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 🙂 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: 405!
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, 405 days in a row with a new educational blog post. 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 Right Whale Bay on our magical snow morning 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 my all-time favorite Canon camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/250 sec. at f/10. Daylight WB.
AI Servo Upper Zone/Rear Focus AF on the penguin’s face and release. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.
King Penguin preening upper breast/best if the three
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Why Image #2?
While all three images in the December 19, 2016 King Penguin Editing Triptych/You Pick the Best One blog post here were sharp with a perfect exposure and an open and visible eye–the latter rare with King Penguins, Image #2 for me was the clear pick of the litter. Why? The tension that came with the position of the head best indicated the preening action. Why not Image #3? Because the bill tip merged with the upper breast. Why not Image #1? While it is a nice portrait it is severely lacking in perceived action and tension, the bird is pretty much just standing there not doing much.
Good job by the ten folks who like Image #2 the best. Two folks who commented liked #1 best.
DPP 4 AF Point Screen Capture Adapted …
DPP 4 AF Point Screen Capture Adapted …
To further explain the love for my newfound best friend, Upper Large Zone AF: It is best used with vertical subjects that fill about 2/3 of the frame, a relatively common situation in bird photography. As mentioned in the previous blog post mentioned above, I most often use Upper Large Zone AF in conjunction with shutter button AF. But for the three images in the editing quiz I used the rear focus and release technique as the bird was standing completely still. In the actual DPP 4 AF point screen capture none of the AF points were illuminated in red. This indicates that no AF point was active at the moment of exposure. With the bird standing still and the lens on a tripod I trusted rear focus completely after tapping the star button.
In the adapted DPP 4 screen capture above, the blue dots that I added show the AF points that are available in Upper Large Zone (ULZ) AF. And the squares that I illuminated in red in Photoshop with the rarely used Pen Tool show the ones that the system likely chose. If my memory is correct, the system activated three of the four AF points outlined in red with only the one in the upper right not active. In any case, Upper Large Zone really rocks when you know how to use it. Notice that when I re-framed right that the AF system selected only AF points on or near the bird’s head. This is a huge advantage of using ULZ AF rather than Surround. With the latter you often need to move the eight active points to the left or the right or up or down depending …
Image #2: Black-browed Albatross on nest with small chick.
Falklands Cheap Land-based IPT DEC 22, 2018 thru JAN 5, 2019: Limit 7 photographers/Openings 5 or fewer: $7499
Just so you know, I will be leading an innovative land-based Falklands IPT leaving from Stanley, The Falklands on SAT 22 DEC 2018 and flying back to Santiago, Chile on SAT JAN 5, 2019. Why innovative? We will be spending six nights at The Neck on Saunders Island, one of the premier wildlife photography destinations on the planet. We will be ending up on the amazing Bleaker Island. I will let you know in January when the trip will be formally announced as to we will be spending seven nights on Bleaker or 3 nights on Sea Lion Island and 4 on Bleaker. I will make that decision after visiting Sea Lion on the DEC 2016 land-based Falklands IPT that I am leading.
What else is innovative? Most two-week land-based photo trips have you visiting four or five islands hopping on a FIGAS plane every two days or so. As you are at the mercy of the flight operations you may miss several mornings or afternoons of photography. Why not stay in two or three of the best locations, locations that offer the best photo opps without any long walks. Saunders and Bleaker will get you close-up to the great species with ease. At The Neck we will be staying in rustic cabins right in the heart of the action. On Bleaker we will be enjoying near-luxury accommodations and great home-cooked meals. We will have two vehicles at our disposal.
What else? The first Black-browed Albatross chicks hatch every year on or about 12 DEC. If you visit in early January you will miss most of the tiny chicks. And worse yet, the Rockhopper Penguin chicks are leaving by the second week of January. This trip if timed to get you tons of chances on tiny fluffy white albatross chicks, some of the larger fluffy white chicks, and the rockhopper chicks as well.
With several years of experience on the Falklands, more than six in fact, nobody knows how to read the sky conditions, the wind, and the light better than me and have the group in the best possible spot at all times. With lots of strong west winds, you will need someone who knows how to put you in position to make good images on near-impossible wind against sun mornings.
If you are seriously interested, please shoot me an e-mail and I will get back to you during the second week of November. Though this trip is more than two years away, two folks have already committed and two more are seriously interested. I am betting that it will sell out far in advance. See more chick images here.
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 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.
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In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right 🙂