Square Landing Peruvian Pelican AF Miracle … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Square Landing Peruvian Pelican AF Miracle ...

What’s Up?

I got out for some photography on Friday, October 14, mostly Peruvian Pelicans on the coast west of Santiago. It is Friday afternoon and I feel great. I fly with my group of three to the Falklands tomorrow for a week in land-based bird photography heaven. I did get a rain jacket and a pair of rain pants with a zipper fly! Talk about a big step up.

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: 387!

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, 387 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 at Vina del Mar, Chile on Friday, October 14, my first photo outing after the gall bladder surgery. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stops as framed: 1/640 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB. Converted with Click WB on the neck.

I selected the AF point that was two rows above the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as originally framed and that AF point was of course active at the moment of exposure; see the DPP 4 Screen Capture below for more on the active AF point.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -5.

Peruvian Pelican landing

Square Landing Peruvian Pelican AF Miracle …

As I swung the lens to get on this incoming bird I realized the my chances for success were between slim and none and a lot closer to the latter. But hell, it’s digital so what the heck. Why likely failure?

1-Shutter speed too low.
2-Near impossible to get the AF point on the on the bird’s face.
3-Bird too big in the frame.
4-Proper framing would be next to impossible.

Anyway, like I said it’s digital and if you do not try in near-impossible situations, one thing is for sure: you’ll wind up with nothing.

Back at the Holiday Inn Airport Hotel I was pleasantly surprised when I viewed the image carefully: with some Eye Doctor Work on that very grey iris and a bit of juicing up, I thought that the image had potential. Note: I like the image for it sharpness and it humorous mood. The blurred and cut but not clipped wings do not bug me one iota.

Whaddya You Think?

Like it or hate it? What and why? I am fine either way, just be nice.


The DPP 4 Screen Capture for today’s featured image

The DPP 4 Screen Capture

Converted the image in DPP 4 (as always). First thing that I did in Photoshop was the Eye Doctor work using Tim Grey Dodge and Burn at opacities of from 20-30%. Then applied my NIK 25/25 recipe to the whole image, applied a Hide-All Mask, and painted the effect back in on the bird. And then on the same layer I added some NeatImage NR on the bird only. Then a Contrast Mask on the face only and I was good to go.

In the screen capture note the almost perfect WHITE RGB values: 223, 223, 224 (on the neck). They ran a bit higher on the top of the head. Note also the near-square crop and the care taken to include only the upper part of the reflection (bottom center).

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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.

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16 comments to Square Landing Peruvian Pelican AF Miracle …

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Many thanks to all who have commented.

    later and love, artie

  • avatar Steve Rentmeesters

    I like that the wings are clipped at the same place on each wing. I also like that the tail feathers are just above the water and the roughly square cropping.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Good observation. That is the trick when cutting (rather than clipping).

      later and love, artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    I agree with the others, fine image. I think if you crop a bird to emphasize action and the eye is sharp, it’s fine if the outer parts of the wing aren’t sharp and if only part of the bird is in the frame. As your example shows.

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Artie, I love this. It’s stellar. Love the position of the bird, the look on it’s face, the detail. The blurred bits give the sense of motion. Love the massive legs and feet, and the lone feather in the water is great!

  • avatar Catherine Costolo

    I love it! The detail is outstanding!

  • avatar Jack Goodman

    The shutter speed seems too low. Most photographers I know who shoot flying birds set their shutter at something close to 1/1500 of a second. 1/640 doesn’t appear to have any margin for error depending on the extension of the wings and other unpredictable behavior.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      The eye is sharp. And the face. That is all that I ever care about. I am usually fine down to 1/500 sec. for flight. I guess that I am not most photographers 🙂

      later and love, artie

  • avatar Don Jeane

    I would have preferred a faster shutter speed to see more detail in the wings. With the Mark IV, you could have bumped the ISO. Love the framing.

  • avatar Lee prater

    These images are amazing aurthur so sharp

  • avatar Vassilis Apostolopoulos

    I remember (and I agree with) your suggestion to not cut any piece of bird from the frame but I like the way it is cropped and the fact that bird’s eye is sharp (as well as most of its body).

  • avatar Cheri

    Love it ,.. a great sharp, balanced image. The bill really pops against the clean background. I agree with Elinor, my eye does stop on the reflection though.

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    Agree totally with Gary. I might have taken the bit of reflection out since it puzzles my eye on what it is. But otherwise I really like it.

  • avatar Gary Axten

    I like it. It conforms to your cut don’t clip advice, shows good action, is sharp and interesting.

    The colourful bill amongst an otherwise almost monotone image is also great.