Pelican Scissors Preening Perfection & Great MP-4 Video News: Back in the Business! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Pelican Scissors Preening Perfection & Great MP-4 Video News: Back in the Business!

What’s Up?

I am somewhere in South America. Actually, I arrived in Santiago a bit early at 7:10am. I slept more on the redeye flight than I ever have before. That said, I arrived exhausted and will be resting up for two full days before heading to the Falklands for a week with three wonderful clients.

I hope that you are well. Jim and Jen are at the office most days to help you with your mail order needs and Instructional Photo-Tour sign-ups. I still need folks for San Diego, Japan, Galapagos, the Palouse, and the Bear Boat (Grizzly Cubs) trips. Among others 🙂 Please e-mail for couples and discount info for all of the above. Click here for complete IPT info.

I will have relatively decent internet access for all but 22 OCT thru 11 NOV while I am on the Sea Spirit. Best and great picture making, artie

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending 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: 335!

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, 335 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 on the 2016 San Diego IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 340mm) and the EOS-1DX (now replaced by the rugged, blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR with 64GB Card and Reader.) ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 was a bit bright.

65-point Automatic Selection/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). I selected an array of five AF points about half way down the lower mandible. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Brown Pelican scissors preening

Pelican Scissors Preening Perfection

The single most important factor having to do with the success of pelican scissors preening images is the orientation of the plane of the bird’s bill to the back of the camera. In today’s featured image that orientation is perfect with the plane of the bird’s bill 100% parallel to the imaging sensor. The second thing you are looking for is for the bill to be fully open. That’s another bingo for today’s featured image.

Image Optimization and MP4 Video News

My big concern here was the shade of the blue water background. It was a bit green in the converted TIFF. On the morning of Tuesday September 13 I made up my mind to teach or re-teach myself Camtasia so that I could begin creating lots of new MP-4 post processing videos. Many folks have asked what happened to them. I switched to Mac. The good news is that Camtasia for Mac is actually easier than it was with Windows. I viewed a few tutorials and was good to go.

Pelican Scissors Preening MP4 Photoshop Video: $10

What was to be the first new tutorial but is now the second is called Pelican Scissors Preening. It covers the DPP 4 conversion, two methods of eliminating color casts–neither one of which works but that’s how it goes with color casts. On my third try, a Selective Color adjustment did the trick. Also covered are making, feathering, and saving a selection with the Quick Selection Took, my NIK Color EFEX Pro 4 25/25 recipe, and the basics of NeatImage noise reduction as detailed in the Professional Guide to Post Processing; some folks learn a lot better better by seeing than by reading. In addition you will pick up lots of my workflow and Photoshop tips along the way.

The cost of this nearly 34 minute long Pelican Scissors Preening MP-4 video is $10. You can oder your copy in the BAA Online store here. You can see the older video offerings here. You can order them through the store and pay via Paypal if you wish.

Mike Liked It!

From Mike Ross via a comment on the blog:

I just purchased and watched the Killdeer ISO 6400 MP4 Video. Best $10 I have spent on photography training! Highly recommended.


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….

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?


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.

The San Diego Details

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

A $599 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 9/11//2016. 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.

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 🙂

4 comments to Pelican Scissors Preening Perfection & Great MP-4 Video News: Back in the Business!

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Just beautiful! Such detail and great color including the perfect background. I love the feathers sticking up on the back of his head. Who knew our ‘brown’ pelicans were so colorful?

  • avatar Scott Borowy

    I really do love the texture of the Brown Pelican’s neck. You have captured it perfectly, but you already knew that.

    If I can’t make San Diego early next year, I am going to try for Fort DeSoto. Your IPTs are worth every penny and my skills grew exponentially from Nickerson.

  • avatar James Saxon

    Love the image. The composition, feather detail and all the colors really let the image “pop”. Have a great trip in the Southern Hemisphere.