Photo-bombed by a King Shag and Two Young Frenchmen; What to Do? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Photo-bombed by a King Shag and Two Young Frenchmen; What to Do?

What’s Up?

On Tuesday I visited my Active Release Technology chiropractor and did some shopping at Publix. I continued my core and hip flexor exercises and enjoyed another 1/2 mile swim. All in all I was feeling a lot better on Tuesday evening than I had been on Monday night. Thanks to all who commented on the Marvelous Spatuletail images in yesterday’s blog post.

Please call or e-mail for San Diego IPT late registration info.

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: 411!

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, 411 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 of course appreciate your business.


This image represents the converted RAW file. It was created on Bleaker Island with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 278mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 1250. Evaluative metering +2 stops off the sky in low light: 1/1250 sec. at f/5.

Two AF points up from the center AF point/(Manual selection)/AI Servo Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best for flight photography). Click on the image to see a larger version. The active AF point was on the bird’s upper breast.

King Shag landing at colony in sweet, late light.

Photo-bombed by a King Shag and Two Young Frenchmen; What to Do?

On all three of my visits to Bleaker Island on the big trip we enjoyed fabulous flight photography at the King Shag colony whenever we visited in the late afternoon. I created this image when we headed back out after dinner. The ironic part of getting photo-bombed by the two young Frenchmen is that it is exceedingly rare to see anyone not with your group in the field on a land-based Falklands trip.

The light was too sweet and the shaded, out of focus colony background too interesting to delete this one so I after converting the image in DPP 4 I brought it into Photoshop and went to work. I gotta say that it cleaned up very nicely. Learn more below.

AF Tip

With landing birds coming right at you, especially those braking to land, try using the AF point that is two or even three up from the center AF point and do your best to get the selected AF point on the bird’s face. That is easier said than done. Doing so will result in more balanced compositions.


This is the cropped, optimized version of today’s featured image

The Image Clean-Up

I used a combination of my usual clean-up tools to create something pleasing out of the photo-bombed original. (Sometimes life ain’t fair.) Those included a series of Quick Masks, the Clone Stamp Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, the Patch Tool, and a Gaussian blur on the sky after the clean-up. In all cases I worked on a separate clean-up layer so that I could refine things with a Regular Layer Mask.

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. I am working on an all new Current Workflow e-guide that better reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. It will include a section on ACR conversions.

Learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair.

Your Call

Would you be comfortable cleaning up a photo-bombed image? Why or why not?

Like Urbex Photography? Want to learn Photoshop?

With a relatively small group and the long days, there will be lots of time for image sharing and Photoshop sessions on the Palouse IPT. I hope to see you there.


Palouse 2016 Horizontals Card

Why Different?

The 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour

In what ways will the 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour be different from the most other Palouse workshops?

There are so many great locations that a seven-day IPT (as opposed to the typical three- or five-day workshops) will give the group time to visit (and revisit) many of the best spots while allowing you to maximize your air travel dollars. In addition, it will allow us to enjoy a slightly more relaxed pace.

You will be assured of being in the right location for the given weather and sky conditions.

You will learn and hone both basic and advanced compositional and image design skills.

You will learn to design powerful, graphic images.

You will visit all of the iconic locations and a few spectacular ones that are much less frequently visited.

You will learn long lens landscape techniques.

You will learn to master any exposure situation in one minute or less.

You will learn the fine points of Canon in-camera (5D Mark III, 5DS R, and 7D II) HDR techniques.

You will be able to share a variety of my exotic Canon lenses including the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM lens and the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens, aka the “circle lens.”

You will learn to use your longest focal lengths to create rolling field and Urbex abstracts.

You will learn when and how to use a variety of neutral density filters to create pleasing blurs of the Palouse’s gorgeous rolling farmlands.

As always, you will learn to see like a pro. You will learn what makes one situation prime and another seemingly similar one a waste of your time. You will learn to see the situation and to create a variety of top-notch images.

You will learn to use super-wide lenses both for big skies and building interiors.

You will learn when, why, and how to use infrared capture; if you do not own an infrared body, you will get to borrow mine.

You will learn to use both backlight and side-light to create powerful and dramatic landscape images.


Palouse 2016 Verticals Card

The 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour
June 8-14, 2017. Seven full days of photography. Meet and greet at 7:30pm on Wednesday, June 7: $2,499. Limit 10/Openings: 7.

Rolling farmlands provide a magical patchwork of textures and colors, especially when viewed from the top of Steptoe Butte where we will enjoy spectacular sunrises and at least one nice sunset. We will photograph grand landscapes and mini-scenics of the rolling hills and farm fields. I will bring you to more than a few really neat old abandoned barns and farmhouses in idyllic settings. There is no better way to improve your compositional and image design skills and to develop your creativity than to join me for this trip. Photoshop and image sharing sessions when we have the time and energy…. We get up early and stay out late and the days are long.

Over the past three years, with the help of a friend, we found all the iconic locations and, in addition, lots of spectacular new old barns and breath-taking landforms and vistas. What’s included: In-the-field instruction, guidance, lessons, and inspiration, my extensive knowledge of the area, all lunches, motel lobby grab and go breakfasts, and Photoshop and image sharing sessions. As above, there will be a meet and greet at 7:30pm on the evening before the workshop begins.

To Sign Up

Your non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to hold your spot. Please let me know via e-mail that you will be joining this IPT. Then you can either call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 during business hours to arrange for the payment of your deposit; if by check, please make out to “BIRDS AS ART” and mail it to: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail: artie.

Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options. You can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

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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5 comments to Photo-bombed by a King Shag and Two Young Frenchmen; What to Do?

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Very nice image. Love the cleanup.

  • avatar Kim Sherwood

    Fantastic image, Artie! I agree it cleaned up beautifully (or more to the point, you cleaned it up beautifully!).

    Thanks for the pointer about AF on incoming birds; will try to keep it in mind when out in the field. Will also be looking forward to your workflow for Mac tutorial. I need to make the switch from PC so it should be timely for me.

    As for cleaning up a photo-bombed image, I haven’t met my threshold yet. In all honesty, I haven’t had to do a whole lot of it. That said, good subjects can be tough to find and photograph here. If I get so choosy that I discard the PBd images on principle alone, I might really limit my chances of creating a nice image. If disclosure’s necessary, I’m OK with that too.

  • avatar James Saxon

    I have no problem cleaning up the image. The final version is very nice.

  • I think Richard nailed it. Very nice image as always.

  • Beautiful light and sharpness. Re your call: unless prohibited by some contest rule, would consider them as large shag and Frenchman-shaped dust spots distracting from the image…