My flight to Islip arrived one hour forty minutes late due to weather delays earlier in the day. With a big noreaster hitting Long Island, the last few minutes were a bit rocky. Once we touched down most of the folks on the plane erupted in cheers. Younger daughter Alissa picked me up in fine fashion. I spent most of the day with my Mom. She does not look a day over 93 3/4. She was 94 in September.
Thanks to all the folks who replied to my request for cold weather gear help in the recent blog post here. I will be taking a close look at the replies today as Japan is getting closer by the minute.
Gear Questions and Advice
Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of 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: 439!
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, 439 days in a row with a new educational blog post. As always–and folks have been doing a really great for a long time now–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 BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.
This image was created at La Jolla, CA with the hand held the Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens and the Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera body) outfitted with the Fujifilm VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip. ISO 400. Pattern metering at about zero: 1/800 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB.
Shutter Button Continuous Autofocus. Additional AF information is unavailable.
Image #1: Black Oystercatcher in sun standing on submerged rock
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Learning About Light …
The image above was made in bright sunlight at about 10:30am. The image below was also made at about 10:30am but was created in cloudy-bright drizzly conditions. Which light would you prefer if you were photographing a Black Oystercatcher?
Oystercatcher Structure & Biology
Note the bills of oystercatchers are laterally compressed or flattened. That makes it easy for them to open bivalve shellfish and pry univalves like limpets off of rocks. In the west, limpets are one of their favorite prey istems.
This image was created at La Jolla, CA with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mountedCanon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/800 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. Daylight WB.
One AF point above and two to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was just above and to our left of the bend of the wing, almost on the same plane as the bird’s eye. Click on the image to see a larger version.
FocusTune/LensAlign Micro Adjustment: +2
Image #2: high key Black Oystercatcher at eye level on rock shelf
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Though I had photographed at this spot many times before, it was not until this year that I (finally) realized that if you stood in the crevice between the two rock shelves, you would be working pretty much at the birds eye level. You will be seeing more low level images from this spot along with an image of Patrick Sparkman photographing while kneeling in the crevice. Patrick thought that I was brilliant for figuring this out. My question is this: “If I am so smart how come it took me more than two decades to figure it out?”
This spot can be excellent on all but high tides with big surf. As many as three Black Oystercatchers — usually uncommon at best in La Jolla — were seen most mornings at The Crevice.
Overall, which is the stronger image of the two? Be sure to let us know why you made your choice.
If you would like to know the location of The Crevice, shoot me an e-mail with a cut and paste of the title page of the San Diego Site Guide with the words The Crevice cut and pasted into the Subject Line. New purchasers are invited to e-mail me their BAA Online Store receipt.
Why are the limestone granules in front of the bird’s feet in sharp focus? Note how limited the d-o-f is when working at f/6.3 at 700mm full frame.
Would you have eliminated the two ovals — the grey one and the white one — on the rock shelf? The grey one looks like a small rock, the white one is probably whitewash (bird poop).
Images and card copyright Arthur Morris/BEARS AS ART 🙂
2017 Bear Boat Coastal Brown Bear Cubs IPTs: July 18-24, 2017 from Kodiak, AK: 5 FULL & 2 Half DAYS: $6699. Happy campers only! Maximum 8/Openings 3.
Join me in spectacular Katmai National Park, AK for six days of photographing Coastal Brown Bears. Mid-July is prime time for making images of small, football-sized cubs. The cubs, and these dates, are so popular that I had to reserve them three years in advance to secure them. There are lots of bears each year in June, but the mothers only rarely risk bringing their tiny cubs out in the open in fear of predation by rival bears. In addition to making portraits of both adults and cubs, we hope to photograph frolicking and squabbling youngsters and tender nursing scenes. At this time of year, the bears are either grazing in luxuriant grass or clamming. There will also be some two- and three-year old cubs to add to the fun. And we will get to photograph it all.
We will live on our tour operator’s luxurious new boat. At 78 feet long its 24 foot beam makes it quite spacious as well. And the food is great. We will likely spend most of our time at famed Geographic Harbor as that is where the bears are generally concentrated in summer. On the odd chance that we do need to relocate to another location we can do so quickly and easily without having to venture into any potentially rough seas. We land via a 25 foot skiff that has lots of room for as much gear as we can carry.
Aside from the bears we should get to photograph Horned and Tufted Puffin and should get nice stuff on Mew Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Harbor Seal, and Steller’s Sea Lion as well. A variety of tundra-nesting shorebirds including Western Sandpiper and both yellowlegs are also possible. Halibut fishing (license required/not included) is optional.
It is mandatory that you be in Kodiak no later than the late afternoon of July 17 to avoid missing the float planes to the boat on the morning of July 18. Again, with air travel in Alaska (or anywhere else for that matter) subject to possible delays, being on Kodiak on July 16 is a much better plan.
Barring any delays, we will get to photograph bears on our first afternoon and then again every day for the next five days after that, all weather permitting of course. On our last morning on the boat, July 24, those who would like to enjoy one last photo session will have the opportunity to do so. The group will return to Kodiak via float plane from late morning through midday. Most folks will then fly to Anchorage and to continue on red-eye flights to their home cities.
What’s included? 7 DAYS/6 NIGHTS on the boat as above. All meals on the boat. National Park and guide fees. In-the-field photo tips, instruction, and guidance. An insight into the mind of a top professional nature photographer; I will constantly let you know what I am thinking, what I am doing, and why I am doing it. Small group image review, image sharing, and informal Photoshop instruction on the boat.
What’s not included: Your round trip airfare to and from Kodiak, AK (almost surely through Anchorage). Your lodging and meals on Kodiak. The cost of the round-trip float plane to the boat and then back to Kodiak as above. The cost of a round trip last year was $550. The suggested crew tip of $200.
Have you ever walked with the bears?
Is this an expensive trip? Yes, of course. But with 5 full and two half days, a wealth of great subjects, and the fact that you will be walking with the bears just yards away (or less….), it will be one of the great natural history experiences of your life. Most folks who take part in a Bear Boat IPT wind up coming back for more.
A $2,000 per person non-refundable deposit by check only made out to “BIRDS AS ART” is required to hold your spot. Please click here to read our cancellation policies. Then please print, read, and sign the necessary paperwork here and send it to us by mail to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855.
As payment in full is due on February 15, 2017, you may wish to pay in full now. If you would like to space out your payments a bit please get in touch with me via e-mail. I hope that you can join me for what will be a wondrously exciting trip.
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.
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 :).