Masked Boobies In Strange Places… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Masked Boobies In Strange Places...

What’s Up?

I am somewhere in South America. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ Please e-mail for couples and discount info for all of the above. Click here for complete IPT info.

I will have 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 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: 339!

Todayโ€™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, 339 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-โ€“and folks have been doing a really great job recentlyโ€“-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 2016 San Diego IPT with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm 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 +1/3 stop (should have been at least +1 stop): 1/80 sec. at f/8. Cloudy WB. Fill flash at -3 stops with the Better Beamer (should have been -1 stop).

65-Point Automatic selection/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The AF system performed perfectly activating two AF points on and just in front of the bird’s eye. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Masked Booby–juvenile stretching wing

Juvenile Masked Booby

I photographed an adult Masked Booby in La Jolla a zillion years ago on film. Back then it was a really rare bird in San Diego and hundreds of folks came to see it and check it off their life lists. Listing is a big deal for many California birders. The image wound up on the cover of what I believe was and probably still is the Western Field Ornithologist’s quarterly magazine. IAC, in recent years, juvenile birds of this species show up every year. It is always fun to spot them on the cliff and try to figure out the very best perspective. They like to tuck themselves well in on the rocky ledges. To photograph this one I was shooting down on the bird at a steep angle. Once I had the image framed the bird obliged with a nice wing stretch and a stare right at me.

Before and After

After converting the RAW file well lighter in DPP 4 I brought the image into Photoshop. A small crop from the left and above was no problem for the sharp 5DS R file. Cliff clean-up was done primarily with the Patch Tool and the Spot Healing Brush. I selected the bird carefully with the Quick Selection Tool, feathered the selection, and then saved it. Then I put it on its own layer and ran a layer of my NIK 25/25 recipe. Note the positive effect on the brown feathers. Then I followed Arash’s NeatImage noise reduction tutorial from the Professional Guide to Post Processing to a tee with just a small amount (the Y slider set to 50) and applied that amount of NR twice to the background.

Everything above plus tons more is of course detailed in my Digital Basics File, an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete (former PC) digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, details on using all of my image clean-up tools, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, the basics of Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs, Dodge and Burn, a variety of ways to make selections, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.


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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

8 comments to Masked Boobies In Strange Places…

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    My bad on the mis-ID ๐Ÿ™ We killed on Saunders and made it today to Bleaker where we killed. I am doing great and even beat my cold. Love to all.


  • avatar Jake Levin

    Great shot as always but I think it’s a brown booby.

  • avatar Matthew Binns

    Brown Boobies have become common in San Diego waters in the past couple of years, and are occasionally found roosting on La Jolla cliffs. Masked Booby is still a rare bird in this area. This is a Brown Booby.

  • avatar Brian E. Small


    Your bird is actually an adult female Brown Booby.

  • avatar Jon

    Lovely shot but I do not appreciate the need for clean up, the base is not distracting to my eye and it conveys a natural as opposed to a sterilised background. I suspect we will have to agree to differ on this!

  • avatar Scott Borowy

    Nice work on bringing the details back into the feathers. It’s subtle, but makes a big difference. I didn’t necessarily mind the artifacts on the rock, but a good clean-up there as well.

    This post reminds me of a time about five years ago before I wasn’t necessarily into birding and bird photography where a Brown Booby made it up to Provincetown in Massachusetts. My mother-in-law was elated to see it right off the docks and I picked up my first rare bird before I even had a life list. I would make that trip in a heartbeat today.

  • Bird ballet – always fun to look at. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Neat pose. You can really see the difference post processing looking at the original/optimized under magnification.