

  • avatar Warren Robb

    For this image DoF is very important to the message. At 24 mm the DoF was infinite. By moving back and zooming in, DoF would decrease risking loosing the photographer’s subjects at some point.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Perhaps true but you would still have more than enough d-o-f to cover the birds with the short zoom lens 🙂


  • Difficult to see but here my try: Laughing gull, black skimmer, willet, marbled godwit, ring-billed gull, ruddy turnstone

    Cheers, Wilfred