Simplicity Simplified: When is a nothing image no longer a nothing image? Still more Canon EF 100-400L IS II La Jolla Versatility « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Simplicity Simplified: When is a nothing image no longer a nothing image? Still more Canon EF 100-400L IS II La Jolla Versatility

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 intermittent internet access for the rest of my South American adventure. I get back home late on December 25, 2016. 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: 382!

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, 382 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 a cloudy morning at La Jolla, CA with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 400mm) and the EOS-1DX, now replaced by the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. ISO 1250. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/5.6. AWB converted at 6800 K.

I selected an AF point that was three to the left of the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF as framed (see the DPP 4 screen capture below) that was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Brown Pelican: Simplicity Simplified

Simplicity Simplified: When is a nothing image no longer a nothing image?

This image could not be simpler: pelican, sandstone cliff ledge, Pacific Ocean. The number one key to success with nearly all such images is to get the bird in a corner of the frame. I could have gotten closer, I could have gone to a bigger lens, but I just love the subject size here and the placement in the frame. I always find the CYAN tones in the blue Pacific to be a challenge on cloudy days. I am pretty happy with how they look here. I would ask what you think but with few folks working with properly color corrected monitors and even those varying to some degree that would be pretty much pointless. In addition here, I love the subject to film plane orientation of about 35 degrees.


This is the DPP 4 screen capture for today’s featured image

The DPP 4 Screen Capture

Note that even with +1 stop EC that this image was a bit under. After adding an additional 1/3 stop of light the RGB values show 240, 236, 226, a bit warm in spite of my having pulled the color Fine Tune control a bit toward BLUE. But it works for me here better than a completely neutral version. Note the selected AF point on the base of the bill just below and forward of the eye; it is amazing how rarely I get the active AF point right on the subject’s eye. As always, it is vitally important to keep the AF point active when hand holding to avoid throwing off focus with your breathing or body movement …

Learn how and why I and Arash and hundreds of other top Canon professionals use DPP 4 to convert their RAW files in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide. The slight crop from the left and below and the sandstone clean-up work as per the Digital Basics File.


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 please remember that I am 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, 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™‚

4 comments to Simplicity Simplified: When is a nothing image no longer a nothing image? Still more Canon EF 100-400L IS II La Jolla Versatility

  • avatar Jack D Waller

    Hi Art,

    Presently for me in DPP the histogram is floating separate and I can’t seem to see any option to have it parked/attached as you have it displayed??


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Jack,

      Off hand I honestly do not remember … Heck, there are lots of things that I do not remember ๐Ÿ™‚

      IAC, I am pretty sure that Arash covers that in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide here.

      later and love, artie

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    From what my calibrated monitor shows, I like your reduction of cyan a lot.